Can’t tell the players without a scorecard

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This is what the battle map of Afghanistan looks like after 20 years of Republicrats managing something they think should be called “foreign policy”. Mostly, our two-party system of phonies behaves like monarchs trying to order peasants about.

No surprises here. Those days have been over for more than a century.

Billion dollar crook — Busted!

Click to reach the video/complete article at the AlJazeera site. 28 minutes long

❝ Altaf Khanani is a wanted man. He leads a syndicate that launders billions of dollars for the world’s biggest drug cartels and armed groups, including the Taliban and al-Qaeda…He evaded authorities for decades…

❝ “Altaf Khanani was the number one international controller as far as organised crime and terrorist funding was in the world at that time,” says David Stewart of the Australian Federal Police. “And we knew that he was causing significant impact on multiple countries throughout the world, and that’s why we had to take some action…”

❝ 101 East goes inside the year-long undercover sting to catch the world’s most-wanted money launderer.

Real James Bond stuff. Good journalism.

American ISIS

American ISIS

Militia types truly are the American equivalent of ISIS jihadists. Confidence only in the force of arms to achieve political ends that even they must recognize are decades out of touch with the rest of this nation.

What the Taliban buy when shopping for themselves

140 pairs of tidy whities, bro’

An army offensive in Taliban-dominated tribal areas of Pakistan has caused large numbers of people to flee to safer regions. Among them is shopkeeper Rasheed Rehman, who until recently counted Taliban fighters among his best customers…

Miranshah is the administrative capital of North Waziristan, close to the Afghan border. Rasheed says he had a large shop in the main market there, selling all manner of cosmetics, socks and stockings, and a few electronic items.

He says he used to earn between 100,000 and 115,000 rupees a day, and that Taliban militants were the biggest spenders. According to Rasheed, they would buy plenty of goods on every visit – and they wouldn’t haggle to get prices reduced.

“They used to prefer foreign or branded perfumes and imported body sprays. They liked the ones with a strong scent.”

In fact, Rasheed would travel especially to Islamabad and Lahore in order to procure the kind of imported merchandise the Taliban preferred…

The perfumes they bought for their womenfolk included one called Secret Love, and Blue Lady by Rasasi.

They would ask for Head and Shoulders or Clear shampoo and Dove soap.

When it came to underwear, they preferred it white – briefs or Y fronts…

Another shopkeeper from Miranshah, Sohail Masih, a tailor, confirms that the Taliban would invariably be the best customers in the market, spending 2,000 to 3,000 rupees at a time – for many people that would be two weeks’ salary.

“They would drive to my shop in big white cars with black-tinted windows and had no qualms about doling out wads of cash,” he says.

“The kind of things they would buy, well people like me can’t even conceive of buying them.”

Pointing out once again that we’re dealing with run-of-the-mill bandits, folks. Neither the average Pashtun or Pakistani nor fixated Tea Party Islamophobes have their history or facts straight. Just because gangsters and thugs claim their mission is grounded in some variant of a religion doesn’t make it so.

And that ain’t new. Petty despots have claimed their mission is one of fighting for religious freedom, ethnic liberation, sectarian justice – time and again. A significant part of the trouble is the “other side” of the conflict is often just as willing to accept that crap lie as advocacy because it fits their own matrix of hate.

Taliban Tea Party advances their tactics

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The Taliban Tea Party will continue to press forward towards their version of the 19th Century whether or not the rest of the Republican Party volunteers. The Koch Bros will continue their funding at least as long as their ilk funded the John Birch Society.

The only surprise has been the number of Republicans in elective office with as little backbone as Democrats. You would think that with as many years experience as some have, dedication to Big Business and Capitalism as a class would trump fealty to Big Oil and extractive industries alone – and the promise of more support for hating women, Latinos, Black people, trade unions, intelligentsia, artists and pretty much everyone outside the borders of the GOUSA.

Criminal attacks in Pakistan murder anti-Polio workers

Gunmen shot dead five female health workers who were immunizing children against polio on Tuesday, causing the Pakistani government to suspend vaccinations in two cities and dealing a fresh setback to an eradication campaign dogged by Taliban resistance in a country that is one of the disease’s last global strongholds.

“It is a blow, no doubt,” said Shahnaz Wazir Ali, an adviser on polio to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. “Never before have female health workers been targeted like this in Pakistan. Clearly there will have to be more and better arrangements for security.”

No group claimed responsibility for the attacks, but most suspicion focused on the Pakistani Taliban, which has previously blocked polio vaccinators and complained that the United States is using the program as a cover for espionage.

The killings were a serious reversal for the multibillion-dollar global polio immunization effort, which over the past quarter century has reduced the number of endemic countries from 120 to just three: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Nonetheless, United Nations officials insisted that the drive would be revived after a period for investigation and regrouping, as it had been after previous attacks on vaccinators here, in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

But the campaign here has been deeply shaken by Taliban threats and intimidation, though several officials said Tuesday that they had never seen such a focused and deadly attack before.

The most corrupt gangsters in the world – masquerading as political activists – are dedicated only to power, greed and theft, caring not in the least about the death spiral they guarantee the poorest of the poor in Pakistan.

NATO supply line back in business — “We are able to make money in bundles” says Taliban commander

As the United States trumpeted its success in persuading Pakistan to end its seven-month blockade of supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan, another group privately cheered its good fortune: the Taliban.

One of the Afghan war’s great ironies is that both NATO and the Taliban rely on the convoys to fuel their operations — a recipe for seemingly endless conflict.

The insurgents have earned millions of dollars from Afghan security firms that illegally paid them not to attack trucks making the perilous journey from Pakistan to coalition bases throughout Afghanistan — a practice the U.S. has tried to crack down on but admits likely still occurs.

Militants often target the convoys in Pakistan as well, but there have been far fewer reports of trucking companies paying off the insurgents, possibly because the route there is less vulnerable to attack…

“Stopping these supplies caused us real trouble,” a Taliban commander who leads about 60 insurgents in eastern Ghazni province told The Associated Press in an interview. “Earnings dropped down pretty badly. Therefore the rebellion was not as strong as we had planned.”

A second Taliban commander who controls several dozen fighters in southern Kandahar province said the money from security companies was a key source of financing for the insurgency, which uses it to pay fighters and buy weapons, ammunition and other supplies.

“We are able to make money in bundles,” the commander told the AP by telephone. “Therefore, the NATO supply is very important for us.”

“We have had to wait these past seven months for the supply lines to reopen and our income to start again,” said the Taliban commander in Ghazni. “Now work is back to normal.”

Does that give you a clear idea of what an exercise in futility this war is?

Taliban prisoners freed from jail after paying off Afghan officials

Back on the street again!

Taliban bomb makers and leaders caught red-handed trying to kill American troops in Afghanistan have been freed without trial after paying off corrupt local officials…

American officers in Ghazni province say in several cases they have been powerless to prevent the release of insurgent figures despite strong evidence they were attacking coalition forces.

The men were released not as part of the judicial process, or as part of a formal reconciliation deal, but after corrupt officials had taken bribes worth the equivalent of thousands of pounds.

A former Afghan intelligence chief from the eastern province confirmed to the Daily Telegraph that the practice had been rife for some time.

Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division have been sent to southern Ghazni this summer with just months to try and stabilise security and bolster the Afghan forces, before they pull out. The Taliban have had free run of the area in recent years, installing their own shadow administration and staging attacks on military convoys using the highway running through Ghazni between Kabul and Kandahar. Since the arrival of the American troops, seven paratroopers have been killed, mainly when their vehicles have been hit by huge homemade bombs dug into roads.

Attacks have dropped recently though, as large caches of small arms and ammunition, along with tons of fertiliser-based homemade explosives, have been seized – with many prisoners. American policemen and federal agents attached as advisers to the paratroopers have been able to use police forensic and biometric techniques to strengthen the cases against those caught. However the collected evidence has been ignored by officials intent on lining their own pockets by releasing prisoners

When confronted, Afghan officials have said the men were wrongly held, or had sworn their innocence on the Koran. In at least one case American officials later found that sums of up to 600,000 Pakistani rupees (£4,200) had changed hands to gain the release of the prisoners…

Those working alongside Afghan policemen and soldiers had to follow captives through the judicial system to prevent them disappearing.

Yup. This is going to be one of those stellar victories for American invading forces that the world will recall for decades. And our politicians will blame on someone else.

Doctor who aided CIA find Osama bin Laden is sentenced to prison

The Pakistani medical official who ran a fake CIA vaccination programme to help find Osama bin Laden has been jailed for 33 years.

A spokesman for Khyber Agency, an administrative unit in Pakistan’s restless frontier, said Dr Shakil Afridi would face decades in jail – despite calls from senior US officials to release the man who helped with efforts to track down the al-Qaida chief.

The tough sentence for the former surgeon general of Khyber will be taken as another sign of the terrible state of US-Pakistan relations.

Also a sign of the terrible state of what passes for justice in Pakistan.

And it will further alarm western critics of Pakistan who say the country has put far more effort into trying to understand how US spies and special forces were able to plan and launch the Bin Laden raid than into how the al-Qaida leader was able to remain for so long in the Pakistani army garrison town of Abbottabad.

The sentence was announced just days after Barack Obama snubbed the Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari, by refusing to hold a formal meeting with him at the NATO conference in Chicago…

There had been hopes that Afridi would eventually be quietly released after the controversy surrounding the Bin Laden raid had subsided…

With friends like this…

Why not take something like 10% of the money we waste by handing it over to the Pakistan government – and just use it to bribe the Pakistan and Afghan Taliban? Let them divvy it up among local gangsters.