Afghan Biographies

RUMINT (Rumor-Intelligence) or Sar-e Chowk updated January 6, 2021


Subject RUMINT (Rumor-Intelligence) or Sar-e Chowk updated January 6, 2021
Text

latest rumor update 20210106:


There are rumors in Kabul that Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai will have to stepp down in the first half year 2021 because he is under pressure of the USA to do so.

 Rumors have said that the possibility of an interim administration is one of the reasons why President Ghani has so far refrained from meeting with Khalilzad.

The second round of talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban were set to begin in Doha on January 5. A very serious message raised by Khalilzad about an interim setup, and very quick decisions taking place there---these events indicate that the Americ’s new President Biden sees a solution in an interim setup.

Rahmatullah Nabil, the former head of the Afghan intelligence agency—the National Directorate of Security (NDS), in a Twitter post said that by in the next months Afghanistan will see a new government. By May 2021 the prefixes Republic & Emirate will be replaced by the word Government & the Islamic suffix will remain in place! This means that Afghanistan will soon have an Islamic Government, therefore neither an Islamic Emirate nor an Islamic Republic. (20210106)


It is rumored that Dr. Abdullah Abdullah is preparing to head an Afghan Interim Government in case the USA succeeds to remove Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai from power. Abdullah´s readiness to take over, however, ran contrary to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai’s recent statement in which he rejected the possibility of stepping down from his office in favor of an interim government in the event of a potential peace deal with the Taliban. RAND Corporation and the US peace envoy Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad all call for an interim government as a political settlement to end the conflict. The Afghan government has violated and suspended the constitution multiple times since its formation in 2014, and the October 2018 parliamentary election was a disaster, showcasing that Kabul is unable to conduct transparent and fair elections due to mismanagement, a lack of funds and widespread insecurity across the country. Through an interim government, however, the Taliban can be incorporated into the Afghan political system.

It is rumored that the Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai government is cleaning the house for the Taliban. Ghani has sought in recent months to quietly roll back nearly two decades of increased freedoms by pushing conservative changes to laws governing the family, media, and nongovernmental organizations, moves that, in fact, aren’t too far from agenda items of the archconservative Taliban.

The attempted changes to family law, the NGO law, and media law – the last, only made public and sparking an outcry over censorship and free speech concerns after it was quietly approved by the Cabinet and sent to parliament in June 2020 – illustrate the challenge ahead for Afghan civil society trying to solidify gains as the peace talks with the Taliban approach. Proposed changes to the family law, for example, include immediate forfeiture of maintenance by a husband for his wife if she refuses intercourse – for reasons beyond those permissible under sharia law – or even goes out without his permission. Underage marriage would become possible through a loophole that would require consent of a male relative and court approval.

Afghan journalists reacted noisily when the changes to the media law became public in mid-June 2020, for example, as they accused the government of trying to impose censorship, block freedom of speech, and force journalists to reveal sources to intelligence and government agencies.

Likewise, the draft NGO law that emerged in June 2020 was an updated version of the one approved by the Cabinet in December 2019, which requires registration and sharing detailed financial information with authorities. Amnesty International panned it as a “serious threat to the existence of civil society” groups in Afghanistan, which “imposes unnecessary and disproportionate restrictions ... and would exert undue influence and control over NGOs.”


There are rumors that Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has a stalling strategy to slow the Afghan Peace Process, perhaps tied to hopes that Washington's Afghanistan policy will shift under a potential Biden White House. Observers have suggested that Ghani is attempting to retain power because it is widely speculated that negotiations could seek a neutral interim government.

t is rumored the Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai Administration is finished. It is just a question of time when the Government will collapse, or forced to give up or accept an Interim Government with the Taliban. 

A strong dose of realism is overdue for an Afghan people and international community visibly exhausted by years of conflict and yearning for a political settlement. Efforts to achieve a negotiated peace with the Taliban have for too long survived on wishful thinking. The faintest progress is often applauded as the harbinger of a breakthrough. Reasonable skepticism is frequently brushed aside with comments like “what is there to lose when the only alternative is endless fighting?” Hardline Taliban demands are dismissed as only opening negotiating positions, and their triumphant statements are excused as simply leadership bravado. To keep the peace process on track, the threshold for Taliban violence is never crossed. 


As the afghan delegation prepare for the approaching intra-Afghan dialogue in Doha in August 2020, any optimism has to be tempered. Talks are only the first step in what will be at best a long, tortuous process. There is already a willingness to overlook the many significant, largely unreciprocated concessions it has taken to get the Taliban to the table. The Taliban’s refusal to acknowledge the Afghan government as its principal interlocutor is a chrystal clear message now. It also does not bode well that an ill-prepared, splintered delegation of the Islamic Republic is slated to face a focused, unified team of Taliban negotiators. It is rumored that the Emirate of Afghanistan is not only "ante portas" but will be set up again.


It is rumored Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has lost die election but has nonetheless been officially declared the winner of Afghanistan's presidential elections, nearly five months after the poll took place on September 28 of last year. 


The final result was announced by the Afghan Independent Election Commission Chairperson Hawa Alam Nuristani on Tuesday, 18. Feb. 2020. Ghani secured 50.64% of total eligible votes, according to Nuristani. 

The results were delayed because of widespread allegations of fraud, which meant that hundreds of thousands of votes had to undergo recounts and an auditing process. 



With just over 50 percent of a total votes cast, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has less than a million votes to his credit in a country of an estimated 34 million. Around 10 million registered to vote in this election.

His top rival Abdullah Abdullah’s team called the decision “illegal.” Hours after the announcement of the final results of the presidential election by the Independent Election Commission, Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive of Afghanistan, announced the formation of an “inclusive government” by his Stability and Convergence campaign team, declaring his “victory” in the polls. Abdullah said decisions on disputed votes were “illegal,” adding that today’s results were a coup against democracy and that he does not accept them.
 

Days earlier, Abdullah’s supporters, including General Abdul Rashid Dostum, the first vice president of Afghanistan Days earlier, Abdullah’s supporters, including General Abdul Rashid Dostum, the first vice president of Afghanistan and a key political figure in the northern parts of the country, warned of setting up a parallel government if the commission announced what they said were fraudulent results.(20200218)
 



 

It is rumored, that President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has lost the Presidential Election in 2019 and his authority is eroding from day to day. The election has no winner and the continuation of the National Unity Government (NUG) is a priority now. It will act like an interim Government. The international community and Afghan politicians are pressurizing the palace to respect the 2014 political agreement signed between Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah based on 50-50 political shares in the new "Interim government".  This comes as Dr. Abdullah Abdullah is said to introduce high-level government officials including cabinet members and governors in the next few days. Abdullah has recently criticized Ghani for his new appointments which are said to be in the contract to the political agreement they signed back in 2014. Chief Executive Officer, Abdullah Abdullah signed a decree on 2 Feb. 2020  to stop Ghani’s reform agenda for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the NUG political agreement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs belongs to the Chief Executive office. Abdullah ordered the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers to supervise the implementation of the decree to ensure that solid diplomatic reforms take place. This came as President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai’s administration is under fire for systematic favoritism in high-ranking appointments to Ghani’s own ethnic group (Pashtun). It is rumored that many Afghans with U.S. and Pashtun background who backed Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai are getting nervous because they fear to be sidelined or haunted after a peace deal with the Taliban. Some of them - it is rumored - have prepared escape routes to leave Afghanistan. (20200204)


It is rumored that Kabul has turned into a tiny dystopia only accessible to the corrupt elite whose families live in safety abroad. Most of these people will likely leave themselves, thanks to their dual citizenships, once their lucrative contracts expire. This class of Afghan is entirely out of touch with ordinary Afghans, and President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has found himself in the extraordinary position of not only becoming irrelevant to ordinary Afghans, but also to those who have brought him to power.(20191205)

It is rumored, that Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has won the Presidential Election 2019. Incumbent President Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is not prepared to accept his defeat. He now even doesn’t accept biometric voter verification only in an effort to chance the result in his favour by large-scale ballot stuffing that tainted the 2019 election. He even tries to manipulate the Supreme Court to change the election result in his favour.(20191017)

It is rumored the United States are pressing President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai to agree to postpone the Presidential election 28 Sep 2019. The Taliban have denounced the election as a sham and vowed to attack rallies. Ghani is insisting an election he looks set to win should go ahead. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s main challenger Abdullah Abdullah in a election next month has said he is ready to abandon his bid for power for the sake of peace, raising more questions about prospects for an election the Taliban have vowed to block.  The United States and the Taliban are trying to seal an agreement under which U.S. forces will withdraw in exchange for a Taliban security guarantee and a promise of power-sharing talks with Ghani’s government. August 2019, another main contender, Hanif Atmar, a former interior minister who also served as Ghani’s national security adviser, suspended his campaign, citing the level of violence in the country. With Atmar out of the race and Abdullah now giving preference to the peace deal instead of elections, it is quite clear that Ghani will have to realign his stance. (20190829)


It is rumored, that Afghan Special Force are on the verge of collapse due to lack of coordination among security sectors, lack of intelligence information, high casualties rates and administrative weakness in the ministry of defense and incapability of the leadership of ministry of defense. The result is a reduction in Special Forces (Commandos) number, capture of military equipment by enemy besides having a negative impact on morale of the military. It is rumored that the number of AWOL Special Forces Soldiers is rising and that Commandos have faced devastating losses in recent months. (20190716)



It is rumored, that an Australian tourist was sexually harassed by Badakhshan's Wakhan District Chief Abdul Maruf Khairkha, following sexual scandals in Afghan presidential palace (Arg). Nek Mohammad Nazari, a spokesman for the governor’s office of Badakhshan province confirmed that they received a complaint letter from the victim 20 days ago  the after she arrived in Wakhan district from Tajikistan. The series of government’s sexual scandals have now reached the farthest part of the country while the issue of sexual favors in Arg has not been solved yet. A few weeks ago, a former aide to President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Habibullah Ahmadzai, revealed sexual favors within the Arg. He had said that some female members of the House of Representatives came to the parliament through sexual bribery. Earlier this week, BBC released a report, in which women complained from high-level officials, including a member of the cabinet as well as one of the close aides to President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, claiming that a cabinet minister and one of the close aides to Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai have asked them for sexual favors in return to doing their legal demands. Contrary to the usual process in the world, the charged individuals continue their works as adviser or minister in the Arg while at least they must be suspended. The crisis of sexual harassment has now reached the farthest parts of the country, which it will make the work harder for the government led by President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, especially when Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is a candidate of the presidential elections 2019.(20190716


It is rumored that Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is like a Shakespearean hero with a tragic flaw. Ghani loves his country and desires that it attains the peace and development it deserves. But he is an arrogant man, seeing himself as the sole person who can save Afghanistan. That flaw primarily translates into paternalistic authoritarianism. Ghani is prone to lecturing and micromanaging, playing the role of a “grand ustad” or teacher. Ghani’s arrogant belief that he alone can save Afghanistan also translates into more destructive, albeit non-violent, behaviour. He will go to any lengths to stay in power and keep his rivals at bay. This has been a feature of his presidency from day one. Key indicators in Afghanistan are incredibly worrying. Deaths of Afghan civilians and security forces continue to break record highs – and pro-government forces now surpass the Taliban in killing civilians. But as Rome burns, Ghani remains fixated on the Afghan game of thrones. Ghani’s term as president expires on May 22, 2019. He wants to stay in power up through the elections, which have been rescheduled for September 2019, and then win reelection should the polls take place. In April 2019, the Supreme Court of Afghanistan extended Ghani’s term as president up through the polls. It’s reasonable to assume that the court was following a directive by Ghani himself.



It is rumored that the Afghan government is done. Ashraf Ghani’s political carrier is over. So it is for his staunch supporters. Neither he nor anyone else has an idea what is in peace negotiations for him and his cronies. That’s really the problem, which has not yet been resolved. No amount of cajoling and no amount of requesting is going to change that. It is an incentive structure problem and the U.S., Pakistan and the Taliban have to figure out that incentives for him (Ghani) and the others around him to allow the peace process to go forward smoothly.(20190408)


It is rumored that President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, is increasingly paranoid, isolated and has become a divisive personality within and outside of Afghanistan. The Afghan political elite do not trust him, his former allies has left his side and the region increasingly view him as a puppet and too westernized far from the Afghan realities and distanced from its people.(20190218)


It is rumored that President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai doesn’t want to choose between Presidential elections on Jul 20, 2019 or peace process requiring an interim Government. He prefers not to step down but to further hold office as the President of Afghanistan. A detailed plan for an interim government including the Taliban, reportedly authored for RAND by a onetime US official, Laurel Miller, has been circulated widely in Kabul. Ghani responded with a withering blast: ‘Afghans do not accept an interim government—not today, not tomorrow, not in a hundred years … Whoever comes up with such stupid ideas—a few former officials that I wouldn’t even accept as my students—should think again.’ Will will wait and see! (20190211)


t is rumored that no legal and logical justification had been presented for the unexpected delay oft he Presidential Election 2019.  It is also rumored that holding four elections at the same time is beyond the capacity and capability of the IEC.  The leadership of the current government should step down after their legal term had expired.
Presidential election, which has been moved from the initial date, 20 April, to 20 July 2019. The election will now involve four votes at the same time: provincial elections, district council elections, Wolesi Jirga election in Ghazni province, and the presidential poll.
The legitimacy of the current government ends after 22 May. Since the constitution does not specify whether the current government can continue after 22 May 2019, – it only stipulates that the government will no longer be legitimate – calls for a grand political national consensus could come up among the political parties and civil society, supported by the international community, to decide on an alternative. This could be: 1) continuation of the government, but with a reduction in the president’s authorities, 2) an interim government, or 3) the president stepping down and, for instance, the chief justice taking over the affairs of the state.(20190123)


It is rumored that eliminating Taliban would not end the war in Afghanistan. It is said that the Taliban delegation who flew to UAE for peace talks using Pak army military planes under the supervision of Pakistan have been long  dependent on Pakistan for military, financial, logistical and receiving intelligence support from Pakistan.
 

Taliban and families on the other hand have been living in Pakistan for a decade which is another reason to stay loyal to Pakistan over Afghanistan for personal and family’s safety.
 

Musharraf has publicly said that “India should remain out” of Afghanistan, which Pakistan sees as its area of influence. He also warned that even if U.S. forces depart after a negotiated settlement with the Taliban, India and Pakistan would likely move in by supporting rival factions in Afghanistan. Which is why eliminating Taliban may not end the war but rather make it more complicated? (20190104)


Sar-e-Chowk, the place to take the Afghan pulse

abdur_rahman

 

Once upon a time in Kabul, there was only one roundabout, an unrivalled space for commerce and conversation. All roads led to the roundabout and so did the news. During the 16th Century reign of the Mogul Emperor Babur it was known as the "navel of Kabul". Afghans met at this point, from across Kabul and across the country. In the late 19th Century, writes Afghan historian Asif Ahang, "the clever King Amir Abdul Rahman Khan used to check what the people said on the roundabout before executing any decision".

Rumor Intelligence is tricky. “RumInt” can be true or not true, but actually that applies to many other forms of intelligence.  Our view is that RumInt should be passively listened too, and logged, because just occasionally it turns out to be true and it turns out that it was just uncorroborated real intelligence. Some of the best bits of intelligence start out in life as a simple rumor.  Just because something isn’t yet corroborated doesn’t mean its not worthwhile listening too and considering.


Rumors 2018 and earlier:

It is heavily rumored that Zalmay Khalizad left in the trail of his visits points to a scenario that envisions postponing presidential elections slated for April 2019; dissolution of the current elected Afghan government and establishment of an extra-constitutional interim government and a trial-based ceasefire agreement. Meanwhile, the US would devise a military withdrawal plan from Afghanistan and finally, once the Taliban receives some territorial concessions, elections will be held.Territorial concessions would involve granting the Taliban protection inside Afghanistan or even autonomy over a few districts they already control, but this remains a controversial idea.(20181124)


It is rumored that Pakistan’s ‘Name Games’ are giving terror groups and terrorists a pass. Concerns are voiced over the government’s recent decision to let the ban on JuD and FIF lapse and exclude them from the list of outlawed terror groups.  Also using differnt names of groups and spellings and incomplete names of Terrorists is undermining Pakistan’s claims to be targeting terror groups and terrorist individuals operating in the country. This means more international pressure as to why Pakistan is not able to crack down and ban organizations and individuals placed on the U.N.’s terror watch list. The FATF team was in Pakistan recently and expressed dissatisfaction over Pakistan’s insufficient measures against terror financing and urged the country to address inadequacies in the supervision of nonprofit and charitable organizations. In June 2018, the FATF placed Pakistan on its gray list for the country’s inadequate measures to curb terror financing and money laundering.(20181101)


It is rumored that over 1,000 Afghan security forces were killed and wounded in August and September 2018. An Afghan governor said in September 2018 that the Taliban are inflicting devastating casualties on Afghan security forces.  “The Taliban don’t want peace, because they think they can win the war,” Baghlan Province Governor Abdul Hai Nimati said. “If it goes on like this, they’re going to win.”(20181031)


It is rumored that Pakistan's GHQ via ISI clevery manipulated the Afghan security scenario well before the October 20 elections in Afghanistan. GHQ instructed, guided and supported Taliban and Daesh at the same time. Taliban received a little more assistance. ISI instructed Taliban to go after Daesh to offer Taliban as the better alternative to the USA and their (puppet) Afghan Government to make peace with. Pakistan ordered Taliban also to attack in Helmand, Ghazni and in the North to show the helplessness of Afghan security forces and to sweeten a deal with the USA and the Pakistan remote controlled Taliban. Pakistan again is tricking them all. (20180815)

It is rumored that the Afghan government has lost the initiative and the momentum is now with the Taliban. In every single Taliban attack, government forces withdraw from the battlefield, and the leadership in Kabul is desperately looking for air support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In addition, Kabul has relied heavily on the elite Special Forces to rescue lost positions, which has already reduced the efficacy of this elite force. In Ghazni we have seen big losses among the Afghan commando forces because the Taliban have been able to adapt to their tactics and overcome their technical superiority.(20180813)

It is rumored, that President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai does not dare to come out of his “expert/elite” comfort zone and try to engage ordinary citizens in the peace process. If Ghani wants his peace policy to enjoy the people’s support, it is vital to take into account different views and arguments including of those who have failed, so far, to penetrate his “fortress of experts” and influence his definition of the Taliban problem. In the present situation the distance between the government and the nation is growing,.The issue is that the peace process is led by a small group of Arg-based, Western-educated political elites, who lack firsthand understanding of the socio-political context of the country. They have a pre-decided solution without having sought to suitably define and build citizens’ consensus around the problem.(2080805)




It is rumored that the Government under President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is as corrupt as the Government of Ex President Hamid Karzai. Therefore establishing independent anti-corruption organizations in accordance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption is refused by the President.
Corruption is said to have run rampant through the government’s very own so-called anti-corruption institutions and agencies. The specialized anti-corruption court established by President Ashraf Ghani in May 2016 and the Anti-Corruption Justice Center (ACJC) has shown little ability to function as intended in its goal of combating serious corruption.
Nearly 40 percent of the prosecutors assigned to the Anti-Corruption Justice Center have failed polygraphs. Confronted with those results, Afghanistan’s attorney general displayed a “deep reluctance” to use polygraph information for vetting purposes, the report noted.
The problem of powerful and corrupt actors ignoring warrants is so severe that it has undermined the fundamental legitimacy and authority of the Anti-Corruption Justice Center. All this with the blessing of President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai who needs corruption to grease his incompetent Government and assure the warlords support.(20180802)


It is rumored that Afghan IS or DAESH has been created controlled, directed and supported by a special Pakistan's Intelligence Unit of Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) which has nearly Brigade size (three bataillons each between 600 men). Plans and logistic for IS activities in Afghanistan are worked out by this unit. It is the old game: After Mujaheddin were no more under control, Pakistan created the Taliban and after Pakistan's grip on them crumbled they created IS in Afghanistan to put Kabul unter permanent pressure.(20180610)

It is rumored, that given the slow pace of the Taleban’s actual territorial gains, around one per cent per quarter, the war in Afghanistan could go on for a long time. It depends on which side can hold its breath for longest, the Pakistan controlled insurgents or the US supported Afghan government and its allies. It could also depend on which of them may be prepared to take a bold step to break out of this vicious circle, vicious mainly for the Afghan people and the country’s infrastructure. It is rumored that Pakistan’s military establishment feels it could in long-term outmaneuver the Americans in Afghanistan and establish a Pakistan controlled Government in Kabul.(20180606)

There are rumors coming out claiming that the Trump administration is exploring a range of new options, including “revoking the country’s major non-NATO ally status, permanently cutting off military aid and imposing a visa bars [sic] on Pakistani government officials,” to pressure Pakistan into acting against various militant groups.(20180328)

It is rumored that despite a new U.S. policy of pressuring Pakistan, Islamabad’s Military is still supporting the Afghan Taliban. Military HQ in Rawalpindi believes a weak afghan Government in Kabul is in in their geostrategic favor. 


Reason for the uptick in Taliban attacks in Afghanistan and their link to support from Pakistan, is that they have sanctuary in Pakistan and having financial support from actors in the region (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait et al.)

U.S. announced a new policy on Afghanistan and South Asia in August 2017 that involves putting political, financial und economic international pressure on Pakistan over militant safe havens. So far without much short term results.

Pakistan is rumored to be under close intelligence surveillance from January 2018 to June 2018. Should Pakistan continue the support for afghan Taliban, the U.S. will attack Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service is said providing not only both protection and material support to the Taliban in areas between Quetta and the Afghan border. A special ISI unit initiate, plan and control high profile Taliban attacks to destabilize Afghanistan. ISI even conducts security patrols in facilitating Taliban transit. (20180315)



Sar-e-Chowk, the place to take the Afghan pulse

abdur_rahman

 

Once upon a time in Kabul, there was only one roundabout, an unrivalled space for commerce and conversation. All roads led to the roundabout and so did the news. During the 16th Century reign of the Mogul Emperor Babur it was known as the "navel of Kabul". Afghans met at this point, from across Kabul and across the country. In the late 19th Century, writes Afghan historian Asif Ahang, "the clever King Amir Abdul Rahman Khan used to check what the people said on the roundabout before executing any decision".

Rumor Intelligence is tricky. “RumInt” can be true or not true, but actually that applies to many other forms of intelligence.  Our view is that RumInt should be passively listened too, and logged, because just occasionally it turns out to be true and it turns out that it was just uncorroborated real intelligence. Some of the best bits of intelligence start out in life as a simple rumor.  Just because something isn’t yet corroborated doesn’t mean its not worthwhile listening too and considering.



Rumors 2017 and earlier:
Rumors say U.S. Forces will in 2018 go after the sanctuaries of Taliban in Pakistan by use of drones and other means. Second is to put individuals involved in support of the Haqqani network and the Taliban and others on a list where they can’t do business as usual or travel to the West. Third is to increase economic pressure on Pakistan in terms of bilateral assistance, making more assistance conditional, and have other allies -- Europeans, Japanese -- make their assistance conditional. And even international help -- IMF, World Bank, where the U.S. and the West have considerable influence -- to be conditional. A newly border fence along with Afghanistan's Paktika province border and Angoor Adda in Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal district. Then there is the Indian issue, which will be used smartly. If Pakistan doesn’t change, there will be a greater role for archrival India, a greater burden-sharing in Afghanistan. The U.S. makes a plan as to when from this diplomatic engagement it shifts to a coercive approach where for six months, then try this and if it doesn’t work then the U.S.  shift to the other.(20171221)

It is rumored the Afghan Special Security Forces conducted 2,628 operations, but only 453 of these missions were conducted independently, and 456 were airstrikes, according to insiders. That means Afghan forces were only able to carry out 17 percent of their missions independently.

 From June 1 to Nov. 24, U.S. troops assigned to Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan enabled or advised 2,175 ground operations and 261 kinetic strikes in support of the Afghan Special Security Forces.(20171217)

It is rumored that Pakistan Intelligence Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) has decided to continue the support for the Taliban and Daesh till the end of 2018. ISI with the backing of GHQ in Rawalpindi hopes to bring the NUG to collapse before the 2018 elections in Afghanistan. 

No wonder that the Pentagon said certain militant and terror groups including the Taliban and Haqqani network still have freedom of action inside the Pakistani soil. Until now no fundamental changes were seen in the way Pakistan deals with terrorist safe-havens in its territory.

Therefore the Department of Defense will be a part of a whole-of-government, regional strategy to isolate the Taliban from sources of Pakistani support and to mitigate any malign influence from Pakistans actors.

 Pakistan was an ally of convenience during the Cold War, but the country’s main objective to compete with India has never been an American objective. Therefore, American and Pakistani interests in the region don’t really coincide.

The problem is that the Pakistani military also sustains the very Taliban who it tells the Americans it will help fight. They are the arsonist and also want to be part of the fire brigade.(20171216)



Only rumor? Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) noted 56.8 percent of the country’s 407 districts are under government control or influence as of August, 2017. The assessment shows a 15 percent decrease in territory held by Kabul in 2015 when SIGAR began analyzing district control data. As of August 2017, there were 54 districts [13.3 percent] under insurgent control [13] or influence [41], an increase of nine districts over the last six months. 11.4 percent of the country’s population, or 3.7 million Afghans, now live in districts under insurgent control or influence. That’s a 700,000-person increase over the last six months. 30 percent or 122 Afghan districts are contested, and the statistic remained mostly unchanged.(20170102)


It is rumored that the ANDSF are at a critical point in the fight against the insurgency. The plan to modify the force structure and develop into a more agile and lethal force is underway, but 2017 is a year of setting conditions to build momentum. Can ANDSF weather the storm from the insurgency and  deny the Taliban strategic victories on the battlefield, fight  ISIS-K, grow and train the ASSF,  conduct planning to realign forces within the MoD and MoI, and posture itself to become a more offensive force in 2018 ? More than 2,500 people were killed and wounded in 169 attacks across Afghanistan in October 2017, indicating a 39 percent increase in casualties compared to September 2017.


There are rumors that the „educated youth brain drain“ in Afghanistan is speeding up. Insecurities in many parts of the country have also made many youth leave their country for foreign and neighboring countries. A number of youth who have completed their higher education are in very bad situation in the country . They are now facing lack of opportunities to find employment, an issue which can lead Afghan youth to various life challenges. The main reasons causing deviation of Afghan youth today is inattention of the government to them. It is rumored that a large number of graduated and literate youth are part of drug-addicts and the number is increasing day by day.

 When a female young pays for her education for years, but cannot find a job after graduation, it is rumored, that she might choose absurd ways in order to get married. Moreover, youth can be smoothly deceived by propagandas of terrorist and extremist groups and join such groups due to employment and un-implementation of justice in government. This turbulent situation and inattention of the government can pave the way to enemies of Afghanistan to recruit Afghan youth suffering from unemployment as youth might go to anywhere to maintain life expenses. Besides, all know that unemployment of youth can increase graph of criminal crimes in the country. No youth no future.(20170531)


No rumor but fact: ANDSF lost nearly 7,000 personnel while battling the Taliban 2016. About 6,785 Afghan soldiers and police personnel were killed while another 11,777 were wounded in the first 11 months of 2016. Chief Afghan presidential advisor Homayun Qayoumi has acknowledged unprecedented losses insurgents inflicted last year (2016) in Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, or ANDSF. 

But two key rumors rear the heads — a tottering government of Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai beset by numerous political problems and secondly, a renewed threat by Taliban which has found fresh oxygen from apparent political endorsement by Pakistan.

It is also rumored Ghani’s government is in deep trouble and there is talk in Kabul of a “jirga” (tribal council meeting) that could look for a political alternative, though destabilising the dispensation in the current precarious scenario could be a recipe for disaster.

What is of perhaps greater concern is the rumor of a new apparent re-alignment of powers in the region which would adversely impact India and Afghanistan, while giving an upper hand to the Taliban and their sponsors in Pakistan. While the US has been absorbed in domestic politics, Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan have made common cause by raising the spectre of Daesh/IS in Afghanistan, trying to create an opening to begin political negotiations with the Taliban as a “friendly force” to keep out Daesh.



It’s a return to the ‘good-terrorists-bad-terrorists’ narrative, so skillfully played by Pakistan in the region. The Daesh in Afghanistan, like the Taliban, have their roots in Pakistan. And Pakistan is an obstacle before establishing a strong central government in Afghanistan: Pakistan is able to cut the U.S. ground and air connection ways to Afghanistan, the ways which play vital role to US forces presence in the country.(20170306)

Sar-e-Chowk, the place to take the Afghan pulse

abdur_rahman

 

Once upon a time in Kabul, there was only one roundabout, an unrivalled space for commerce and conversation. All roads led to the roundabout and so did the news. During the 16th Century reign of the Mogul Emperor Babur it was known as the "navel of Kabul". Afghans met at this point, from across Kabul and across the country. In the late 19th Century, writes Afghan historian Asif Ahang, "the clever King Amir Abdul Rahman Khan used to check what the people said on the roundabout before executing any decision".

Rumor Int is tricky. “RumINT” can be true or not true, but actually that applies to many other forms of intelligence.  Our view is that RumINT should be passively listened too, and logged, because just occasionally it turns out to be true and it turns out that it was just uncorroborated real intelligence. Some of the best bits of intelligence start out in life as a simple rumor.  Just because something isn’t yet corroborated doesn’t mean its not worthwhile listening too and considering.
 

 

RUMINT 2016 and earlier:

It is rumored that the Taliban are on the rise. Given the recent uptick in insurgent attacks on the Afghan capital Kabul and with the number of districts controlled or contested by the Taliban on the rise, the answer is self-evident: absolutely. Indeed, the situation in Kunduz leading up to the fall of the provincial capital in many ways mirrors the present state of the country as a whole. As in Kunduz circa 2015, ANSF retain control over major urban centers and key infrastructure, but struggle to pacify rural areas where support for the Taliban remains strong. Local militias and police presently—and in many cases tenuously and corruptly—secure many of those areas, leaving them vulnerable to the insurgency. Meanwhile, political uncertainty and instability are pervasive, and the rise of the Islamic State has once again rendered Afghanistan a strategic backburner to Iraq (and, of course, to Syria). Many warning signs, in other words, are already in place.(20161010)

Abdullah's camp out of the government? 

It is rumored that key allies of Afghanistan's chief executive are threatening to withdraw their support for the government unless the country's president meets their camp's key demands. 

They are seeking sweeping reforms and want Ghani to stop "micro-managing" the government and "consolidating personal power.“ They say Ghani is marginalizing Abdullah in the decision-making process.

Abdullah said late on August 11, 2016 that Ghani did not deserve to govern as he had failed to work collaboratively or to enact electoral reforms. "The government is paralyzed and ministers do not have the chance to speak," Abdullah said in televised remarks. "[Ghani] provides a one-hour lecture but he should listen to the ministers for 15 minutes. If someone is not patient and does not have tolerance, he does not deserve the presidency."

Fresh questions are coming up about the stability of the coalition formed in 2014 after both Ghani and Abdullah claimed victory in a presidential election. Ghani is said to be arrogant, does not have tolerance and is out of touch with the deteriorating situation in the country. Dr Abdullah accused Dr Ghani of making decisions unilaterally and of failing to consult him on appointments.  Abdullah insisted that “if someone does not have the patience for discussion, then he is not fit for the presidency, either.’’ Abdullah is known among his colleagues as someone who believes in teamwork and has a lot of patience to listen and engage in critical thinking, whilst Ghani is known to have little patience for deliberations and given his background as an expressive lecturer, acts more professorial than politician.

This comes at a particularly sensitive time, as the government has yet to officially confirm Abdullah's position past a September 2016 deadline that had been set for doing so, or to clear up the problems that plagued the last election.

The growing political crisis within the Afghan National Unity Government is compounding the ongoing security and economic crises in the country. President Ashraf Ghani sees himself as a saviour destined and determined to restore the Ghilzai Pashtuns’ lost political mastery against the Durrani Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns. Ghani’s strategy has been sidelining his electoral rival Abdullah Abdullah, favouring Ghilzai Pashtuns in political life by using the means of patronage and charm-offensive of the West.

Taliban insurgents have also made considerable gains in recent month in different parts of the country. Government forces have suffered heavy casualties since taking over full responsibility for security after most foreign troops withdrew at the end of 2014.

(20160812)

 

 

Was U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper telling rumors to  a Senate committee Tuesday, Feb. 02, 2016, when he said  the Kabul government faces persistent hurdles to political stability, including eroding political cohesion, assertions of authority by local powerbrokers, financial shortfalls, and countrywide, sustained attacks by the Taliban. And that the Afghan government will confront larger and more divisive issues later in 2016, including the implementation of election reforms and long-delayed parliamentary elections. Clapper told the Senate committee he thinks the Taliban position has consistently been not to negotiate. “The pre-condition they always describe is the removal of foreign forces (from Afghanistan) and I do not see them changing that position,” he said.
Clapper added “We assess that fighting in 2016 will be more intense than 2015, continuing a decade-long trend of deteriorating security that will compound these challenges.“ And:  “Kabul will be unable to effectively address its dire economic situation or begin to curb its dependence on foreign aid until it first contains the insurgency, which is steadily chipping away at Afghanistan’s security,” he said.(20160209)



Only rumors? Afghanistan’s Government is imploding slowly and is perhaps on the verge of collapse.  It is rumored that Afghan Interior Minister Noor-ul-Haq Olomi has offered his resignation to President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai after mounting criticism of the worsening security situation over recent months. The resignation offer, which had not yet been accepted, deals a further blow to Ghani's struggling government, which is without a permanent defence minister and which recently lost the head of its intelligence service just as the Taliban has stepped up its insurgency. It is also rumored that Rashid Abdul Dostum is considering to resign. It also highlights the deep fractures in the national unity government which gave Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, the two rival candidates in the disputed election of 2014, a share in power. According to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Islamist insurgents now control more territory than at any time since 2001, when the Taliban was driven from power by U.S.-led forces in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York. At the same time, the government has been hobbled by political infighting. It is rumored that the Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai Administration is cleverly manipulating Afghan media not to present the bleak and negative development in Afghanistan.(20160206) And Kabul city has been without power for 13 days - almost two weeks that Afghan security forces have been trying to push back Taliban militants from the area where they blew up a power pylon. Officials from Da Breshna Sherkat (DABS) said that they do not know when they will be able to rebuild the pylon.(20160208) Conflicts have intensified after the establishment of the National Unity Government (NUG) and the next fighting season is already being deemed a game changer for the survival of Afghanistan.

 

Rumint 2015 and earlier:

It is rumored that Pakistan always wanted NDS Chief Rahmatullah Nabil to go and it happened. President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai angrily rejected suggestions that Nabil's resignation was prompted by pressure from Pakistani officials to get rid of a man who made no secret of his hostility towards them. It is not the first time, that Pakistan interfered in Afghanistan’s  security sector. Former NDS Chief Amrullah Saleh's departure was a blow to the Afghan spy service. He throughout had been in league with Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to destabilise Pakistan but had been ousted by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Saleh has threatened his leadership that he would bring the peace fragility back in the region to the previous level since he was refused a free hand to play the Indian game in the region. Amrullah has been brought up and groomed by the Indian intelligence organisation and he had been involved in anti-Pakhtun activities throughout his career.(20151211)

It is rumored that since April 2015 the number of Afghans who want to flee their country, citing worsening economic and security conditions, has soared, despite pleas by President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and CEO Abdullah Abdullah to stay and rebuild their nation. The number of applications for new passports has increased dramatically in recent months. In Kabul hundreds of men and women arriving early each morning to line up outside the city’s only passport office. Applicants now wait 40 days to receive their document. Roughly 10,000 people a day apply for passports, and most of them want to leave the country. Of the 12 million potential work-force in the country, 65 percent (7 million) are jobless. Up to 3 million Afghans are drug addicts. Insecurity, corruption and joblessness are the main reasons forcing youth to seek refuge in drugs.The brain drain goes on. (20150927)

It is rumored that not only President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is not satisfied with the poor performance of some male and female Ministers. Neither are the Afghan people who are more and more tired and frustrated of the endless waiting for improvement of their life. 
Now it materialized what many observers of the previous political „heavy handed Minister search scene“ have predicted some month ago: Many of the the new cabinet members lack of administrative experience, job skills and competence. The NUG’s anticorruption drive reduces the income and the loyalty of ministerial officials considerably, because the overstaffed ministerial bureaucrats have no more incentive. Corruption under the Karzai regime was the grease to control Afghanistan’s  multilayered economical, ethnical, religious, tribal problems and feuds. 
Still very active Taliban and permanent security break downs are also fueling the slow melt down of the Ghani Abdullah Government. The medium-term economic outlook is not very favorable: growth will remain sluggish 2015 at 1.9 percent. Recent analysis shows that Afghanistan's economic revenue potential, even with considerably enhanced effort to reduce leakages and improve administration of the tax regime, is below 16 percent of GDP. This is grossly inadequate to finance its current level of spending which is at 36 percent of GDP and does not yet fully account for liabilities that are currently financed off-budget, especially in the security sector. It is rumored that Pakistan ante portas sits on the garden fence, watching and hoping Afghanistan will ruin itself and collapse without too much interference.(20150830)

It is rumored that the United Arab Emirate (UAE) has cancelled the work permits and visas of about 600 small and medium-sized Afghan business owners and issued them notices to close their businesses and leave the country within two weeks. This might be to prevent the ongoing exodus of capital from Afghanistan and to support the weak Afghan NUG Government. Thousands of Afghans have set up businesses in the UAE with billions of dollars of investment. And more are still arriving from Afghanistan. Others say the UAE links this issue to the Schia Huthi fighting in Yemen and has cancelled the visas of the 600 Afghans because they are relating to Schia Hazara tribe. Now, it is seen that from among 1.200 Afghan businessmen, the UAE wants to expel 600 of them.(201505012) Latest rumors say that many of the concerned Afghan business men are doing business in and from UAE without adequate license, without work permit and without proper visa.(20150518)

It is rumored in Kabul that the Ghani/Abdullah Government is adjusting regional foreign relations. Top priority now is Pakistan while India is dramatically loosing importance for Kabul. The driving force behind this new development is Ghani. Ghani has scaled down symbolic contacts with India to reassure Islamabad. It is said that this new foreign relations strategy is seen critical by the Abdullah camp. They fear to get outmaneuvered by a consolidated Pakistan-Pashtun quarter. (20150219)

Barna Karimi is rumored to have not only some troubles with the reliability of his educational and academic credentials especially from the Universty of Phoenix. Another tiny problem he might have to explain. How come date of birth on the Afghan ID Card Oct 13, 1974 and according to a US criminal searching background website, it is June 13, 1973.

 

It is rumored that President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai Dec. 27, 2014 in a choleric reaction fired Maria Bashir , the prosecutor general for western Herat province, whithout public explanation. She was honoured at a ceremony in the United States to mark international women's day on March 8, 2011. She is the country's most senior female prosecutor. She called President Ghani’s decision “unjust”. She further added that it is still not clear to her that why she was suddenly dismissed. (20150120)

 

It is certainly a rumor: "The international affairs commission at the House of Representatives has said a close aide to the President (Ashraf Ghani) is promising MPs money for votes," said Abdul Qader Zazay, the Chairman of the International Affairs Commission.(20150119)

It is rumored that President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's nominee as Minister of Higher Education Mrs. Khatera Afghan has problems with her age. In her passport (below) she is 33, in her ID-Card 38. To be eligible according to the constitution she has to be 35 years old......if the below documents are genuine.....












 






It is rumored in Diplomatic circles that several western-afghan Expats having their families in western countries make tricky deals to keep dual citizenship. They are returning their western passport to the Ambassadors of the concerned countries. The Ambassadors put the passport into their personal safe in the embassy and safeguard it. The Afghan expat receives a written document, that he/she applied for being released from the concerned citizenship and further action has been arranged. The process is dragging on. No one really cares about follow up. In fact the dual citizenship has never been given up in the sense of the concerned laws. A concerned Ambassador was rumored to have commented on this: „We have to protect our people. Afghanistan is very special!“(20150119)

 

In Kabul it is very much rumored that nearly half (13 or even more out of 27) of the nominated cabinet members hold foreign passports or have dual citizenship.  (Haidari, Kakar, Khairi, Barna Karimi, General Karimi, Maiwandi, Mahjur, Naderi, Olumi, Popal, Rabbani, Saba, Saigal, Sediq (Da Afghanistan Bank) and some others) One out of the 27 is said to be on a most wanted list of Interpol. (20150117)

 

It is rumored that President Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah have agreed on nine seats in the New Cabinet for Pashtun, eight for Tajik, three for Hazara, two for Uzbek and one for Sadat ethnicities. Also, one seat has been considered for Hindu community.(20150106)

 

 

Rumint 2014 and earlier:

 

Rumor? Afghan National Security Force ANSF Post-2014 not able to keep up facilities

In a report released Dec 08, 2014 by the US Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction SIGAR, John F. Sopko, reports that Afghanistan will likely be incapable of fiscally sustaining the ANSF after 2014. However, the report adds that even under the most optimistic economic growth scenarios, the Afghan government will not be able to fully fund its forces by 2024.  

According to SIGAR, while overall budget expenses in Afghanistan were $5.4 billion in 2013, the country’s government’s domestic annual revenues were only about $2 billion, less than half of the total expenditures.   

SIGAR notes that ISAF is refusing to make public the current status of ANSF's capability to fight the insurgency as it has done in the past.  SIGAR maintains that there is no evidence that the public release of aggregated data on ANSF capabilities has or could deliver any tactical benefit to Afghan insurgents and argues that the classification does a disservice to the interests of informed national debate.

Fact is that the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) likely will not be able to keep up its facilities after 2014 due to inadequate troop levels and quality (literacy), and not-ready-for-primetime budgeting, procurement and logistics systems. And fact is also that the Taleban will not stop fighting before the last foreign soldier has left Afghanistan.



 

More than only rumors: After an pre inauguration imbroglio, when Dr. Abdullah Abdullah threatened to boycott the inauguration ceremony on Monday Sep 29, 2014, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was finally sworn in as President with his running mates as first vice president, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum (Uzbek) and as second vice president, Sarwar Danish (Hazara). And just a day before the inauguration day the problems started: There were scuffles between the electoral camps of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai over office space in ARG presidential palace. Unconfirmed reports suggest that armed supporters of Dr. Abdullah have taken over the former First Vice president’s office (from Mohammad Yunis Qanooni) and were insisting that the office will be handed over to Dr. Abdullah on Monday Sep 29, 2014. Abdullahs representatives and those of Ghani’s running mate as first vice president, Abdul Rashid Dostum, got into a scuffle over office space in the Arg when Dostum’s representatives arrived on Sunday Sept 28, 2014. Abdullah’s staff when Dostum’s staff arrived cleared the office space out for Dostum from northern Afghanistan whose heavily armed followers, wearing civilian clothes, have been much in evidence in Kabul lately.(20140929)

 

There are strong rumors in Arg Palace that Ashraf Ghani will be the next President of Afghanistan. Other rumors in Kabul say even the recount of ballots was manipulated in favour of Ghani by IEC officials. (20140904)
 

It is rumored that the formation of a transitional government in Afghanistan is being mulled by the USA and others to help the country safely pass through its current crisis. An interim government should be installed if the final results from the April 5 vote are feared causing  political differences and if President Karzai should quit before the winner of the presidential elections is determined. Even a partition of Afghanistan is under discussion. Khorasan might also be a sensible solution to the present problems. (20140830)


It is rumored in Arg Palace that the present electoral problem has been caused by President Karzai, who first seemed to be siding with Abdullah, and seems to have given him some reassurances before the elections that if he won he would continue to support his presidency. And now Karzai seems to have switched to support Ashraf Ghani. In that instance it seems that if anybody has carried out the rigging, the rigging has been carried out by the

Released 2021-01-06