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151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 20, 2011, 07:09:19 PM
H&D alert: It seems to me that the pakis fired first, and then got their a$$ handed to them....but ofcourse that cannot be blame India!.

KARACHI: According to a BBC report, Pakistan’s military officials on Monday blamed an Afghan commander for the November 26 Nato strike on Salala check post in Mohmand agency, DawnNews reported. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that the accused Afghan commander conspired on the instructions of Indian and Afghan intelligence to dismantle Pakistan’s ties with US and Nato.

See also this article

The probe report – parts of which have been shared with Nato forces in Kabul – states that no US soldier was involved in the airstrike on the Salala check post in the Mohmand Agency that left two dozen border guards dead.
Investigators are convinced that an Afghan National Army (ANA) officer conspired with India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security in prompting the Nato airstrike, an officer privy to the probe told the BBC.
Islamabad has shared the evidence of his involvement with Nato, saying that the evidence warrants action against him.
Islamabad has long suspected that archrival India is using Afghan soil to foment trouble in Pakistan’s border regions.

152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 20, 2011, 06:57:17 PM
The above article does not mention this, but wrt to relations with the USA, in moments of clarity, Pakistanis often refer to themselves as a condom which is discarded after use, a most perceptive description IMHO.

The above article also exemplifies everything that is wrong with US policy. What do the pakis need to do before the US govt will cut aid ?. The reality is that pakiland is on a downhill course (somewhat like the Euro), you can slow the descent but not the trajectory.
153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 18, 2011, 06:15:11 PM
Zardari has returned to Pak, suggestion a deal has been reached with Kayani...all's well for now. He still has issues with the judiciary..\12\19\story_19-12-2011_pg1_1
Back in the saddle

By Masroor Afzal Pasha and Hussain Kashif

KARACHI/LAHORE: President Asif Ali Zardari, who was in Dubai for nearly two weeks for medical treatment, returned to country late on Sunday night.

The president arrived in a special plane that landed at the PAF base Masroor in Karachi. The plane was equipped with medical facilities, and the president’s personal physician and medics were on board. The president was accompanied by his daughter Asifa Bhutto Zardari. Senior Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders welcomed him at the airport.

The medical team accompanying the president declared him completely fit, allowing him to resume his official activities. Security from airport to the Bilawal House had already been beefed up in anticipation of president’s arrival. Earlier, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that the ‘situation’ had neutralised after army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s meeting with him and direct telephonic talk with President Zardari on Saturday, Daily Times learnt.

Well-placed sources in the PPP, speaking on the eve of the hearing of the memo case in the Supreme Court, said that the ice has been melted after former US national security adviser General James Jones, who delivered the memo to the then chief of US military Admiral Michael Mullen, filed a statement in the Supreme Court regarding the memo scandal, clearing the confusion on the matter.

Sources had earlier said that the president’s core team had made a decision for his return homeland. The sources also said that President Zardari had also rejected the suggestion of a welcome gathering from the party at the airport on his return to the country. The sources further informed that the party heads have also decided that Zardari would stay in the Bilawal House and take rest till December 26 avoiding work and meetings, but he would appear in the public meeting at Garhi Khuda Baksh on the eve of Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary where he would deliver a special speech and take the nation in confidence regarding conspiracies against him and his party’s government. The PPP sources also said that some party leaders had been in favour of the president’s return on Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary to prevent any move against him. They were of the view that the party was showing its strength and all the activists and followers of Bhuttos would be united at Garhi Khuda Baksh.
154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 15, 2011, 07:16:30 PM
Paki behaviour 101: Blame everyone else, but self

From Stratfor..     
Pakistan: Islamabad Will Fight Terrorism On Its Own Terms - FM

December 15, 2011
Pakistan will fight terrorism on its own terms rather than those of the U.S. Congress, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said in a Dec. 15 meeting with the Pakistani National Security Commission, The Express Tribune reported. She said the U.S.-Pakistan relationship is on hold and will be restored on a mandate from Pakistan’s parliament and people that clearly defines the partnership so that it can be pursued more vigorously. Khar added that although Pakistan should not be worried by the freeze on U.S. aid to Islamabad, the United States will be responsible if Pakistan loses its war on terrorism, NDTV reported.
155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 13, 2011, 09:38:08 PM
Pak 101: key word: Honor& Dignity (H&D)

The previous 2 posts are all about maintaining H&D...amongst the beards. Never mind that Shamsi airbase was winding down ops over the last several months.

The post about basing paki air assets near the border is harder to evaluate...for it could lead to a confrontation with the US, or will likely involve down-hill skiing (keyword discussed earlier!) from their decision later. Paki generals are under pressure to do something in response to the 24 killed in the cross border attack by the US. I suspect that the US jammed some paki radio communications during the couple of hrs that the attack took place. Since pakis cannot admit that the US can jam all radio communications at will, as in this attack, and also previously in the OBL killing, Gen.Kiyani recently ordered that the front line troops need not wait for orders from their senior commanders, and can take matters into their own hands. This statement will calm down the rank and file, since they can now shoot down the reviled US helis and drones, but in their tactical brilliance they forget that the US can pulversise them with a devastating counter attack. I very much doubt that the US is shutting down the drone programme (the only thing that has worked in the Af-pak theater).

Another possibility is that the "anointed one" (Fox terminology), is withdrawing from Af-pak, and pakis are taking advantage of that to show that they forced the US to withdraw. Interesting times ahead..
156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 10, 2011, 11:10:36 AM
Note the Dec 15, deadline...that will likely determine whether Zardari comes back. If the army blames Zardari for "memogate", the PPP prime minister may resign, and create chaos in Sindh state of pak.

President Asif Zardari's sudden departure for Dubai last Tuesday, reportedly for a "routine medical check-up", has provoked much speculation. One report claims he may resign for reasons of bad health. Others say he has fled the country to avoid impeachment or conviction on account of "treasonable" involvement in "Memogate". The government says he is fine and should be back in a few days after the medical checkups are done, "provided his doctors give him the all-clear". If he is fine, why qualify it thus? If he isn't back soon, then he must be seriously ill. These contradictory statements have fueled rumours of a creeping "soft coup" against him.

Mr Zardari, to be certain, hasn't been in the best of health. He suffers from an assortment of ailments, including diabetes, hypertension, blood pressure and coronary disease. But the truth is that the tensions of Memogate and NRO must be weighing on him in more ways than one. Consider.

The opposition, Supreme Court, military and sections of the media are gunning for President Asif Zardari. Of late, Mr Nawaz Sharif has also been screaming "Go Zardari Go". He gave the government ten days to set up a credible commission on Memogate but then petitioned the SC in four days to take matters in hand. Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi have been blasting him in rallies, the latter thundering that Pakistan's nuclear assets and Mr Zardari cannot co-exist, an ominous charge that those close to the military are inclined to make of politicians who are accused of being a "national security risk" and then scuttled.

The SC also seems to have decided to go for Mr Zardari's jugular. The NRO review petition has been revived and rubbished swiftly. The PM has been ordered to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen the money laundering cases against Mr Zardari, regardless of his presidential immunity. Now the SC has hastily held that there is, prima facie, a case to be made out against Husain Haqqani, former ambassador to Washington, and President Zardari, and ordered them, plus the prime minister, army chief and DG ISI, to send their comments, remarks and evidence to the SC by 15 December.

The military, in the meanwhile, is leaking like a sieve with stories of the "nefarious and treasonable" activities of both Mr Haqqani and President Zardari.

All these "stakeholders" have personal, political or institutional grudges against Mr Zardari. According to Imran Khan, the plan to "get Zardari" was ready in November last year but the military backed off at the last minute following the extensions in service granted by him to both the army chief and DG ISI. Now there is no such hurdle.

December is a critical month. If the government balks at obeying SC orders, the SC may seek recourse to Article 190 of the Constitution and order the army to implement them. Once such an order is made, Mr Zardari will be as good as in the net. He won't be able to flee.

Under the circumstances, it makes good sense to be ill (thereby deriving public sympathy) and be out of the country (thereby denying the SC and military a chance to nab him and put him in the dock) until the road is clear of the present danger. Alternatively, if the plans are there for all to see, he can guide his besieged party and prime minister from the safety of Dubai and London to resist, like Altaf Hussain continues to do and like Nawaz Sharif did for ten years from Saudi Arabia. It is learnt that the prime minister and party have girded their loins to face the conspiracies afoot against them.

Mr Zardari will not resign and the PPP will not throw in the towel without a fight. Instead, they will go down fighting, charging the "Punjabi establishment" of martyring two Sindhi prime ministers and scuttling three PPP governments to date, thus reclaiming collective martyrdom and another chance to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes.

Mr Zardari can pend his decision to stay or return on the basis of how the SC proceeds in the next month or so. If the omens are not good, his illness could take a turn for the worse, compelling him to stay put in a hospital abroad. Or he might return in the next few days and see how the army and ISI respond to the notice of the SC. Much will rest on whether they send an adverse view of him on Memogate directly via the Judge Advocate General of the army or a favourable view of him via the Defense Ministry which comes under the federal government. He has already set a precedent for exiting the country unannounced and suddenly on account of health reasons. He can do so again should an emergency arise. But the dice is loaded against him and the conspirators will not be easily thwarted this time round.
157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 10, 2011, 08:54:14 AM
From the web..
"Everyone seems to wonder why Pak terrorists are quick to line up for suicide attacks. Lets have a look at the evidence: No Christmas,No tv,No nude women,No football,No pork chops,No hotdogs, No burgers, No beer, No bacon, Rags for clothes, Towels for hats, Constant wailing from some asshole in a tower, More than one wife, More than one mother in law, You can't shave, Your wife can't shave, You can't wash off the smell of donkey, You cook over burning camel shit, Yr wife smells worse than your donkey.
Then they tell you "when you die, it all gets better"....!!"

Seasons Greetings.

P.S.Pl. delete if offensive..

158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 06, 2011, 06:57:18 PM

President Zardari suddenly leaves Pakistan -- is he on the way out?
Posted By Josh Rogin   Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 5:34 PM    Share

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari left Pakistan suddenly on Tuesday, complaining of heart pains, and is now in Dubai. His planned testimony before a joint session of Pakistan's parliament on the Memogate scandal is now postponed indefinitely.

On Dec. 4, Zardari announced that he would address Pakistan's parliament about the Memogate issue, in which his former ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani stands accused of orchestrating a scheme to take power away from Pakistan's senior military and intelligence leadership and asking for U.S. help in preventing a military coup. Haqqani has denied that he wrote the memo at the heart of the scheme, which also asked for U.S. support for the Zardari government and promised to realign Pakistani foreign policy to match U.S. interests.

The memo was passed from Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to former National Security Advisor Jim Jones, to then Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen on May 10, only nine days after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani military town of Abbottabad.

Ijaz has repeatedly accused Haqqani of being behind the memo, and Ijaz claims that Haqqani was working with Zardari's implicit support.

Early on Tuesday morning, Zardari's spokesman revealed that the president had traveled to Dubai to see his children and undergo medical tests linked to a previously diagnosed "cardiovascular condition."

A former U.S. government official told The Cable today that when President Barack Obama spoke with Zardari over the weekend regarding NATO's killing of the 24 Pakistani soldiers, Zardari was "incoherent." The Pakistani president had been feeling increased pressure over the Memogate scandal. "The noose was getting tighter -- it was only a matter of time," the former official said, expressing the growing expectation inside the U.S. government that Zardari may be on the way out.

The former U.S. official said that parts of the U.S. government were informed that Zardari had a "minor heart attack" on Monday night and flew to Dubai via air ambulance today. He may have angioplasty on Wednesday and may also resign on account of "ill health."

"This is the ‘in-house change option' that has been talked about," said Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, in a Tuesday interview with The Cable. Nawaz said that this plan would see Zardari step aside and be replaced by his own party, preserving the veneer of civilian rule but ultimately acceding to the military's wishes to get rid of Zardari.

"Unfortunately, it means that the military may have had to use its muscle to effect change yet again," said Nawaz. "Now if they stay at arm's length and let the party take care of its business, then things may improve. If not, then this is a silent coup with [Pakistani prime minister Yousaf Raza] Gilani as the front man."

In Islamabad, some papers have reported that before Zardari left Pakistan, the Pakistani Army insisted that Zardari be examined by their own physicians, and that the Army doctors determined that Zardari was fine and did not need to leave the country for medical reasons. Zardari's spokesman has denied that he met with the Army doctors.

One Pakistani source told The Cable that Zardari was informed on Monday that none of the opposition party members nor any of the service chiefs would attend his remarks to the parliament as a protest against his continued tenure. This source also said that over a dozen of Zardari's ambassadors in foreign countries were in the process of being recalled in what might be a precursor to Zardari stepping down as president, taking many of his cronies with him.

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported that before leaving, Zardari met separately with Gilani, Chairman of the Senate Farooq H Naik, and Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

This past weekend, the Memogate scandal worsened for Zardari when Ijaz alleged in a Newsweek opinion piece that Zardari and Haqqani had prior knowledge of the U.S. raid to kill bin Laden, and may have given permission for the United States to violate Pakistan's airspace to conduct the raid.

On May 2, the day after bin Laden was killed, Wajid Hasan, Pakistan's high commissioner to the United Kingdom, said in an interview with CNN that Pakistan, "did know that this was going to happen because we have been keeping -- we were monitoring him and America was monitoring him. But Americans got to where he was first."

In a statement given to the Associated Press of Pakistan Monday, White House spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said that information on the actual operation to kill bin Laden was not given to anyone in Pakistan.

"As we've said repeatedly, given the sensitivity of the operation, to protect our operators we did not inform the Pakistani government, or any other government, in advance," she said.

Zardari lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai from 2004 through 2007 after being released from prison, where he had been held for eight years on corruption charges. His three children live there, but his 23-year son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairman of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), is in Pakistan now.
159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 04, 2011, 05:59:03 PM

Why I find US attacks on Pakistan satisfying
What goes around comes around… The US military has spanked the Pakistani army and humiliated its leadership by attacking outposts on the Af-Pak border and killing 24 soldiers.
Normally, I feel strongly against such blatant violations of the sovereignty of independent nations. But, and only as an exception, I must confess, the US action is giving me immense pleasure.
Adding to my satisfaction, even unconcealed glee, is the decision of US President Barrack Obama not to tender an apology for the attack.
A respected colleague is aghast at my reaction. He accuses me of being intrinsically anti-Pakistani.
I’m not.
But I also don’t believe, even for a minute, that it is a friendly country; that engagement with it is the best way forward for us; that a strong and stable Pakistan is in our best interest; and that we must do our bit to strengthen its democratically elected government and the civil society from which it draws its authority.
And that’s why I feel vindicated when the US gives Pakistan a solid hiding and a very visible black eye – something that the Indian government seems singularly incapable of doing.
For decades, India and its citizens have been at the receiving end of a well-documented, highly visible but never publicly acknowledged war declared by the rulers of Islamabad.
For decades, Indians have been chaffing at the impunity with which the perpetrators of terror from across the border have been plying their craft in this country and the brazenness with which their political masters in Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been denying their complicity and even defending them as so-called freedom fighters, social workers and heroes.
So, it comes as a delicious irony to see Pakistan at the receiving end of its own medicine; to see Pakistani sovereignty violated with impunity by a “friendly nation”, which refuses even to apologise for the havoc it caused.
And how have the Pakistanis reacted – to this attack as well as the one six months ago that killed terror mastermind Osama bin Laden right under the noses of his hosts in that country’s establishment?
“We will not tolerate this.”
“Next time, we will hit back.”
“We will retaliate.”
The impotent rage ringing out from those words is music to my ears.
We’ve heard our leaders repeat them thousands of times in the past. We know them for just what they are: false bravado.
There’s nothing the Pakistani government or military can do about it. The Pakistani leadership knows it, too. They’ve heard it for decades from their Indian counterparts – and chuckled.
Now, they’re being forced to parrot these same lines. And I can bet my bottom dollar that they’re not chuckling this time.
The Indian government is also not chuckling – at least not publicly. Officially, India wants the US and Pakistan – “two friendly powers” – to resolve their differences.
All right… we may not have the means to punish Pakistan for being the neighbourhood delinquent, but we can at least call a spade a spade!
What amazes me is the continued belief across the Indian political spectrum – right, left and centre – in the face of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, that peace with Pakistan is possible on respectable terms and that India must somehow try and help that country’s civilian government consolidate its grip on power.
Complete tosh.
Look at the evidence:
* Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a civilian, reneged on the Simla Pact as soon as India returned 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war;
* Gen Zia ul Haq, his successor, began exporting thousands of jehadi fighters into India to bleed this country to death by a thousand cuts;
* Bhutto’s daughter Benazir, despite publicly wanting peace with India, set the Kashmir valley in flames in 1989;
* Kargil happened during the reign of Nawaz Sharif;
* Gen Parvez Musharaf, who overthrew Sharif in a coup, is widely believed to be the author of Kargil; and
* Pakistan planned and executed the 26/11 attack on Mumbai when Benazir’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was (and remains) President. Indian home minister P Chidambaram complained only last week that Pakistan continues to protect the perpetrators of that attack even as it continues to stonewall Indian demands to bring them to justice.
So, no Pakistani ruler over the last 40 years – whether civilian, military or civilian-backed-by-the-military – has seriously pursued peace with India.
And the peace overtures by every Indian leader – Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh – have been rebuffed with asymmetric warfare, political doublespeak, diplomatic grandstanding and brazen deceit.
Pakistan’s bottom line has always been: give us Kashmir, or else…
It has not budged from this position since Independence.
All the concessions, it has demanded overtly and covertly, have to come from India. Regrettably, successive rulers in New Delhi have, in their eagerness for peace, willingly suspended disbelief and fallen into the Pakistani trap.
Tell me: which book of strategy, which master of real politick, which treatise on international relations has ever said: It is in your best interest to strengthen your enemy.
Even the US, without whose military and financial support Pakistan will collapse, has not been able to make Pakistan behave like a responsible member of the international community.
Then, Pakistan’s foundational premise was anti-Indian and it continues to define its existence on an anti-India paradigm.
So, New Delhi’s hopes of responsible behaviour and neighbourliness from Pakistan is nothing but the victory of irrational expectation over experience.
Already, many influential circles around the world consider Pakistan a failed state. It may be in India’s best interest to let it fail completely. And if its constituent parts – Sindh, Balochistan, Northwest Frontier Province and Punjab — want to go their own way, let them.
My respected colleague is getting very agitated, almost on the verge of having a fit. How can you consider Pakistan an enemy? he demands. That is the language of 19th century geopolitics.
And that, to me, is the language of post-modern denial.
Friendly, it isn’t; neutral, it can’t be… I’m sorry, but I can’t find any other word to describe Pakistan. Let’s face it, the Allies didn’t win the Second World War by calling Nazi Germany a friend; the West didn’t win the Cold War by describing Soviet Bloc inhabitants as comrades; and the Indian Army didn’t liberate Bangladesh by being buddies with General Niazi’s hordes.
That still leaves the main question unanswered: how do we deal with our troublesome western neighbour?
War is not an option, India lacks the capability for covert action and talks have not yielded any results.
The honest answer is, like the Indian government and, indeed, the rest of the world, I don’t know.
But I do know this: the first step towards resolving the problem of Pakistan is to acknowledge that Pakistan is, indeed, a problem. And considering Pakistan a friend is not a step in that direction.
Meanwhile, I continue to savour the quiet satisfaction of seeing Pakistan getting what it had coming for a long, long time.
160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 02, 2011, 06:39:26 PM
Pakiness, 101: Pakistan cannot be understood, without understanding pakiness. Hoping to repeatedly point out examples of typical paki behaviour...which needs to be recognized as it is a recurring pattern. If our govt understood these behaviours, we could have saved ourselves billions in treasure and lost lives.

Key word: Down hill skiing: First they will take an extreme position (ie will boycott Bonn meeting), then when suitable pressure is applied, will back down under flimsy excuses.
Pakistan budges on Bonn meet


Pakistan on Wednesday hinted at the possibility of participating in the coming Bonn Conference on Afghanistan but ruled out any high-level representation on the ground that Afghan soil had been used by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to attack the country in what the Army calls a “deliberate” act of aggression.

Agreeing to consider German Chancellor Angela Merkel's repeated requests for Islamabad's participation, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said he would refer the suggestion of having Pakistan's Ambassador in Germany attend the deliberations to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.

Ms. Merkel called Mr. Gilani to impress upon him the importance of Pakistan's participation at the meeting to make it meaningful. As Mr. Gilani was unwilling to budge on high-level participation, she suggested the Ambassador be permitted to represent Pakistan so that its seat at the table was not left vacant.

In view of bilateral relations and the fact that the German Foreign Minister was among the first to personally call his Pakistani counterpart to express solidarity with Pakistan and condole the death of 24 Pakistan Army soldiers in the NATO firing at Pakistani outposts on Saturday morning, Mr. Gilani agreed to refer the request to the Parliamentary Committee.

Meanwhile, the formal communication to the U.S. asking it to vacate the Shamsi airbase has been sent with December 11 set as the deadline.

Pakistan has released footage of two posts which came under fire from helicopters of the coalition forces in Afghanistan and wanted to know where the NATO casualties were in case there was firing from the Pakistani side.
161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 28, 2011, 07:13:04 PM
This is another Strat like US  agency reporting..

Pakistan-US: Comment: The news accounts are reasonably consistent that a NATO helicopter attack killed two dozen or more Pakistani paramilitary forces. The NATO account insists that Pakistani officers cooperated in the attack. Another story says that Afghan officers called in the air attack, which occurred inside Pakistan's Mohmand Agency. Another account says US forces were far into Pakistani national territory.

The Torkham border crossing, near Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan, has been closed to truck traffic to Afghanistan. The border crossing point at Spin Buldak in the south, evidently, remains open. The Islamabad government has ordered the CIA to vacate a remote air base that is used for drone attacks but supposedly had been ordered to vacate six months ago.

None of that matters much. All of it is for public consumption because the Pakistani civilian government and military leadership are involved in some fashion. This incident will be covered up. None of the stake holders perceive any benefit from making this incident a cause celebre, an international sensation. The logistics supply line for Afghanistan is much less dependent on Pakistani roads than on central Asian railroads.

On the other hand, Pakistani public hostility for the US will spike.
162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 28, 2011, 07:06:18 PM
Here's much I can agree with..

Blazing Saddles in Pakistan
By Spengler

In Mel Brooks' 1974 comedy Blazing Saddles, a welcoming committee for a new sheriff turns into a lynch mob when it discovers the man is black. He points his gun at his own temple and says, ''One step closer and the [N-word] gets it!'' The townspeople back off, rather like the American government every time it catches Pakistan supporting the Taliban or other enemies of the United States. Pakistan menaces the United States with the prospect of its own failure. Pak also holds a gun to its own head, gimme money or I pull the trigger

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum summed up the Washington consensus at last week's national security debate, ''Pakistan must be our friend'' because it has nuclear weapons. America can't do without Pakistan, that is, because if Pakistan breaks up, nuclear weapons might reach the hands of terrorists. The flaw in this argument is that Pakistan itself is governed by terrorists. That is why it has been so successful. It scares its neighbors. American policy, instead, should force the burden of uncertainty onto Pakistan. Remember the paki army is jihadi

Last week's North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) air strike on Pakistani frontier outposts prompted Islamabad to stop resupply of NATO forces in Afghanistan, leaving Washington to apologize for the ''unintended tragic'' deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers. Rather than calling Pakistan to account for the attack on the American embassy in Kabul by the al-Haqqani network, which outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Michael Mullen September 22 called ''a veritable arm'' of Pakistan's ISI, America finds itself on the defensive. If the Pakistanis fired on NATO forces before the latter called in an air strike, as the Afghan government claims, we should infer that Pakistan provoked the incident in order to wrong-foot the United States. Typical paki behaviour

Considering that the United States wants Pakistan to pursue military operations against a largely Pashtun insurgency in Afghanistan, while Pashtuns comprise a fifth of the Pakistan's people, friendship seems an odd choice of words. its called frenemiesAmerican policy threatens to tear Pakistan apart, and Islamabad's double-dealing is understandable under the circumstances. The only way to make Pakistan behave is to convince Islamabad that it will be torn apart if it does not accommodate American demands. Absent the threat of encirclement and dismemberment, Pakistan will do everything to avoid exacerbating what already amounts to a low-level civil war. America's strategic objective in the region - eradicating Islamist terrorists - poses an existential threat to the Pakistani state. The only way to force Pakistan to accommodate itself to American objectives is to pose an even worse existential threat.

Pakistan's pursuit of ''strategic depth'' - projecting its influence through support for Islamist groups in Afghanistan, and Kashmir, as well as terror attacks inside India - stems from weakness. As Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi writes in the Winter 2012 issue of Middle East Quarterly, ''Pakistan itself is an artificial state composed of diverse ethnic groups that are united solely by religious affiliation. Hence, fear of Pashtun and Baloch (Pakistan's largest provinces geographically) desires for autonomy or independence, together with concern about India's influence, also provides a basis for pursuing Pakistani strategic depth. For example, to suppress Baloch nationalism, the Pakistani military and intelligence have engaged in human rights abuses including the arrest and disappearance of some 8,000 Baloch activists in secret prisons.''

After three years of American strategic disengagement under the Obama administration, that has become a difficult proposition. Involving the Indian military in Afghanistan with a limited by open-ended mandate would have served notice to Islamabad that America was serious. Two years ago, Pakistani websites fluttered with rumors that India would deploy 120,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, staking a claim as America's strategic partner. It is doubtful that any such offer was on the table, but India at the time was prepared for a smaller deployment. Under present circumstances, New Delhi wants no part of an adventure that the Americans are preparing to abandon.

India simply does not trust the Obama administration to stand up for American interests in the region. China has moved into the vacuum left by American policy in Pakistan, deploying 11,000 soldiers in the Gilgat-Baltistan region of southern Kashmir. Ostensibly the Chinese are there to secure high-speed road rail links between the Chinese-built ports on Pakistan's coast and Western China, but their presence also reinforces Pakistan's control over a rebellious region. The small Chinese force, moreover, raises the stakes in any potential confrontation over Kashmir between India and Pakistan; if Chinese troops were to get in the middle of a fight, China might be drawn in on Pakistan's side. Pakistan now has two air force squadrons flying China's JF-17 ''Thunder'' jet and shortly will add a third.

After the September 13 attack on the American embassy in Kabul, the United States made belated and tentative gestures to India, including the first formal offer to sell India the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. As M K Bhadrakumar argued in this space (see Hindu art of double hedging against China, Asia Times Online, November 10), New Delhi must weigh the advantages of its strategic alignment with the United States against the fact of American strategic disengagement under the Obama administration. Whether India takes up the American offer for the F-35's depends on a number of factors, including the disappointing pace of progress in its joint development of a Fifth Generation fighter in cooperation with Russia. The F-35's though, will not change the perception that Washington is guarding its rear as it withdraws from the region.

The Obama administration has painted itself in to a corner. It cannot cajole or threaten Pakistan. On the contrary, Pakistan is threatening Washington. China's growing presence in Pakistan reduces America's capacity to punish Pakistan, for example, by withdrawing support for American-built fighter aircraft. India remains understandably cautious. And the Afghan war, as Mr. Al-Tamimi wrote in the Middle East quarterly, ''will prove at best a massive drain on US resources and lives, possibly reaching a cost of up to $100 billion a year, all for killing a few dozen al-Qaeda militants in a country whose annual gross domestic product is a mere $13 billion.''

To persuade India to align itself decisively with American interests, and China to lower its profile, the United States would have to execute a 180-degree turn. It would have to repudiate Obama's disengagement and declare its intent to remain the world's unchallenged superpower, and make this credible by investing in strategic superiority. That would require major investments in aircraft carriers, fighter aircraft, drone technology, and theater missile defense.

That is expensive, but there are other ways to economize. At the same time, America should renounce nation-building in Afghanistan and settle instead for a prolonged, if not perpetual, war of attrition against its enemies. By historical analogy, Washington should handle Afghanistan the way that Cardinal Richelieu dealt with the German Empire during the Thirty Years' War. Rather than fund a corrupt and ineffective Afghan army dominated by Tajiks, the United States should acquire Pashtun capabilities of its own; perhaps it should quietly support Pashtun and Balochi separatists operating inside Pakistan. Among other things, this is cheaper than maintaining an army of occupation. Cutting off aid to the corrupt Karzai government, moreover, will drastically reduce the cost of hiring local armies.

America's misguided attempt to stabilize Afghanistan allows Islamabad to blackmail the United States by threatening to promote instability. If the United States accepts Afghan instability as a permanent condition and uses its in-country capability to wear down its enemies in a standing civil war, it can turn the tables by threatening to export the instability to Pakistan. Pakistan has been truncated before, when it lost Bangladesh. It could happen again. The object is not to dismember Pakistan, but rather to persuade Islamabad to behave. If this seems harsh, it is worth recalling that Washington has done this sort of thing before. The Reagan administration did its best to prolong the Iran-Iraq war.

China has a general interest in limiting American power, but it also has a specific interest in forcing Pakistan to crack down on Islamist terrorism. The 100 million Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang constitute the greatest threat of a breakaway province within China's borders, and Beijing has complained that Pakistan's intelligence services are training Uyghur terrorists for infiltration into China. Islamabad, once again, is not in control over radical Islamists in its own military.

If America puts a figurative gun to the head of the Pakistani government and orders it to extirpate the radical Islamists in the military, two outcomes are possible. One is that Islamabad will succeed. The second is that it will fail, and the country will degenerate into chaos. That is the scenario the American policy is supposed to avoid at all costs, but it is hard to see why America would be worse off. If the elements of Pakistani intelligence that foster terrorism cannot be suppressed, it is clear that they are using resources of the central government to support terrorism. In the worst case, they will continue to foster terrorism, but without the resources of the central government. From America's vantage point, a disorderly collapse of Pakistan into a failed state is a better outcome than a strong central government that sponsors terrorism. At worst, a prolonged civil conflict between American-backed elements of the Pakistani military and Islamist radicals would leave the radicals weaker than they are now.

The simplest solution to the problem of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is to frighten the Pakistani army into eliminating the prospective terrorists who might use them. The second-best solution is to send the American army into Pakistan and take the nuclear weapons away. I believe Jeffrey Goldberg's and Marc Ambinder's report in The Atlantic Monthly that if the United States were to deploy troops in Pakistan to secure the country's nuclear weapons, China would raise no objections. If Islamist terrorists were to get hold of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, China would be at the top of their list of prospective targets.

Much as China might enjoy America's discomfiture in the region, American and Chinese interests converge around terrorism (and especially nuclear terrorism). Given America's present weakness, it may take some effort to iterate towards convergence with China. Threats to China's territorial integrity, though, have Beijing's undivided attention, and if America makes clear that draining the Pakistani swamp reflects support for China's efforts to preserve territorial integrity, rational self-interest will assert itself.

Spengler is channeled by David P Goldman. His book How Civilizations Die (and why Islam is Dying, Too) was published by Regnery Press in September 2011. A volume of his essays on culture, religion and economics, It's Not the End of the World - It's Just the End of You, also appeared this fall, from Van Praag Press.
163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 28, 2011, 06:51:06 PM
NATO regret not enough: Army
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army while expressing its disgust over the NATO attacks has said that it does not accept NATO's apology and that this action can lead to serious consequences, Geo News reported Monday.

According to Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas, NATO’s regret over the attack is not enough.

In a pre-dawn attack on November 26 NATO attacked a Pakistani check posts in the Mohmand Agency in which 24 soldiers were killed.

Pakis want $$, how difficult is that to understand grin
164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 28, 2011, 06:38:29 PM
Obama wont be starting a new war, this close to the elections. I think there are many in the military who know what needs to be done, but the political will is lacking. One of the reasons that the admin does not take action is because of the cold war mentality when the US sided with Pak and the USSR/Russia with India, another has to do with maintainence of parity between India and Pak. Now that China is becoming a challenge for the US, very grudgingly the US is supporting India at the expense of China (again trying to maintain balance of power).
165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 27, 2011, 05:23:10 PM

What do you make of the airstrike by the US on the two Pak outposts?  I get a sense that our generals may be looking to influence/manipulate/force the our CiC to places he may not otherwise wish to go.

Strat says that the location of the outposts was well known to the US, so its very likely a response to hostile fire. I think the US govt is quite pi$$ed at pak, so they are having a pi$$ing match. Pakis shoot across the border with pak army support, and the US decides to pulverize them.
I dont think the US has as yet reached a stage where a decision has been made to get tough with Pak. Govt officials are still confused about Pak, eg Michelle Bachman who is on the House Intelligence Services committee (I think), said wrt Pak at the last republican debate, that we need mollycoddle them and fund them because of their nukes, and that they can descend into chaos etc. We dont even have the guts to stop funding Pak, there is no question of Obama starting a new war.
166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What the generals can't say in public on: November 27, 2011, 08:30:50 AM
As a public service, Best Defense is offering this primer for generals on their way to Afghanistan.

Here is a list of 19 things that many insiders and veterans of Afghanistan agree to be true about the war there, but that generals can't say in public. So, general, read this now and believe it later-but keep your lip zipped. Maybe even keep a printout in your wallet and review before interviews.

My list of things to remember I can't say

1.Pakistan is now an enemy of the United States.

2. We don't know why we are here, what we are fighting for, or how to know if we are winning.

3.The strategy is to fight, talk, and build. But we're withdrawing the fighters, the Taliban won't talk, and the builders are corrupt.

4. Karzai's family is especially corrupt.

5. We want President Karzai gone but we don't have a Pushtun successor handy.

6.But the problem isn't corruption, it is which corrupt people are getting the dollars. We have to help corruption be more fair.

7.Another thing we'll never stop here is the drug traffic, so the counternarcotics mission is probably a waste of time and resources that just alienates a swath of Afghans.

8.Making this a NATO mission hurt, not helped. Most NATO countries are just going through the motions in Afghanistan as the price necessary to keep the US in Europe.

9.Yes, the exit deadline is killing us.

10.Even if you got a deal with the Taliban, it wouldn't end the fighting.

11.The Taliban may be willing to fight forever. We are not.

12.Yes, we are funding the Taliban, but hey, there's no way to stop it, because the truck companies bringing goods from Pakistan and up the highway across Afghanistan have to pay off the Taliban. So yeah, your tax dollars are helping Mullah Omar and his buddies. Welcome to the neighborhood.

13.Even non-Taliban Afghans don't much like us.

14.Afghans didn't get the memo about all our successes, so they are positioning themselves for the post-American civil war .
And they're not the only ones getting ready. The future of Afghanistan is probably evolving up north now as the Indians, Russians and Pakistanis jockey with old Northern Alliance types. Interestingly, we're paying more and getting less than any other player.
Speaking of positioning for the post-American civil war, why would the Pakistanis sell out their best proxy shock troops now?

15.The ANA and ANP could break the day after we leave the country.

16.We are ignoring the advisory effort and fighting the "big war" with American troops, just as we did in Vietnam. And the U.S. military won't act any differently until and work with the Afghan forces seriously until when American politicians significantly draw down U.S. forces in country-when it may be too damn late.

17.The situation American faces in Afghanistan is similar to the one it faced in Vietnam during the Nixon presidency: A desire a leave and turn over the war to our local allies, combined with the realization that our allies may still lose, and the loss will be viewed as a U.S. defeat anyway.

Thanks to several people who contributed to this, from California to Kunar and back to DC, and whose names must not be mentioned! You know who you are. The rest of you, look at the guy sitting to your right.
167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Junior officer coup coming? on: November 27, 2011, 07:32:09 AM
From B.Raman's blog..


Appearing in a talk show hosted by Suhasini Haidar of CNN-IBN on November 26,2011, I said that I never believed a coup was likely in Pakistan as a result of the Army’s anger over the so-called Memogate affair . I added that Pakistan had an independent judiciary today and that, hence, the Army would not have the confidence that it could get a coup validated by the judiciary post-facto.

2.If Suhasini were to ask me the same question today in the light of the outrage in the Pakistan Army over the reported death of 28 Pakistani troops due to a mistaken NATO airstrike on two Pakistani military posts about two kms from the Afghan border in the Mohmand Agency of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on November 26, my reply would be a little more nuanced.

3. I would still rule out a coup by senior officers headed by Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), who are quite capable of rational thinking regarding the legal and other consequences of a coup, but I would not rule out a coup by subalterns and middle level officers enraged over the failure of their senior officers and the political leadership to protect the honour of the Pakistan Army against repeated infringements by the US and other NATO forces.

4. One saw reports of such anger in the barracks over the failure of the senior military leadership to prevent the US Commando raid to kill Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad on May 2,2011.Kayani managed to control this anger with great difficulty by undertaking a tour of important military cantonments.

5. Reports received by me from Pakistani sources, who are not known to have misled me in the past, claim that one could see similar anger over the latest incident spreading across the barracks. The anger is against the US as well as against the senior leadership of the Army. The reports indicate that organisations such as the Hizbut Tehrir have been trying to fan this anger.

6.If this anger doesn’t subside, there is a danger of a successful or attempted coup in Pakistan organised by officers at middle level, who would not be bothered about the legal consequences of a coup. The Pakistan Army is a disciplined force. In its history, there has never been a successful coup by junior officers. However, there were two instances of attempted junior officers’ coup, the preparations for which were detected in time by the senior military leadership and crushed.

7. The last of them was in 1995 when Benazir Bhutto was the Prime Minister and Gen Abdul Wahid Kakkar was the COAS. A group of middle level officers headed by Brig. Zahir-ul-Islam Abbasi, fromer Defence Attache to India, joined hands with the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and planned to capture power after killing Benazir and the COAS. The plans for the coup were accidentally detected and the officers concerned arrested and court-martialled.

8. When Gen.Pervez Musharraf was in power we had seen reports of individual junior officers of the Army and the Air Force, who were angry over Musharraf’s co-operation with the US, joining hands with Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda elements in a conspiracy to have Musharraf assassinated. Their role came to notice during the investigation into the two attempts to kill Musharraf in December,2003, allegedly orchestrated by Abu Faraj at-Libbi of Al Qaeda now in the Guantanamo Bay detention centre of the US.

9. The anti-US anger in the lower and middle ranks of the Pakistan Army after the Abbottabad raid has till now been kept under control by Kayani. If the anger over the killing of 28 troops, including two officers, allegedly by NATO air strikes on Pakistani military posts in the Momand Agency is not carefully and tactfully handled by the US and the Pakistani civilian and military leadership, there is a danger of this anger getting out of control leading to a conspiracy of the junior officers.

10. If such a conspiracy is successful with the co-operation of jihadi elements, there would be a real threat of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal coming under their control. Senior Pakistani Army officers are responsible people who are quite capable of ensuring that there is no misuse of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. I do not have the same confidence about the junior officers.

11. The US-Pakistan relations are going from bad to worse--- particularly the military-military and intelligence-intelligence relationship. There is a lot of glee among many Indian analysts over it. This need not necessarily be a beneficial development for India. It is in our interest that the US retains the ability to influence the behaviour of the Pakistani military leadership.

12. The situation in Pakistan needs very close monitoring. (27-11-11)
168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 26, 2011, 04:55:01 PM
Strat  reports "An outpost, located near the Afghan border in the Mohmand Agency of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, was struck in the early morning hours of Nov. 26, reportedly by U.S. attack helicopters. The incident is remarkable for the number of deaths it caused and comes at a time of increasing tensions between the United States and Pakistan — tensions that are likely now to get worse, regardless of the results of Pakistan’s investigation into the incident.".

The paki generals have their knickers in a twist. I dont think this will die down very quickly. Pakistani H&D has been violated again, as was their sovirginity (pronounced sovereignty in USA). Looks like US forces have been given the right to retaliate hostile fire.
169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 24, 2011, 10:36:05 AM
1. Whoever coined the term "Af-Pak" deserves a lot of credit. It holds the key to a solution for the region, which the authors of the above articles seem to miss. ie the role of Pak in the afghan mess. Unless we are willing to deal with Pak, no point wasting time/money in Afghanistan. Also the person who coined "Fk-Ap", deserves a lot of credit, for elegantly explaining the situation.

2. We worry a lot about paki nukes getting into the hands of the taliban and AQ types. But in all honesty, is the paki army not already a jihadi force (their motto: Iman, Taqwa, Jihad fi Sabilillah ) to some extent, with a fraction of it being hardcore jihadi. So the real worry should be what if we have a  jihadi general holding the football, or what if that person has a death wish and wishes to pay back the Big Satan before collecting his 72 houris. I recently met someone who knows a lot about these matters, he thought that there was zero chance that the bomb could be hijacked by outside groups, but an insider could do it.

170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Palace coup unfolding on: November 17, 2011, 06:57:56 PM
For those of you wondering what this Strat snippet means...see the article below.

"Pakistan: Ambassador To U.S. Offers To Resign
November 16, 2011 | 2109 GMT         
Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani wrote a letter to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in which he offered to resign from his post because of his involvement with a memo allegedly sent from Zardari to former U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, The News International reported Nov. 16.",b=facebook

Is a Palace Coup Unfolding in Pakistan?
Posted: 11/16/11 10:36 AM ET

A palace coup could be in the offing in nuclear-armed Pakistan as pro-Taliban army generals try to undermine democratically elected civilian government of President Asif Ali Zardari.

First indications that something foul was afoot in Islamabad came on the weekend when Pakistan's top four military officials, including powerful Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani became conspicuous by their absence at a state banquet hosted by President Zardari for the visiting President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov of Turkmenistan.

For Pakistan watchers, the presence or absence of the top military leadership at events organized by a civilian government is an indication of the state of relations between the Pakistan's poweful power-hungry military and the weak civilian administration in Islamabad.

The obvious boycott of a state dinner hosted by Pakistan's president by his top generals and admirals, who are supposedly answerable to him, was not the only signal that something sinister was taking place. The absence was followed by the resignation from the ruling party by the former foreign minister, which too was suspected to have come after prodding by the military.

The latest tug of war between the government of president Zardari and his generals erupted on October 11, 2011 when the Financial Times ran an op-ed titled "Time to take on Pakistan's Jihadis."

In the article, Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American businessman, claimed he was contacted by a senior Pakistani diplomat close to President Zardari and asked to contact Admiral Mullen to prevent a military coup from taking place in Pakistan. The military was outraged and wanted heads to roll. Ijaz wrote:

"Early on May 9, a week after US Special Forces stormed the hideout of Osama bin Laden and killed him, a senior Pakistani diplomat telephoned me with an urgent request. Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan's president, needed to communicate a message to White House national security officials that would bypass Pakistan's military and intelligence channels.
The embarrassment of bin Laden being found on Pakistani soil had humiliated Mr Zardari's weak civilian government to such an extent that the president feared a military takeover was imminent. He needed an American fist on his army chief's desk to end any misguided notions of a coup - and fast."

Ijaz further claimed that a memo was drafted and delivered to Admiral Mullen on May 10.

"In a flurry of phone calls and emails over two days a memorandum was crafted that included a critical offer from the Pakistani president to the Obama administration: 'The new national security team will eliminate Section S of the ISI charged with maintaining relations to the Taliban, Haqqani network, etc. This will dramatically improve relations with Afghanistan.'"
The pro-military media in Pakistan suggested the diplomat in question was Pakistan's ambassador the U.S., former Boston University professor, Husain Haqqani --a man not liked by his country's Jihadis, whether civilian or military.

Both Admiral Mullen and Islamabad denied that any such back door diplomacy had taken place, but the denials could not put out the fire. What was ostensibly written as a critique of Pakistan's jihadi extremists in fact turned out to have the exact opposite effect. In a country where anti-Americanism is rife, the elected civilian government was made out to appear as lackeys of the U.S.

Could the writer have intended to weaken the government and strengthen the military? Mansoor Ijaz is not new to controversy. According to the International Herald Tribune's Pakistan edition, "a deeper look into Ijaz's background provides evidence that this hasn't been the first time the influential businessman has raised controversy concerning his alleged role as a secret international diplomat."

The IHT discloses that :

"In 1996, he was accused of trying to extort money from the Pakistani government in exchange for delivering votes in the US House of Representatives on a Pakistan-related trade provision. Ijaz, who runs the firm Crescent Investment Management LLC in New York, has been an interlocutor between U.S. officials and foreign government for years, amid constant accusations of financial conflicts of interest. He reportedly arranged meetings between U.S. officials and former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. He also reportedly gave over $1 million to Democratic politicians in the 1990s and attended Christmas events at former President Bill Clinton's White House. Ijaz has ties to former CIA Director James Woolsey and his investment firm partner is Reagan administration official James Alan Abrahamson."

Anywhere else a civilian diplomat warning directly or indirectly against a military coup would not be deemed wrong in itself. But in Pakistan, a civilian Prime Minister was toppled and arrested (Nawaz Sharif, in 1999 by General Musharraf) for simply trying to assert civilian control over the military. Even if Zardari and his diplomat had, as Ijaz claims, asked Ijaz to contact the American government to use its influence against a military coup, there was nothing unlawful or unconstitutional in what he did. But in Pakistan, Ijaz's claims have provoked circumstances that are threatening at least the sacking of a respected ambassador and possibly undermining civilian rule.
Knowing the workings of Pakistan's intelligence services, Ijaz's article could have been part of a plan by the ISI to destabilize Pakistani democracy once again.

On Monday, the moves by the military triggered a closed-door meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and the country's dour Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani followed by another meeting between Zardari and the Chief of Army Staff Gen. Kayani.

The generals are adamant. President Zardari has being asked to summon his ambassador to the U.S. back to Islamabad for a full dressing down by the junta. According to the Pakistani newspaper The News, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani decided on Monday to call Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan's Ambassador to Washington, to Islamabad to brief the country's leadership on a host of issues impacting on Pak-U.S. relations and recent developments."

Long before Haqqani was appointed as Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S., he had exposed the close links between the Pakistan military and the country's Islamist jihadis in his book, Pakistan: Between Mosque and the Military. For that sin, the men in boots have never forgiven the man they cannot control.

Haqqani, described by Bloomberg as the "hardest working man in DC," has been in the sights of the Pak Army and its intelligence wing, the ISI, who do not trust the academic. They fear he has exposed their attempts to double-cross the USA and as such want his skin as a price for allowing Zardari to stay in power.

The developments in Islamabad and the demand by the army to fire Haqqani should also be seen in light of the sudden rise in the profile of Pakistan's leading pro-Taliban politician, former cricketer Imran Khan. The establishment in Pakistan has run a brilliant campaign to project Khan as both a patriotic Islamist as well as a liberal. Using his Oxford background, he cultivates the ultimate anti-American modernist who has charmed the urban middle classes as the 'non-politician.'

Because of the Kerry-Lugar Bill, the army cannot overthrow an elected government as it used to do in the past, but the generals and the ISI are propping up a Khan and demanding the firing of the liberal Haqqani.

The sad part is that Islamist influence inside the U.S. State Department may result in a nod of approval to the Khakis to trigger a civilian coup. If Ambassador Haqqani is fired, can president Zardari be far behind?

171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 12, 2011, 08:45:32 PM
Karachi fashion week: male burkha coming to a street near you..

172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 05, 2011, 01:02:50 PM

Probable Future Paki leader...Imran Khan

Imran Khan and his Tehreek-e-Insaf held a mammoth rally at the Minar-e-Pakistan Lahore on 30 October 2011 - estimated by the ISI to be two-lakh strong - and put the fear of God in both the PMLN and the PPP that Imran Khan had been targeting. He pushed the familiar buttons: challenged India on Kashmir, vowed to replace the US with China as Pakistan's ally, threatened corrupt politicians with civil disobedience 'in a few months', and foresaw midterm general election after March 2012.

Imran Khan has taken big strides in putting the country on notice about his party's political potential. He says he can win elections and form governments. That is what he should say as a politician, but the fact is that a lot of people have joined him in his rallying call to get rid of both the parties more or less settled into the groove of Pakistan's bipartisan system. Imran Khan is without the usual blemish of corruption; and his charity work places him above every other politician in the country.

He has an extreme posture, or at least he had before the party profile improved and he became conscious that Insaf may get more breakaway votes than he had counted on. In one of his latest TV shows he seemed more moderate than before about relations with India and the US, about tackling terrorism and the economy. Some of the recipes were romantic but that is quite forgivable in a person who has no experience of governance, doesn't know in depth how capitalist economics works, and is simply practising the pre-election hyperbole of the normal politician.

Yet his insistence that he would extend the tax net is the right thing to say although the number of people paying income tax in India is proportionately not much bigger and that takes nothing away from India's success a country with a high growth rate. Corruption and money stashed away abroad too has not distracted positive attention to India's law and order and a much better educational system.

Will Imran Khan embrace the more aggressive version of Islam which the Taliban have showcased in the Tribal Areas by cutting hands and stoning people to death? Will he oppose hudood the way Allama Iqbal did in his Sixth Lecture? Above all will he fight the Taliban if they reject him?
Bad governance in Pakistan is not linked to corruption and the Zardari Factor; it is clearly linked to terrorism and the presence of Al Qaeda in Pakistan with its Taliban followers fighting the state. Law and order is linked to the writ of the state which is non-existent in over 50 percent of the country and in cities like Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi. Imran Khan is opposed to the US presence in the region and Pakistan's collaboration with it in Afghanistan. The solution he has in mind is that the moment the US leaves and he comes to power, terrorism will stop in 90 days because the Taliban - Pakhtun and Punjabi - will simply return to being normal non-terrorist citizens of Pakistan. He is capitulatory to the Taliban; he is denunciatory of the political parties in power.

People who are scared of Al Qaeda and Taliban don't believe Imran Khan can bring peace in 90 days. They don't believe he can collect income tax to the level he promises - one trillion rupees extra in the first year in power - and his utopian governance through 200 perfect men seems too dreamlike. The pledge of gouging money from the corrupt and putting it back in the state kitty and getting politicians to bring their money back from foreign banks has been made in the past and has been belied by reality. Today money flees and comes back if the country has a soft image and there is law and order. Will Imran Khan give Pakistan a soft image?

Bad governance in Pakistan is not linked to corruption and the Zardari Factor; it is clearly linked to terrorism and the presence of Al Qaeda in Pakistan with its Taliban followers fighting the state. Law and order is linked to the writ of the state which is non-existent in over 50 percent of the country and in cities like Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi
In his book Pakistan: A Personal History (Bantam Press 2011), Imran Khan has handed us a clue about how his mind works and that could also be the reason why his party has been organisationally so neglected. Imran imbibed a strong sense of personal destiny. He recalls: 'Pir Gi from Sahiwal said I would be very famous and make my mother a household name' (p.89). Imran had announced his first retirement when he met another clairvoyant: 'Baba Chala, lived in a little village just a few miles from the Indian border. He certainly had not heard bout my retirement...the man looked at me and said I had not left my profession...It is the will of Allah; you are still in the game' (p.93).

The man who stood by him as his spiritual mentor was Mian Bashir (d.2005) who shocked him by naming the Quranic ayat his mother used to read to baby Imran and predicted that Allah had turned the tables in his favour in the Lamb-Botham libel suit whose reparations would have pauperised Imran (p.189). Mian Bashir also disarmed a sceptical Jemima by accurately guessing her three secret wishes (p.120).

From his sense of predestination comes his risk-taking character. But he says: 'The difference between a good leader and a bad one is that the former takes huge risks while fully grasping the consequences of failure. Leaders of a country shaping policies out of fear of losing power have always proved to be disastrous. Great leaders always have the ability to resist pressure and make policies according to their vision, rather than fear' (p.113).

One wonders how he will negotiate peace with the terrorists who have an ideology and say clearly that their aim is not only to get Pakistan out of the clutches of the US but also to impose the true sharia on Pakistan. And if warlords like Maulvi Faqir and Fazlullah and Mangal Bagh don't give ground, what will he do? We know Imran Khan's view of religion apart of the deeply spiritual clairvoyants he has been relying on. But will he embrace the more aggressive version which the Taliban have showcased in the Tribal Areas by cutting hands and stoning people to death? He is clearly wedded to the vision of Allama Iqbal. Will he oppose hudood the way the Allama did in his Sixth Lecture? Above all will he fight the Taliban if they reject him?

Probably shaken by a gallup survey that puts Imran Khan at the top of the popularity roster in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Maulana Fazlur Rehman has not been able to contain himself. Quoted in daily Jinnah (29 October 2011) he has lashed out at what he thinks is an un-Islamic 'walking together' by Imran with his divorced wife Jemima Khan who joined Imran in Islamabad in his campaign against drone attacks in the Tribal Areas. He said, 'Islam forbids mixing with one's divorcee wife; and it seems as if Imran Khan's future is still linked to Jemima Khan'.

If the MMA wants to make a comeback in KPK, Imran Khan definitely is not the favourite son of the religious parties. He was once roughed up by the Jamiat although the Jamaat Islami under Qazi Hussain Ahmad looked at him with favour. (Qazi Sahib said the funeral prayer for his late father.) But it is perhaps clear that no one - in addition to the PMLN - wants Imran Khan treading on their turf. The youth Imran Khan is attracting will probably take him further away from the religious parties and force him to distance the party from the pre-modern prescriptions that are so popular in the Muslim world. (His party already believes in joint electorates.) He was ignoring the non-Muslim minorities before the big Lahore rally but the fact is that they are a vote-bank waiting for him on the sidelines. The Christian backing to Shahbaz Sharif's show in Lahore on 28 October could be the writing on the wall.

Pakistan's top Urdu columnist Haroon Rashid, who is a bit of a loose cannon when it comes to analysing 'Captain' Imran Khan, and may share with him nothing more than his passion for 'desi murghi', wrote in Jang (29 October 2011) that if Imran Khan and his companions are true (sachay), they will do vigil (riyazat) and will place their trust in Allah who will give them the blinding (kheera-kun) conquest. The decisions, he wrote, were not taken on earth but in Heaven.
173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 05, 2011, 12:52:31 PM
Thought this titbit is revealing, India unilaterally granted  MFN status to Pak 17 years ago. Apparently the paki army is against it, for increased trade and increased export of Indian goods might be destabilizing.

Pakistan: India Not Granted Most Favored Nation Status - PM

November 5, 2011
Pakistan has not granted most favored nation status to India, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, stated, adding that the Cabinet approved the Commerce Ministry to proceed with the issue during bilateral negotiations, PTI reported Nov. 5. Pakistan will move forward only if the situation is favorable and in the national interest, Gilani said.
174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 04, 2011, 07:34:57 PM
John Crosbie, a former Canadian federal cabinet minister and currently lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, joking..

"This fellow said, 'I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, social security, retirement funds, etc., I called a suicide hotline and got a call centre in Pakistan. When I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.' "
175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pak nukes vulnerable to theft on: November 04, 2011, 06:51:17 PM
Pakistan's nuclear weapons vulnerable to theft: report
(AFP) – 6 hours ago  
WASHINGTON — Pakistan has begun moving its nuclear weapons in low-security vans on congested roads to hide them from US spy agencies, making the weapons more vulnerable to theft by Islamist militants, two US magazines reported Friday.
The Atlantic and the National Journal, in a joint report citing unnamed sources, wrote that the US raid that killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in May at his Pakistani compound reinforced Islamabad's longstanding fears that Washington could try to dismantle the country's nuclear arsenal.
As a result, the head of the Strategic Plans Divisions (SPD), which is charged with safeguarding Pakistan's atomic weapons, was ordered to take action to keep the location of nuclear weapons and components hidden from the United States, the report said.
Khalid Kidwai, the retired general who leads the SPD, expanded his agency's efforts to disperse components and sensitive materials to different facilities, it said.
But instead of transporting the nuclear parts in armored, well-defended convoys, the atomic bombs "capable of destroying entire cities are transported in delivery vans on congested and dangerous roads," according to the report.
The pace of the dispersal movements has increased, raising concerns at the Pentagon, it said.
Pakistan has long insisted its nuclear arsenal is safe and the article quotes an unnamed official from the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency saying: "Of all things in the world to worry about, the issue you should worry about the least is the safety of our nuclear program."
The Pentagon declined to comment on the article but a senior US military official told reporters in Washington Friday that the United States remains confident Pakistan's nuclear weapons are secure.
"I believe the Pakistan military arsenal is safe at this time, well guarded, well defended," said the military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The article, based on dozens of interviews, said the US military has long had a contingency plan in place to disable Pakistan's nuclear weapons in the event of a coup or other worst-case scenario.
The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has for years trained for a potential "disablement campaign" that its forces would lead and that would require entering more than a dozen nuclear sites and seizing or defusing atomic weapons, it said.
The operation would use sensitive radiological detection devices that can pick up trace amounts of atomic material and JSOC has even built mock Pashtun villages with hidden mock nuclear-storage depots at a site on the East Coast to train elite Navy SEAL and Delta Force commandos, the report said.
Although Pakistan has suggested it might shift towards China and forsake its ties to Washington, Chinese officials have reached an understanding in secret talks with US representatives that Beijing would raise no objections if the United States opted to secure Pakistan's nuclear weapons, said the report, citing unnamed US sources.
176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 27, 2011, 08:06:46 PM
177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 27, 2011, 07:55:37 PM
Some snippets...
The ghosts that haunt Kayani

The military is not committed to this conflict. But it's not because of "strategic-depth" brinksmanship, nor the endgame "hedging" of the Haqqanis, not even due to India's "Cold Start" doctrine. It is because it has serious emotional baggage.

An extraordinary number of young officers killed in action since 2001 has severed the command and control structures of several frontline units for the Pakistan Army.

So let the hawks romanticise the SSG. Or the rest of the Army. Or the Rangers or the Levies or the FC or even the Coast Guards. It really doesn't matter, for the Pakistani military does not want to fight this war.

That's right. It's not news that the military is not committed to this conflict. But it's not because of "strategic-depth" brinksmanship, nor the endgame "hedging" of the Haqqanis, not even due to India's "Cold Start" doctrine. No, those are official reasons for public consumption and posturing diplomacy. They're good enough motives to influence the Pakistani military's strategic calculus, at least from its own perspective. But still, all of them are constructed and contrived reasons, conceived by khaki strategists to convince themselves, as well as others, about how things really ought to be. Thus, these are talk-show reasons. Or drawing-room reasons. Or conference-hall reasons. Not intrinsic ones.

The 'real' types of reasons - especially in paranoid, semi-failed and irrational security states - that drive or mitigate war are, always, intuitive and emotional. And the Pakistani army has serious emotional baggage when it comes to fighting this war, for it is evident all over Cherat.

This army was never ready for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations before it jumped into them, because deployment in that type of combat requires small, dynamic formations that can think independently and "on their feet"
It is in that remote mountainous cantonment where one glimpses the slivers of this Army's confused raison d'etre: A sign that points to the direction of Srinagar as well as Jerusalem; a memorial dedicated to the war-dead from 1965, embarrassingly smaller than the one dedicated to 1971; Coats of Arms of various Raj-era units, that once conquered and killed locals here, chiselled along the face of the mountains; and of course, emblazoned quotes from the Quran. And then, at the far edge of the camp, past a 30-foot mural of an SSG warrior who is declaring in Farsi,"Mun Janbaz Um" (that he is ready to give up his life), there is the Officer's Mess: A single-story structure with a view more befitting of a millionaire's Swiss chalet than the haunt of men who command an elite, third-world military formation.

But once inside, along the walls of the main hall, all you see are the ghosts of battles past.

Photographs, of each and every SSG officer killed in action, adorn the rich teak panelling. The pictures go around the room, about the size of any upper-class Pakistani foyer, covering almost three of the four walls. A few of the images, from the early wars, are black and white. The rest of them, from newer, more familiar conflicts, are in colour. Among the artificial swords, antique rifles, and a cheap oil landscape of Shaitan Taikri (a jagged outpost in the Ali-Barangsa sector on the Line of Actual Control in Siachen) there are a whole lot more of these fresh, framed fatalities.

Image analysts would have a field day in this SSG shrine. Some of the officers lost in earlier battles are clean-shaven, with a debonair and dapper English country-gentleman look to them. Then come the moustaches of the '70s. Then the beards of the Siachen era. But then, a notable pattern begins. Younger officers. Older officers. Lots of them. All killed in the War on Terror. Very, very recently.

In his phantom punching that aimed at preempting the Clinton visit's agenda, General Kayani said many things in his GHQ meeting with our parliamentarians last week. He postured: "They [the US] will have to think ten times [before attacking] because Pakistan is not Iraq or Afghanistan". He bluffed: "If anyone convinces me that everything will be sorted out if we act in North Waziristan, I will take immediate action". He even got to play statesman-in-chief: "For short-term gains, we cannot lose [sight of] our long-term interests [in Afghanistan]".

But then, the general appealed.

Citing a staggering statistic, Gen Kayani let us into what's really beginning to haunt his institution: That the army has suffered 12,829 casualties since 2001, including 3,097 killed, with what the New York Times reports as an "unusually high ratio of one officer killed for every 16 soldiers since it [the Pakistan army] began fighting the Taliban".

This is critical. Like him or not, agree with him or not, but if you just believe Gen Kayani's math, then it means the Pakistan Army has lost almost 194 officers in this conflict. As the average strength of a Pakistani infantry battalion (primarily the type of unit deployed in forward areas and that most prone to casualties) is about 900 men, with around 10 or so of them being officers, then Kayani's accounting means his army has lost enough enlisted men to completely wipe out more than three entire battalions (that's one brigade) and incapacitate 14 or so battalions (almost 5 brigades). But the real problem is that the army has lost enough officers to decapitate around 20 battalions; a shocking, disturbing statistic, especially for an institution that has been documented to be thoroughly weaved together through fraternal, kinship, tribal and legacy connections, and where the officer calls all the shots - on and off the field.

If they have weren't already been briefed by Munter's defence analysts about this on their trip, then Clinton, Petraeus, Dempsey et al should think hard what they dealing with. Sure, the intransigence to not commit to combat from the Pakistan Army has many 'larger' reasons, but the root cause may well be morale - the toughest factor to quantify for battle - or lack of it.

In an elitist army where many officers are related to each other, and where the commander-centric modules of conventional training ensure that units are highly dependent on officers to lead them, it's a safe bet to assume two things: One, that almost all of Pakistan's top brass have lost an officer they know and/or are related to, or work directly with someone in uniform who has. And two, that Pakistan's undertrained and underequipped soldiers are increasingly leaderless in battle.

After due sympathies and respect for such a tremendous loss, it must be stressed that this is the Army's own fault. The policy decision to commit troops in FATA etc has been debated too often, so let it be a forgone conclusion that the Pervez Musharraf/ Ehsan-ul-Haq/ Ashfaq Kayani/ Nadeem Taj/ Shuja Pasha-led GHQ-ISI combine made some questionable strategic and operational decisions in the last decade.

Just focus on what really went wrong in FATA operations for the army: a top-heavy institution that has for decades trained for conventional war with India, expecting its officers to mostly lead all formations - small and large - into battle, and thus (much like it's colonial-era predecessor) heavily invested in the "thinking and doing" capacity of its officers versus just the "doing" potential of its soldiers.

That is where the army's extraordinarily high officer-to-soldier losses have come in. This army was never ready for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations before it jumped into them, for deployment in that type of combat requires small, dynamic formations that can think independently and "on their feet". As our enlisted men have always been treated for the initiative-lacking, "Allah-u-Akbar" swearing, soldiers that they essentially are, the need to achieve viable objectives has forced the army to thrust its officers to over-commit in frontline deployments they've never trained for either. As more of these ranks have been killed - over-exposed by 'leading from the front' operations and/or increasingly 'target killed' by selective snipers - internally, for the Army's officer corps, this means more brothers, cousins, nephews and in-laws are also dead.

So, for the Pakistan Army, this war is questionable. Not just strategically. Nor economically. Not even religiously. But more than any other reason, existentially. Thus, the SSG warrior's mural in Cherat lied: He might be ready to give life in battle...But he doesn't really want to fight this war.

The writer is a former Shorenstein Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and a broadcast/online journalist. He can be reached at and @wajskhan on Twitter
178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 24, 2011, 08:35:35 PM
I listened to the original video. karzai clearly makes those statements in hindi/urdu. After making those statements, he abruptly switches to english for the remainder of the interview. I think Karzai is panicking, the rabbani and other assasinations are striking home, the US will leave soon, he has signed security accords with India, he needs to get on the right side of the ISI, afterall many still remember the fate of najibullah.
179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 23, 2011, 11:10:57 AM
Here's a solution to pak (that I have proposed earlier!), by B.Raman.

The indicators from reliable sources in Pakistan are that the just-concluded visit ( October 21,2011) of Mrs.Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to Pakistan at the head of a high-power delegation including the new incumbents to the important posts of Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),David Petraeus, failed to have the necessary impact on the military as well as civilian leadership.

2. What she was expecting was a clear commitment from the Pakistani leadership with a time-bound plan of operation to neutralise the sanctuaries of Al Qaeda and the Haqqani network, an arm of the Afghan Taliban, in the Pashtun belt in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)---particularly in North Waziristan.

3. The Pakistani civilian and military leaders were as evasive as ever and the Army headed by Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), avoided making any commitment on this issue despite cautions emanating from identified and unidentified sources in Washington regarding the likely punitive consequences of continued Pakistani inaction against the terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistani territory from which, according to the US, attacks are launched against NATO and Afghan targets in Afghan territory.

4. As the US moves towards the Presidential elections next year, the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations of the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan have been stalling on the ground. Spectacular decapitation strikes against high-value targets through pilotless Drone aircraft and commando actions such as the one that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2 last have not produced any major qualitative change in the ground situation.

5. Successful decapitation strikes need time to produce results on the ground situation. The Obama Administration wants quick results that would enable it to start thinning out the US troop presence in Afghanistan well before next-year’s elections when Mr.Obama will be seeking re-election.

6. Such quick results in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations come only from successful strikes against terrorist sanctuaries and other infrastructure on the ground through a mix of air and ground actions. Such a mix facilitated the elimination of OBL in Abbottabad, but it is difficult to repeat it against widely-scattered terrorist infrastructure.

7. The US faces a dilemma because it does not have the stomach for sustained ground operations by its forces in Pakistani territory. Any ground operation by the US forces that is confined to North Waziristan alone would not produce enduring results because the entire Pakistan---its tribal belt as well as the non-tribal hinterland--- provides a strategic depth to the Afghan Taliban, including its Haqqani network.

8. The cruel reality is that without the co-operation of the Pakistan Army, the US is not in a position to mount a successful counter-sanctuary operation in Pakistani territory. The Pakistan Army has a clear understanding of the limitations to the ground action capabilities of the US in Pakistani territory. Such limitations do not arise from Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal as it is generally presumed. They arise from the nature of the tribal belt and the vast non-tribal hinterland.

9. There are no quick answers to the operational dilemma faced by the US in Pakistan. The US has to realise that Pakistan as constituted presently will continue to keep coming in the way of the over-all strategic objectives of the US in the Af-Pak region. Unless the Pakistani capabilities are weakened, there is going to be no enduring solution to the US dilemma in Pakistan. Economic and military sanctions alone will not weaken Pakistan’s capabilities in view of the assistance that would be forthcoming to Pakistan from China and Saudi Arabia.

10. The only enduring way of weakening the capability of Pakistan is to work strategically for changing the very nature of Pakistan as it is constituted presently by identifying friendly elements in Pakistan such as the Balochs, the Mohajirs and the Shias and helping them in achieving their objective of freeing themselves from the control of the Pakistani Army. What he is saying is that Balochistan, Sindh, and some Parts of Pashtoonistan should be encouraged to become free !

11. These three elements have been struggling on their own, but they have not made much headway due to lack of external support and absence of strategic unity amongst them. If they can be persuaded to come together in a Southern Alliance and struggle jointly and if their political objectives are supported by the outside world---the US particularly—one may see the beginning of the process of weakening the capability of the Pakistani Army to stand in the way of peace and stability in the region.

12. The time has come for a clear realisation that Pakistan as constituted presently is the problem in the region and that unless the non-radical sections of the Pakistani society are helped to assert themselves, no enduring solution would be possible. ( 23-10-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:

180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 22, 2011, 04:35:14 PM
Post by V.Sood, ex Chief of India's spy agency.

The Nature of Our Neighbour
One was reasonably sure many years ago that Osama was hiding in Pakistan, most probably in the Abbottabad area. Pakistan authorities, however, consistently denied Osama's presence in their country.

But, as it embarrassingly turned out, Osama was living with his family, along with an entire terrorist and communication paraphernalia. This was despite the country's ubiquitous intelligence machinery with its close contacts with the terrorist underworld.

If Islamabad did not know, then its is clear that the terrorists there are running out of control. If Islamabad did know, then it obviously chose not to disclose the information and assist the US in its effort against terrorism. This was either a strategic decision of the rulers for use of assets later, or a tactical decision to keep the ultra radicals at bay. Both underscore a natural desire to play the terror card.

House of terror: Pakistan authorities had repeatedly denied Osama's
presence in their country, even as he lived a short distance away from
the country's capital.

Pakistan is to try Dr Afridi, who is suspected to have given information to the US, which led to the famous SEAL assault on May 2 and the subsequent death of Osama. Is it treason to help the US find the world's most wanted terrorist? It was rather a service that he did to the US and the world. Yet, the attitude is that not helping the US find Osama was an act of supreme loyalty by the ISI and the Pakistan Army.

These are unfortunate directions Pakistan is taking, egged on by an increasingly intolerant section that is strident, violent, and at times vicious. Just looking at photographs of thousands of Islamists protesting against the sentencing of Salman Taseer's killer, juxtaposed with the news that 13 innocent Shias were taken off a bus, lined and killed in cold blood by Sunni radicals, has a chilling effect. It is not that radicalism spreads in one massive tsunami. It creeps in slowly and all it takes is a few good men to keep quiet for the virus to spread. It happens when a small child is accused of blasphemy for misspelling, when Ahmedi children are banned from attending school, or when religious laws that discriminate against women are espoused.

Why is it that Pakistan chooses to behave in a manner that has made it an international pariah with a broken economy and a rundown social structure that can't give its young the gift of modern education, but subjects them to the medieval obscurantism of many madrassas? Soon after its birth, Pakistan was naturally anxious to make its formation a success. Its mistake was to perennially seek equality with India. Since then it has boxed above its weight. It decided to play its locational card with the West. It offered its territory for US Cold War objectives, then for the Afghan jihad and then again, ostensibly against terrorism. Pakistan's leaders also learnt that delinquency could be rewarding, so they either played the victim or spread terror, assured protection by the country's status as a nuclear power.

The West, especially the US has continued its policy of coddling Pakistan. What were considered startling accusations by the outgoing American Chief of Joint Staff Admiral Mullen 10 days ago, are already being watered down. True, there are many Pakistani men and women who shudder at the direction their country is taking. It is also true that there are far more in Pakistan who believe in the ideology of the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba that promises ultimate and global Islamic dominance.

The only thing they dislike is violence against Pakistanis. The main worry in India is not that Pakistan will use the nuclear bomb; the main worry is that it will continue to use militias like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba as a veritable arm of the Pakistan Army whose own motto is 'jihad f'isb illah' (jihad in the name of Allah). Our fear should be that hordes of militant believers could be let loose by their mentors. If a country's rulers can be duplicitous with their benefactor there is very little reason to believe they will not do likewise or worse with their 'sworn enemy'.

The writer is former chief of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)
181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 22, 2011, 04:15:58 PM
An excellent if longish post on the US-Pak history/relationship.

The US-Pakistan Conundrum
A conundrum is a paradoxical, insoluble or a difficult problem, a dilemma. The relationship that the US has had with Pakistan for sixty years now fits that description perfectly like a T. When the arch-enemy, the Indian Government, paradoxically said on October 20 that the US and Pakistan must heal their rift, it spoke volumes of how much that relationship has deteriorated. That also reminded one that the wheel had come a full circle since the mid 1950s. Today, there is talk of the US sending its soldiers inside Pakistan to take the fight into the den of the terrorists. Ms. Clinton has openly said in Kabul that it would happen if needed. She has backed-up her threat by amassing troops across the border in Afghanistan. In Pakistan itself, she said, "you cannot keep snakes in your backyard and expect they will only bite the neighbours". She has also demanded that Pakistan take action “not [in] months and years, but days and weeks", thus setting a deadline which has hitherto not been the case. In turn, Gen. Kayani threatens the US with nuclear weapons and warns the US that it should think ten times before making any such decision. For his part, the Pakistani Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar warns the US of 'Pakistani patience with the US running out' ! Whether these are the usual Pakistani bluster to appear brave before the masses or not will be known shortly.

Leading think-tanks and strategic analysts in the US have asked their President to freeze aid to Pakistan and to recognize the fact that the obstacle to peace in the region is indeed Pakistan. The continuing and intensifying war of words between the two countries mean only one thing. A flurry of meetings in the last one year between military and political head honchos of both the countries has been unable to narrow, let alone seal, the rift. On the other hand, the rift has only widened further this year due to incidents such as Raymond Davis, Osama bin Laden, revelation of identities of CIA station chiefs in Pakistan, assassination of Rabbani, Kabul embassy attack, Wardak Chinook attack, proof of collusion between the ISI and Haqqani, tipping off the Taliban engaged in bomb-making activities after receiving intelligence from the US etc. Even a very indulgent US - indulgent towards Pakistan, that is - has been forced to take a serious note of these developments. Why should there be such a downturn in their relationship ? After all, the US military and economic aid to Pakistan since the 1950s is mind-boggling. Let us look at the quantum of this aid to realize what we are talking about.

Pakistan’s sole obsession from Aug. 14, 1947 has been India. With this in mind, Pakistan approached the US for arms support as early as October, 1947, but the Truman administration already weighed down by developments in Europe and Korea could not accede to the request. In May 1950 during the state visit by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan to the US, the request was revived. In the late 40s and during the 50s, it was the expedience of preventing the scourge of communism from spreading that prompted the Baghdad Pact (later to become SEATO in c. 1954) and CENTO (signed in c. 1955)to be formulated. Pakistan was a member of both and also had a special "Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement" with the Eisenhower administration in the US in 1954. It was, inter alia, to "preserve and maintain the integrity of Pakistan" and agreed to take "appropriate action, including the use of armed forces, as may be mutually agreed upon . . . in order to assist the Government of Pakistan at its request.". While the US was led to believe that that clause was needed with Communism knocking at the doors of Pakistan from Sinkiang (Xinjiang) in the East and a weak and troubled Afghanistan in the West, Pakistan's calculus was to use this friendship in its fight against India. The US ambassador to Pakistan, James Langley, said in c. 1957, “The present military program is a hoax, the hoax being that it is related to the Soviet threat”. As India feared, the arms were indeed used against India and there was no single occassion to use them against the Communists. Similarly, Pakistan never helped the US in its anti-Communism drive. When Gen. McArthur demanded a brigade of Pakistani troops to be deployed in Korea under the US command after the Armistice was signed there, Pakistan cleverly avoided that.

India deeply resented this arrangement and the US spurned India’s justified concerns through subterfuge and diplomatese. Gen. Ayub Khan wanted to completely equip the existing five-and-a-half Divisions of the Pakistani Army with modern US weapons and looked up to a largesse from the US for the same. He also wanted to add more strength by recruiting an additional 56000 soldiers, comprising of an additional Infantry division, a new para Brigade, conversion of the Independent Armoured Brigade into a Division. During the period between c. 1954 and 1965, the US completely equipped the five-and-a-half divisions of Pakistani Army besides gifting it with six squadrons of fighter aircraft, twelve ships to the Pakistani Navy, modernization of Karachi and Chittagong ports, and technical support and training for the Pakistani armed forces. In the 60s, the US gifted Pakistan with the then state-of-the-art M-47/M-48 Patton tanks, F-104 Starfighters, B-57 bombers, and F-86 Sabre fighters (about a hundred and later augmented by another 70 received through West Germany over a token US objection and flown in via Iran), long-distance radars, helicopters, frigates and the submarine Ghazi. Emboldened, Pakistan immediately attacked India in c. 1965. Thirty four years later, the same Pakistani-US scenario played all over again in Kargil, when arms that were supplied to Pakistan under the garb of fighting terror on Pakistan’s western front were used against India instead.

The same US-Pakistan supply-demand scenario re-appeared after 9/11 when the US entered into a new defence relationship with Pakistan by designating that country as a ‘Major Non-NATO Ally’ (MNNA) in c. 2004. Under this rubric, it then supplied arms to Pakistan ostensibly to fight the Taliban/Al Qaeda terrorists who were operating out of mud houses and caves in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. This was so even in circa 2008 by which time the US-Pakistan co-operation in the Global War on Terror (GWOT) steam had run out and the US was attacking inside Pakistan at will. Only this time, most of the kind of arms supplied were not usable against these terrorists. These were items like 250 Armour piercing TOW 2A Anti-tank missiles, Excalibur Precision Guided Munitions (PGMs), eight Aerostat radars, six AN-TPS77 surveillance radar, 5600 military radio sets, 500 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, 200 AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles, 36 F-16 Block 52s, mid-life upgrade to 34 existing F-16 A/Bs to C/D block 50/52, 8 P-3C maritime reconnaissance aircraft, mid-life upgrade to existing P-3 fleet, modernization of the Shahbaz Airbase (Jacobabad), 26 Bell 412 helicopters, 39 T-37 military trainer jets, 150 submarine/surface/air launched Harpoon Block II missiles, six Phalanx Close In Weapon Systems (CIWS) for the Navy, five refurbished SH-2I Super Seasprite maritime helicopters etc. The US is also to provide Pakistan with three additional P-3 aircraft that will be configured with the E-2C HAWKEYE airborne early warning electronics suite. Later, in c. 2009, the US complained that its P-3C and Harpoon missiles have been converted for attacking India. Since the start of Afghan operations in c. 2002, the US had supplied other arms like 115 155mm Self-propelled M109A5 howitzers, 20 AH-1 Cobra Attack helicopters, upgrades to existing older versions of AH-1 Cobras, 6 C-130Hs, transfer of 8 Perry-class guided missile Frigates upgraded with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, five fast patrol boats, 450 vehicles for Frontier Corps, hundreds of NVGs, thousands of protective vests, 12 Shadow drones, Harris high frequency communication sets, and undisclosed special weapons. In c. 2010, it gave Pakistan 18 new F-16 aircraft which the US Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jeffry Glenn said “would give the Pakistan Air Force greatly expanded capabilities in its fight against ‘radical elements’ in the border region.” The US also delivered 1,000 MK-82 500-pound bombs to Pakistan which were later outfitted with 700 GBU-12 and 300 GBU-10 Paveway laser-guided bomb kits built by Lockheed and Raytheon, allowing the country’s air force a better targeting of the weapons. In addition, the International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme had been revived after c. 2002, and significant number of officers from Pakistan Army have attended these programmes. “We must continue to reassure Pakistan that as it combats the terrorist threat, it is not exposing itself to increased risk along its eastern border,” said Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Michele Flournoy while explaining why the United States needed to strengthen Islamabad’s conventional defence systems as well. “Although extremist attacks have led to the repositioning of substantial Pakistani forces, Pakistan’s strategic concerns about India remain pre-eminent”. The import of these statements was revealed by an exposed cable by the WikiLeaks wherein the US Ambassador in Pakistan, Ms. Anne W Patterson justified another USD 1.5 Billion to Pakistan to provide for its ‘national defense’ against the ‘threat from India’. In October 2010, the US decided to grant USD 2 Billion worth of arms to Pakistan, spread over a five year period.

The economic aid is equally mind-boggling. Even at the official level, the US-Pakistan relationship is contingent upon the massive aid that the Pakistanis have received ever since Eisenhower decided to establish a close relationship with that country. In the period between circa 1954 and 2002, the US had provided Pakistan with overt aid amounting to USD 12.6 Billion. In the period after 9/11, between circa 2002 and 2007, the US aid was over 9 Billion USD (USD 4.586 billion as reimbursement for assistance to Op Enduring Freedom (launched Oct. 7, 2001) and USD 4.422 Billion as economic and military assistance). The Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act (or PEACE Act, 2009 or Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act or also known as Enhanced Partnership Act 2009), assured USD 1.5 Billion of economic aid every year for five years. All these are in addition to the Direct Military Aid from the Pentagon which is on top of the equipment that Pakistan receives through normal foreign military sales (FMS) overseen by the State Department. Those sales vary year to year but generally total around $300 million annually. A special counterinsurgency fund approved by Congress earlier in c. 2009 gave the Pentagon the authorisation to speedily deliver military equipment to the Pakistan Army. In addition, Pakistan gets reimbursed annually USD 1.6 Billion for the logistical and military support it provides to the US (the Coalition Support Fund). The US also offers Pakistan annually another aid of USD 700 million to fight Al Qaeda and Taliban on its soil (the Counter Insurgency Capability Fund). It later emerged that all these funds were misused by the Government of Pakistan. Besides these two funding options, the US offers a series of other funds: Foreign Military Financing (FMF), International Military Education and Training (IMET), International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, Non-proliferation Anti-Terrorism, De-mining & Related. The US uses the FMF to maintain close contacts with the Pakistani military and as a ‘foundation for bilateral security relationship’. After 26/11, the US decided to increase its FMF assistance to Pakistan to USD 400 Million a year for five more years. This was expected to demonstrate the US commitment to Pakistan and affirm its reliability as a partner. This was also expected to address, among other security needs, its “growing conventional disadvantage vis-à-vis India,” in order to secure its cooperation in the “war on terror.” ‘ Pakistan also owes the various lending organizations directly controlled by the US such as IMF, IBRD, ADB etc. over 20 Billion US Dollars. Overall, by 2006, Pakistan’s foreign debts had declined from US$ 47.8 Billion to US$ 30.3 Billion, solely due to US waivers and other interventions. Only in c. 2009, did the Americans attach stringent conditionalities on how these funds were to be spent by Pakistan. One of the conditions was to make sure that the funds were not squandered or diverted to affect the “balance of power in the region”. In any case, the total US overt aid to Pakistan in c. 2010 amounted to well over USD 4.5 Billion.The quantum of the covert aid is unknown.

Apart from military and economic aid,
the political and diplomatic support given by the US to Pakistan has been phenomenal. The US took a hostile stand against India in the J&K issue in the United Nations. Later, the US extended a similar support to Pakistan's policies with respect to Afghanistan after the 1989 Geneva Accord. The US also turned a blind eye to Pakistan's overt and covert support to jihadi terrorists against India. In fact, the US even helped Pakistani terrorism against India in the Punjab when its Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) helped these terrorists. The US has also baled out Pakistan from tight spots it brought upon itself in pursuit of its truculent and obstreperous hostility with India, such as in Kargil or Op. Parakram or the 1993 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, for example. Above all these, the US allowed Pakistan to acquire nuclear weapons and their delivery platforms through China and North Korea and allowed Pakistani scientists and engineers to shop for critical dual-use components all over Europe and the US, by turning a blind eye and even lying to its own Congress much against accumulated intelligence. This single act, more than anything else, has been a monumental folly of the US Administrations. Ms. Clinton's reference yesterday in Islamabad to 'snakes in the backyard', while true for Pakistan, is also therefore true for the US because the very same Pakistan that it nurtured with tactical brilliance and strategic stupidity is now threatening the US with nuclear attacks !

No other nation has given so much aid to Pakistan keeping its head bob over the swirling waters without drowning, for six decades now. Not even their extremely wealthy ummah brethren, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The 'taller-than-the-tallest mountain, sweeter-than-the-sweetest-honey and deeper-than-the-deepest-ocean all weather friend' China does not dispense with hard cash and helps Pakistan only on a project-by-project basis and when that would be beneficial to it also. And, yet, Pakistan has been singularly ungrateful to the US. It was petulant when the US decided to offer a moderate amount of military aid to India after the Chinese aggression in c. 1962. It abused the US when the US decided to cut-off military aid to Pakistan [and India too] in c. 1965 after war broke out between the two countries following Pakistani aggression. The mobs attacked the US consulates in Karachi and Lahore as a result of state orchestrated campaign against the perceived US betrayal. The US Embassy in Islamabad was burned down in November 1979 on a mere rumour of US forces occupying Makkah even as Gen. Zia-ul-Haq deliberately delayed rushing any assistance to the trapped Americans inside. He also accused the Americans themselves by saying, "according to some international radio transmissions, the Americans had inspired the attack" !

A discussion of Pakistan is utterly incomplete without talking about India because of the equation that Pakistan had unsuccessfully sought to make with its 'motherland' after the partition and the paranoia about India that the Pakistani establishment has successfully created in the minds of Pakistanis and until recently in Western minds as well. That obsession with India alone can explain the 'ungratefulness' of the whole nation of Pakistan to the US after receiving so much aid and support spread over six decades. The US, after its WW II success, has followed the 'with us or against us' policy ruthlessly. It has also always acted according to the inputs of the UK in matters pertaining to the Indian subcontinent assuming that the British knew the best about this region. A major reason for that was Sir Olaf Kirkpatrick Caroe who was the Governor of NWFP and later the last foreign secretary of the British Raj. He was very hostile to the Congress government in NWFP and reportedly organized the opposition to Nehru when he visited there and ensured NWFP’s joining with Pakistan. Olaf Caroe told the Americans in the 1950s that the operations in Mesopotamia (Iraq) in WW I and in Iran in WW II were made possible from bases in Imperial India and with the independence of India he suggested replacing Imperial India with Pakistan. The British really expected India to fragment and so needed a stable country to thwart the southward expansion of communism and protect the oilfields of the Middle East. Francis Tucker, the last General Officer-Commanding of the British Indian Eastern Command, believed that the creation “of a new Muslim power supported by the science of Britain” would “place Islam between Russian Communism and Hindustan.” Hinduism was thought too weak because of its “superstition and formalism” and therefore an easy prey to a "philosophy such as Communism”. It was therefore deemed necessary by the British to place “Islam between Russian Communism and Hindustan”. They also needed a fuelling/transit point for flights to Far East. The British also had little faith that Indian leaders will accept the British hegemony after Independence whereas a Pakistan created with the goodwill of the British, will remain grateful to them. They also wanted to protect the ‘wells of power’ as Sir Olaf Caroe called the discovery of oil in the Middle East.

Thus, the Great Game was continued by the USA which promptly co-opted a more than willing Pakistan into various defence treaties by c. 1955. India, which refused to be drawn into superpower politics and wished to remain non-aligned with either power block, was alarmed by the axis of Pakistan and the USA and sought to restore the balance by seeking and getting help from the USSR even though it neither subscribed to Communism nor it joined the Soviet-bloc of countries. India's non-alignment was characterized as 'immoral' by Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles of the Eisenhower administration. This perception continued throughout the Cold War and was accentuated by India's counter moves to court the Soviet Union to balance the deep nexus US-Pakistan. Also, Nehru’s attempts at forging third world solidarity and his unmasked revulsion of the United States added fuel to the American (f)ire. Nehru declared in c. 1960, “The future destiny of the world cannot be decided by two or three great powers. We stand looking at the crest of tremendous changes in the world. We are not mere onlookers there. We are actors in this drama and we propose to be actors in it in our own way”. In addition to all these factors, two more important factors helped shape the US policies in the region: cultural and religious. The Indians were characterized as 'effeminate Hindus' while the Pakistanis were thought of as belonging to 'martial race' and fiercely passionate about their religion.

One can easily see therefore that the alliance between Pakistan and the US was flawed right from the beginning because there was never a convergence of fundamental strategic interest between the two nations; it was based on a faded Imperial power's spurious visions for itself; it was transactional because the exigencies of situations demanded that and when these exigencies disappeared the US-Pakistan relationship also quickly fell apart only to be revived all over again when the next situation arose; Pakistan always wanted the US-Pakistan relationship to be directed against India as a zero-sum game which a superpower could not accede to against a large democracy and a powerful country like India.

If only the US would do two things now, Pakistan would immediately put its relationship with the US back on the rail. They are, accord primacy to Pakistan in evolving a solution to the Afghanistan issue accepting it unquestioningly, and curtail Indian involvement in Afghanistan drastically, nil if possible.
Posted by Pak-Watch at 8:18 PM 
182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 17, 2011, 07:08:26 PM
The pakis characterize chinese friendship  as "deeper than oceans and higher than mountains". The Chinese are however quite smart and keep the pakis at a distance. I remember reading somewhere that they are now India's largest trading partner (overtaken the US) with further increases in trade every year. The Chinese are not going to jeopardize that for Pak.

Unlike the US, the Chinese dont believe in providing the pakis with free $$. All their projects go to Chinese companies, who then install eg power stations, build railways, tunnels etc. So the money indirectly comes back to the Chinese in a significant way. Just as pak extorts protection money from the western world and India, it does the same from the chinese (muslim separatists). Pak providing the Chinese access to Gwadar port is meaningless because the security of transit of goods to China cannot be ensured.

China supports Pak, so that India is kept bleeding, but nothing serious. All this Chinese support of Pak has resulted in India strengthning its airforce, military and navy. China has the next year or two to attack India, but after that the window closes as India's military is modernizing quite rapidly.

Furthermore, if Pak is adopted by the Chinese, the result will be to drive India into US arms, something the Chinese fear.
183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 05, 2011, 07:57:34 PM
Life is cheap, electricity is expensive.. grin

'Good' Taliban leader threatens suicide attacks against electric company
By BILL ROGGIOOctober 5, 2011 8:20 AM

A so-called "good Taliban" leader in North Waziristan threatened to carry out suicide attacks against two officials from Pakistan's Tribal Electric Supply Company if the utility does not turn the power back on in the tribal agency. The report, from The News, is republished in full below:

A senior Taliban commander and administrator of a religious seminary in North Waziristan, Maulana Abdul Khaliq Haqqani, on Monday threatened to send suicide bombers to eliminate two officials of the Tribal Electric Supply Company (Tesco) if they did not restore power supply to Waziristan within 48 hours.
The Taliban leader issued a strong-worded statement to media against the Tesco officials and also warned tribal journalists of dire consequences if his statement did not appear in their respective papers.

Maulana Abdul Khaliq Haqqani, the administrator of Gulshan-e-Ilm Madrassa in Miramshah, directed his fighters to kidnap the two officials, Tesco regional chief Pervaiz Khan and Executive Engineer Jamshed Ali Khan, and bring them to North Waziristan where they would be given exemplary punishment for their failure to ensure power supply to Waziristan.

He directed the Taliban of Darra Adamkhel and Mohmand Agency, led by Commander Tariq Afridi and Maulvi Omar Khalid, respectively, to kidnap the two senior Tesco officials.

Taliban operating in Darra Adamkhel and Mohmand Agency are known for their brutality and ruthlessness among their fellow tribal militants.

Haqqani said he would then send his suicide bombers to eliminate them if they did not restore power supply to the tribal region.

He said he had obtained complete details and addresses of the two officials and his fighters would soon target them there.

I would give cash rewards to my fighters if they kill Pervaiz Khan and Jamshed Ali Khan in front of their house and I will claim responsibility for their killings, the Taliban commander said in the statement that he personally delivered to reporters here, with a warning of serious consequences if his statement was not given space in the newspapers.

Read more:
184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 02, 2011, 04:58:50 PM
With Baraq backpeddalling about Mullen's testimony...
Gilani claims 'victory' in stand-off with USA
2 October 2011
Press Trust of India
ISLAMABAD, 2 OCT: Prime Minister Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani has claimed “victory” in the recent stand-off with the USA, saying he has received a message from Washington that America needs Pakistan's support to win the war on terror.
Mr Gilani made the remarks while addressing a gathering in Bili Wala near his hometown of Multan in Punjab province yesterday, amidst tensions between Islamabad and Washington over ISI-Haqqani network links.
“It is due to the all parties' conference as well as the unity of Pakistan's political leaders that the USA has sent a message that they need Pakistan and that they cannot win the war (against terrorism) without Pakistan,” he said.
“They have also distanced themselves from the statement of (former US military chief Admiral Mike) Mullen. This is the victory of the Pakistani nation, political parties and the government's policy of reconciliation,” he said.
He did not say when the message was conveyed to Pakistan.
The successful holding of the meeting of all political parties on Thursday was testimony to the fact that the people are united on the issue of Pakistan's security and defence, he remarked.
“We will never allow anyone to harbour bad thoughts about Pakistan's security. We do not desire war and want peace in the country and beyond. Pakistan can play an important role in peace and we will do it,” Mr Gilani said.
Pakistan is ready to hold talks with everyone for peace and can go to any extent to achieve this objective, he said.
“All the country's political forces stand shoulder to shoulder for Pakistan's security interests,” he said. Pakistan-US ties had plunged to a fresh low after Mullen accused the ISI of backing the Haqqani network in carrying out terror attacks in Afghanistan.
185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 02, 2011, 04:54:40 PM

ISI has been implicated...

Afghan president Hamid Karzai says a Pakistani was responsible for last month's assassination of former president and High Peace Council chairman Burhanuddin Rabbani.

Mr Karzai released a statement blaming an insurgent from Pakistan for the murder of Professor Rabbani as he reviewed Afghanistan's peace process.

It added that the death was plotted in Quetta and the killer had been living in Chaman, a Pakistani border town near Quetta.

The statement also quoted investigators as saying: "Documents and evidence together with the biography, address and phone numbers of suspects involved in the incident have been submitted to the government of Pakistan in order to arrest and hand them [other suspects] over."

Many Afghans are suspicious of Pakistan's connections to the Taliban-led insurgency in their country but the statement was the strongest yet to suggest a Pakistani link to Professor Rabbani's killing.

Professor Rabbani, chairman of Mr Karzai's High Peace Council, was killed by a turban suicide bomber at his home in Kabul on September 20.

He had thought that he was meeting a representative carrying a special message from the Taliban.

The statement came hours after Mr Karzai was reviewing his strategy for peace with the Taliban in the wake of Professor Rabbani's killing.

186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 02, 2011, 04:29:52 PM
Opinion: Turning to the Haqqanis, Pakistan has made its choice
The ISI’s ties to an insurgent network undermine any hope of real cooperation with the US
By Keith Yost
September 30, 2011

It’s difficult for me to add more than what I’ve already written in “While Karachi Slowly Burns” (Sept. 10, 2010), or “Mission Accomplished” (May 6, 2011). Pakistan is a state with a major security problem — India — and two mutually-exclusive strategies to deal with that problem: a stable security partnership with the United States, or an increasing reliance on jihadi proxies. The former is a realistic path, as Pakistan and the United States have considerable mutual interests, while the latter is a monumental blunder, built on the quixotic notion that terrorists and guerrillas can somehow bleed India down to parity despite its seven to one advantage in men and materiel.

We have long hoped that Pakistan would choose America, not terrorists, as the guarantors of its security, but that hope has been in vain. Now, Admiral Mullen, Pakistan’s greatest remaining booster in the U.S. foreign policy establishment, has delivered what amounts to an ultimatum: either Pakistan severs its connection with the militant groups that are attacking NATO forces in Afghanistan, or America will sever its connection with Pakistan. The Pakistanis have refused to abandon the Haqqanis, and so the die is cast. The dissolution of the relationship between the United States and Pakistan is a fait accompli; it is inconceivable that the U.S. Congress will renew billions of dollars of aid for a country that is actively (and now publicly) engaged in the killing of U.S. troops.

The decision by the Obama administration to deliver the ultimatum to our nominal ally is not without its downsides. Our counter-terrorism efforts, as well as our war-fighting in Afghanistan, rely a great deal on Pakistan’s cooperation. However, in the long run, given Pakistan’s behavior, long-term U.S. interests in South and Central Asia are best served by a realignment toward India. The Obama administration deserves praise for its execution of this realignment. Years have been spent carefully setting the stage, giving the Pakistanis every opportunity to edge themselves back from their suicidal geopolitical strategy while simultaneously testing the waters of a U.S-India partnership. And the choice of timing is impeccable: U.S. forces in Afghanistan are higher than they have ever been before, giving the U.S. its maximal leverage against Pakistan, but the president’s political capital to remove those forces is also at its zenith, which undercuts Pakistan’s main source of leverage over the U.S. — namely, its supply routes to Afghanistan.

It is important that Obama (or the next president of the United States) appreciates the gravity and finality implicit in Pakistan’s rebuff of Mullen’s ultimatum. Already, some pundits are selling the cutesy notion of the U.S. being “frenemies” with Pakistan, as if international relations followed a script out of some Hollywood high school drama. But there is no intermediate status between friends and enemies to be found here — as the U.S. withdraws its support from Pakistan, Pakistan will compensate for this loss by relying even more strongly on militant groups like the Haqqanis to provide for its national security. The break-up, once initiated, can only accelerate.

In the long run, the U.S. playbook on Pakistan should grow to resemble that of India’s. The way to neuter an enemy is to carve them up into multiple states — such was Germany’s treatment by the allies after World War II, as well as the Soviet Union’s fate after its fall. India has already cut Pakistan in half, dividing it between modern Pakistan and Bangladesh. It seeks to do so again, exploiting the ethnic fault lines in Pakistani society to carve it up even further. With its parting shots in Afghanistan, the U.S. should use its military might to aid in this strategy. In its least extreme form, this strategy might merely ensure that Baloch-dominated provinces within Afghanistan retain a high degree of autonomy from the Afghan federal government. In its most extreme form, the U.S. could funnel arms to Baloch nationalists in southern Pakistan or take direct action in support of a free Balochistan. Where the U.S. should fall on this spectrum of policy choices is open to debate — what must be avoided is the naive optimism that Pakistan will have a Damascene moment and suddenly become the ally that the U.S. requires. Now is the time to restructure Afghanistan in the way that makes Pakistan weakest, not to dither in a nonexistent middle ground.

History will look upon Pakistan’s embrace of jihadists as one of the greatest geopolitical missteps of the 21st century. To prevent itself from appearing with Pakistan in history’s list of blunderers, the U.S. must make its break with Pakistan a decisive one and resist the urge to force nuance into a situation that deserves none.

187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 30, 2011, 10:16:43 AM
188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 30, 2011, 06:37:56 AM
Working the levers of patriotism

Ayaz Amir
Friday, September 30, 2011

No one can work the engines of patriotism better than the army and its ideological wing, the ISI. In actual combat their performance may invite questions. But in ideological combat their skill is unsurpassed.

In the annals of Pakistani democracy no fiction is more endearing than that of parliamentary sovereignty. The army and ISI set the score and music of national security. Civilian governments and politicians perform vigorously to this music and call it parliamentary sovereignty.

The corps commanders led the national outrage over the Kerry-Lugar bill, the jihadi media taking its cue from there. We know what deft hands first generated and then dissipated the hype over the Raymond Davis affair. Left to itself the federal government might have handled matters differently. But then the ISI wouldn’t have been the ISI if it had allowed this to happen.

When Sheikh Osama’s hideout was busted in Abbottabad, the first reaction of both President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani was sensible. But they weren’t counting on the deep sense of humiliation felt in General Headquarters. Realising their error they changed tack and hurriedly joined the national chorus of patriotism which had begun belting out lines about wounded sovereignty.

Few people paused to ask whether the sharper blow to national pride was dealt by the Americans or the Sheikh who, with his computers and disk drives, had installed himself in Abbottabad for close on five years. Where lesser mortals might have directed their anger at Al-Qaeda we went blue in the face denouncing America.

No praise is too high for Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI chief, for playing the subsequent in-camera session of parliament the way he did. Towards its end most of the parliamentarians seemed to be eating out of his hands, all speaking the same language of honour and national pride with which he had prefaced his briefing.

Now in the latest outbreak of patriotic fever in the wake of Admiral Mike Mullen’s excoriating remarks about the Haqqani group and its real or presumed linkages to the ISI, it is again the army and ISI orchestrating the national response, and the government and much of the political class following suit and reading from the script prepared by the supreme guardians.

The corps commanders met first and Prime Minister Gilani swung into action later, calling up the assorted characters who presume to speak on behalf of the Pakistani people, and inviting them for an all-parties conference (APC). If past experience is any guide, there are few activities more pointless than this gathering of the good and the not-so-great. It is safe to say – these lines being written before this momentous event – that the emphasis will be on verbosity and beating the drums of national honour. At the end will come the refrain, the nation stands united.

The Pakistani nation caught up in the throes of patriotism is usually a dangerous sight – mostly a prelude to something bizarre and foolish. What a mood of excitement we built up in 1965, closing our eyes to the reality that our rulers of the time, for no rhyme or reason, had started the whole blooming adventure. No one punished them but the country is still, in myriad ways, living the consequences.

In 1971 every vehicle in Lahore carried the sticker “Crush India”. We know who was crushed and who wasn’t in that conflict. The Afghan jihad, the conflict in Kargil, our predilection with managing the affairs of Afghanistan, when everything points to the conclusion that we are far from able to manage our own....the list of our militant follies is endless.

The US may be using too broad a brush and putting too thick a coat of paint on our warped strategic theories, but there is a growing body of opinion in Pakistan itself that the time for our strategic games is up. Mike Mullen did not say the ISI was attacking Kabul. We should read his testimony more dispassionately. He was saying the culprits were from the Haqqani group and that this group had strong links with the ISI.

Who the intrepid soul who would deny this last point? Don’t the Haqqanis have havens on this side of the border? The ISI doesn’t micro-manage them, it has no operational control over them. But in the name of all that is profane, don’t they have a presence there and here?

They are assets for the future, our strategic grandmasters will say. Haven’t we played enough of Afghan games and isn’t it time to let that unfortunate country be on its own? No one should wish more misfortunes upon the Afghan people but if they must fight their own internecine wars what drives us to the necessity of being a part of them, directly or indirectly?

Not only is it high time the army redrew its priorities, it is also time it stopped forcing its theories on hapless civilian governments. Every malevolent adjective in the world this government – indeed the entire political class – richly deserves. We have a set of ineffectual people at the helm, their capacity and competence no secret to anyone. But, I would venture to suggest, that even these clowns, if left to do their own bit, would manage relations with the US better than our brilliant army commanders.

There is no more difficult negotiating partner in the world than the MQM. He who can handle the MQM can deal with anyone, even the spirits of the dark and the deep. If we settled for cheap terms and low wages in 2001, broad-chested generals were in charge of national affairs not weak-kneed civilians. When the time was for negotiating something sensible and equitable with the Americans our army command blew it. Now when events have moved on and a new dynamic is in play, the army command just refuses to dismount from the high stallion of national honour and inviolable sovereignty.

What kind of a country are we? After India tested its nuclear bombs in 1998 Lal Kishan Advani only had to make a few threatening statements for Pakistan to go into panic mode and rush into its own tests. Israel hasn’t carried out any nuclear tests. Is its nuclear arsenal any less effective because of this? What, if exercising better judgment – admittedly, a tall order – we hadn’t tested in May 1998. Would our bombs have melted or just disappeared? And would Indian tanks have invaded Pakistan?

Here we are bedevilled by the wages of terrorism and a falling economy and yet we speak the language of Prussia at the height of its military power.

And now Mullen’s congressional testimony and some tough talk by the US secretary of defence Leon Panetta have thrown us into a panic in 2011. The corps commanders, forsaking their beloved golf, meet on a Sunday and the good and the patriotic get together for the Pakistani variant of that all-time farce called the APC.

Philip, Alexander the Great’s father, held out this threat to Sparta: “If I enter Laconia (Sparta’s other name), you shall be exterminated.” The reply was a single word, “If”. It’s too much to hope that Pakistan can emulate such brevity but at least our response to real or imagined challenges could be less windy and extended than they often tend to be.

Why should the Americans attack us when a few statements can so thoroughly unnerve us? We are already talking again – the Americans and us – and let no one say that American pressure, calculated or fortuitous, hasn’t worked. The corps commanders hurriedly called to meet and the pantomime of the APC are reminders less of a nation united than a nation easily jolted.

But more than semantics and the right tools of verbiage we have to put a rein on our strategic theories. The threat to us is from within, from the cumulative consequences of past follies. India is an elephant. Living cheek-by-jowl with an elephant is always a problem. But can we please get out of the calculus of India posing some kind of an existential threat to us? From the realm of dreams and fantasies, and imagined threats, isn’t it time we stepped into the real world?
189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 30, 2011, 06:35:00 AM
I think Baraq is weak, that's the real reason we dont base missiles in eastern europe. Those decisions were taken at a time of "hope & change". 
re: Af-Pak, any gains in obtaining additional supply routes from throwing europe under the bus were likely factored into the calculations and used as a justification to chicken out from placing missiles in europe. Now this analysis would be faulty, if Bama does something about tightening the screws on Haqqanis and Pak, for that would imply that the gain of additional supply routes was part of the planned end game in Pak. There is some evidence to suggest that after Mullen's testimony pakis are in a panic that the US may bomb Pak or send boots on the ground. After Nato rocketed N.Waziristan, they have had a corps commanders meet, an all party conference, their media is full of jingoistic war songs, eg
190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 29, 2011, 07:07:36 PM
This seems to be the first the US to bring Pak to heel.

Pakistan: NATO Fires Rockets Into North Waziristan
September 29, 2011 | 0712 GMT
NATO forces fired 12 rockets on the Ghulam Khan area of Pakistan’s North Waziristan, Karachi Dawn News reported in a screen caption at 0433 GMT Sept. 29. Another screen caption reported that government sources said Pakistan retaliated by firing 15 mortar rounds. Another caption reported sources claiming that Pakistani helicopters were flying along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 28, 2011, 07:11:14 PM

Why Pakistan Is Getting Cocky
Sep 23, 2011 1:21 PM EDT
Pakistan’s Army and intelligence service are behaving ever more provocatively—with potentially drastic ramifications for the war in Afghanistan. Bruce Riedel on the ISI’s psyche.

Admiral Mullen's candid and stunning testimony that directly links Pakistan's intelligence service, ISI, to recent attacks on NATO forces and the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan puts America and Pakistan on a collision course.
Why are the ISI and the Pakistani Army making such risky moves? What is the calculation in the generals’ minds? Short answer is, they believe we are on the run in Afghanistan and they want to push us out faster. Mullen has been Pakistan’s strongest advocate inside the White House situation room since President Obama took office in 2009. He prudently argued for patience and tolerance with the ISI’s duplicity for years, rightly stressing Pakistan’s critical importance on many vital issues like the nuclear-arms race, counterterrorism, and the Afghan war. This makes his remarks linking ISI to the Afghan Taliban’s Haqqani network attacks on our forces this month all the more stunning. Mullen labeled the Haqqani Taliban a “veritable arm” and “proxy” of the ISI. Afghan sources have said the Taliban suicide team that attacked our embassy was in constant contact by cell phone with their masters back in Pakistan during the firefight.

More questions are coming about ISI. The assassination last Tuesday of former Afghan president Rabbani, who was leading Afghanistan’s effort to develop a peace and reconciliation process with the Taliban, dealt a literal death blow to any hope of a peace settlement between NATO, the Karzai government, and the Taliban insurgency. Rabbani was murdered by a suicide bomber who allegedly brought a message from the Taliban’s top authority, the Quetta Shura, which has long been directly linked to the ISI as well. We still don’t know enough about the assassination plot, but it is highly unlikely the Taliban leadership in Quetta would have blown up the reconciliation process without a green light—or at least an amber one —from the ISI leadership.

These are incredibly provocative actions for the ISI. Over the past three decades it has developed a well-deserved reputation for sponsoring terror, like the 2008 Mumbai attack. It is accountable only to the Army and chief of Army staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The civilian government of President Asif Ali Zardari and his ministers has zero control over the spies and live in fear of them. It is not a rogue agency; it is a state within the state. The generals who run ISI have worked with the Taliban for more than 15 years. They provide critical sanctuary for its leaders like Haqqani and Mullah Mohammed Omar. Without direct and substantial Pakistani help, the Taliban could not have recovered from its defeat in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 and become the threat it is today.

Pakistan feels they hold a lot of aces, maybe more than they should.
But now the generals feel increasing heat from the U.S. and sense a growing chance that America and NATO are looking to cut and run from Afghanistan, hence their willingness to take risks to accelerate America’s departure from their doorstep and help their clients win. The stepped-up drone operations and especially the May 1 SEAL raid in Abbottabad have humiliated the generals deeply. They also know Osama bin Laden’s success in hiding out for six years in eyesight of the Army’s premier academy has raised profound suspicions in America about whether the ISI was clueless or complicit in his hideout.

So the heat was rising well before Mullen’s testimony. Yet the ISI also knows American and European support for staying in Afghanistan is dropping. Canada has already left. Obama has started withdrawing faster than his generals wanted. The Pakistani officers want to accelerate this process—the sooner NATO is gone, the better for them. So their advice to their Afghan proxies is to carry out operations designed to impact the home audience in America and Europe. Make the war look unwinnable and hopeless. Make Kabul appear chaotic and unsafe. Kill any hope for a political process. The darker Afghanistan appears on TV screens, the sooner the foreign armies will be called home.

Reality is less important than image in this war. The Army leadership also feels it can weather any blowback from Washington. The generals assume U.S. military aid will be cut or eliminated by Congress sooner rather than later, and they are confident that the Saudis and Chinese will fill the gap. They also know NATO’s logistical supply line to Kabul runs through Karachi (more than half of everything NATO eats, drinks, and shoots arrives via Karachi despite intense efforts to find alternatives). They have leverage and they know it. And of course, they have the fastest-growing nuclear arsenal in the world with a developing tactical nuclear capability. They feel they hold a lot of aces, maybe more than they should. Cocky poker players are dangerous.

Bruce Riedel, a former longtime CIA officer, is a senior fellow in the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. At President Obama’s request, he chaired the strategic review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009. He is author of the new book Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America and the Future of the Global Jihad and The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology and Future.

For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at
192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 25, 2011, 01:29:27 PM
From B.Raman's blog...

The United States has turned on Pakistan with such dizzying speed over the past few weeks that it is difficult to keep pace. Yet what is clear after Admiral Mike Mullen’s extraordinarily blunt statement that the Haqqani militant network is a “veritable arm” of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency is that it now has the Pakistan army very firmly in its sights.

Mullen accused the ISI, which is effectively a wing of the Pakistan army, of supporting the Haqqani network in a truck bomb attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan and an assault on the U.S. embassy in Kabul which led to a 20-hour siege. “We also have credible intelligence that they (the Haqqani network) were behind the June 28 attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations,” he said.

It was the most forthright assertion yet by the Americans that the Pakistani military is not merely turning a blind eye to militant groups based on its border with Afghanistan but actively encouraging them to attack American interests. The Pakistan army says it is overstretched as it is tackling militant groups which target Pakistan without creating new enemies by attacking Afghan militants and denies it retains links with the Haqqani network.

Just one month ago in a report titled “Pakistan, the United States and the End Game in Afghanistan” a group describing themselves as “the foreign policy elite” laid out what Pakistan wanted to happen in Afghanistan. Among their suggestions were that both the Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Mohammed Omar and the Haqqani network be included in talks on a political settlement in Afghanistan. The report was heavily criticised by those who saw it as an attempt by Pakistan to maintain its old policy of “strategic depth” – using militant proxies to stamp its influence on Afghanistan and counter India.

It looks like the United States is having none of it. I dislike the expression “end-game” applied to either Afghanistan or Pakistan (or Britain for that matter) with its implication that the people living in those countries come to an end when outside powers lose interest. But it is worth considering the expression just to show how much has changed. The so-called “end-game” is now in Pakistan.

That is not to say there are not worsening problems in Afghanistan itself, especially with the assassination of peace council chairman Burhanuddin Rabbani “laying open again the fracture lines” of civil war, as Kate Clark wrote at the Afghanistan Analysts Network. Nor is to suggest that anyone disputes the need for a political settlement in Afghanistan. Nor indeed that American tactics and strategy in Afghanistan are not open to criticism – Pakistan repeatedly says it is being used as a scapegoat for U.S. failures in Afghanistan. And nor would it be fair to dismiss Pakistan’s own concerns that by going after the Haqqani network – with its links to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and other militant groups – it would face even greater violence on its own soil. Those are all subjects which merit separate and serious discussion.

But it is to say that the particular end-game going on now is between the United States and the Pakistan army. Look closely at the proposition being made by Washington. According to Mullen’s testimony Pakistan – and specifically its army – must give up support for the Afghan Taliban (the so-called Quetta shura Taliban) and the Haqqani network. In return the United States will help Pakistan find “an increasing role for democratic, civilian institutions and civil society in determining Pakistan’s fate.”

Whatever language you couch that in, that is quite a difficult proposition for the Pakistan army. First it is being asked to turn on old militant proxies which for decades it saw as its main leverage against both India and a hostile Afghanistan and which for the ISI in particular were a considerable source of power. Second the army – an institution which is used to being the most powerful in Pakistan – is being asked to relinquish its dominance and cede its place to a civilian democracy. Third, even if it were willing to give up some of its power – and the considerable economic advantages that go with it – it would need to make a leap of faith that Pakistan’s warring and often corrupt politicians could get their act together to govern the country effectively.

Yet the message that appears to be being delivered by the Americans with increasing force is that if it resists, it will lose. Unlike during the Cold War when Pakistan was able to exploit U.S.-Soviet rivalry to maintain its position against India, Pakistan is looking very isolated right now. In the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s it had American and Saudi support. This time around it is hard to find any country which will help it.

In Afghanistan ordinary people are opening blaming the ISI for the country’s troubles. Russia is worried about instability in Afghanistan spilling over into the former Soviet Central Asia and about drug smuggling pushing up the numbers of heroin addicts whose growth is already gnawing away at its economy. Moscow has been more resistant even than the United States to the idea of taking former Taliban off a UN sanctions list to create a better climate for talks. Relations with neighbouring Iran tend to go up and down, but are not helped by a spate of killings of Shi’ites by Sunni extremists in Pakistan. China is interested only in stability and securing its access through Pakistan to oil supplies and raw materials. For all Pakistan’s “deeper than the oceans” faith in Chinese friendship, it is unlikely to ride to its rescue in a confrontation with the United States over Afghanistan.

Ironically, India is being projected as a way out of the quagmire with the prospect of regional trade offered as a solution to Pakistan’s deepening economic gloom. But India – indeed far more than the United States – has tended to be more suspicious of the Pakistan military and the government has justified to its domestic critics the current peace process as a way of supporting civilian democracy in Pakistan.

So the question we need to ask is this. Will the Pakistan army fold? Institutions do not give up power easily and arguably the Pakistan army as an institution is more powerful than the individuals who lead it.

In many ways this is like a rerun of the Kargil war writ large. In 1999, the Pakistan army occupied mountain positions in the Kargil region on the Line of Control separating the Indian and Pakistani parts of the former kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir – its troops encroaching on part of the territory that was supposed to be under Indian control. In doing so, it breached a 1972 agreement with India that neither side would attempt to change the Line of Control, or ceasefire line, by force.

There was in fact an underlying – though heavily contested – logic to Pakistan’s actions in Kargil. Pakistan considered India’s occupation of Siachen (in the Karakoram mountains beyond the Line of Control) in 1984 as a similar breach of the 1972 Simla agreement. Since the late 1980s – or so I have been told by one of the generals involved – it had thought about occupying the heights above Kargil as a way of training its artillery on the main road from Kashmir towards Siachen, thereby cutting off the Indian army’s supply route.

Yet the Pakistan army had over-reached. It first denied that it had any troops in Kargil at all, saying that mujahideen and irregulars had moved into positions in the mountains as part of their campaign to free Indian Kashmir from what it calls Indian occupation. In an odd foreshadowing of the current situation in Afghanistan, it chose to launch its Kargil war at a time when India and Pakistan were engaged in peace talks. After a brief and bitter war with India, the Pakistan army was forced by international pressure — especially from the United States but more discreetly from China – into a humiliating retreat.

This time around the Pakistan army appears to have over-reached in a way which could prove to be its undoing. It has taken on the United States – a declining but still superpower – in Afghanistan. The issue here is not really who is right or wrong but rather which country can bring the greater force to bear and the greater international leverage.
The other possibility is that the confrontation between the Pakistan army and the United States could become more and more dangerous. But with its very public comments on the Haqqanis and the ISI, the United States has just rolled a dice that it hopes and believes is weighted in its favour.
193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Supply routes on: September 23, 2011, 07:18:57 PM
Routes into Afghanistan...the easiest is through Iran (Chabahar), but relations are bad with Iran.

194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 22, 2011, 06:44:45 PM
US bomb warning to Pakistan ignored
American commander asked Pakistan's army chief to halt truck bomb two days before an explosion wounded 77 near Kabul

Declan Walsh in Islamabad and Jon Boone in Kabul,    Thursday 22 September 2011 17.32 EDT
Article history

Pakistan intelligence accused of ignoring warnings about a truck bomb that wounded 77 and killed five.
The American commander of Nato in Afghanistan personally asked Pakistan's army chief to halt an insurgent truck bomb that was heading for his troops, during a meeting in Islamabad two days before a huge explosion that wounded 77 US soldiers at a base near Kabul.

In reply General Ashfaq Kayani offered to "make a phone call" to stop the assault on the US base in Wardak province. But his failure to use the American intelligence to prevent the attack has fuelled a blazing row between the US and Pakistan.

Furious American officials blame the Taliban-inspired group the Haqqanis – and, by extension, Pakistani intelligence – for the 10 September bombing and an even more audacious guerrilla assault on the Kabul US embassy three days later that killed 20 people and lasted more than 20 hours.

On Thursday the US military chief, Admiral Mike Mullen, described the Haqqanis as "a veritable arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence [spy] agency". He earlier accused the ISI of fighting a "proxy war" in Afghanistan through the group.

Pakistan's defence minister, Ahmed Mukhtar, rejected the American accusations of Haqqani patronage as "baseless". "No one can threaten Pakistan as we are an independent state," he said.

The angry accusations lift the veil on sensitive conversations that have heretofore largely taken place behind closed doors. On 8 September, General John Allen, the Nato commander in Afghanistan, raised intelligence reports of the impending truck bomb at a meeting with Kayani during a visit to Islamabad.

Kayani promised Allen he would "make a phone call" to try to stop the attack, according to a western official with close knowledge of the meeting. "The offer raised eyebrows," the official said.

But two days later, just after Allen's return to Kabul, a truck rigged with explosives ploughed into the gates of the US base in Wardak, 50 miles south-west of Kabul, injuring 77 US soldiers and killing two Afghan civilians.

Afterwards the US ambassador to Kabul, Ryan Crocker, blamed the Haqqanis. "They enjoy safe havens in North Waziristan," he said, referring to the Haqqani main base in the tribal belt.

Allen's spokesman said Nato "routinely shares intelligence with the Pakistanis regarding insurgent activities" but he refused to confirm the details of the conversation with Kayani.

The Pakistani military spokesman, General Athar Abbas, said: "Let's suppose it was the case. The main question is how did this truck travel to Wardak and explode without being checked by Nato? This is just a blame game."

US allegations of ISI links to Haqqani attacks stretch back to July 2008, when the CIA deputy director, Stephen Kappes, flew to Islamabad with intercept evidence that linked the ISI to an attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul.

But American disquiet has never been so uncompromisingly expressed as in recent days. The issue dominated three hours of talks between the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and the Pakistani foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar.

On Tuesday Mullen said he had asked Kayani to "disconnect" the ISI from the Haqqanis. In Washington the CIA chief, David Petraeus, delivered a similar message in private to the ISI chief, General Shuja Pasha. Even the soft-spoken US ambassador to Islamabad, Cameron Munter, has joined the chorus of condemnation, delivering a hard-hitting message through an interview on Pakistani state radio.

"We've changed our message in private too," one US official said. "Before, we used to make polite demands about the Haqqanis. Now we are saying 'this has to stop'."

The new mood is driven by a combination of climbing casualties and brazen attacks. The Haqqanis were also blamed for a recent assault on the InterContinental Hotel, while August was the deadliest month for US forces in Afghanistan, with 71 deaths.

Nato is now investigating whether the Haqqanis had a hand in Tuesday's assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, President Hamid Karzai's peace envoy to the Taliban. Rabbani was killed at his home by a suicide bomber wearing an explosives-packed turban. A bloodstained four-page letter he was carrying at the time of the attack, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, insisted that "Pakistan is not our boss".

American officials have vowed to act unilaterally if Pakistan fails to comply with their demands over the Haqqanis. But it remains unclear how far they are willing to go against Pakistan, a nuclear-armed country that still provides vital counter-terrorism support.

There was some hope of resuscitating fragile relations between the Pakistani and American intelligence services, which were buffeted by the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden on 2 May. Officials from both countries hailed a joint operation on 28 August to arrest Younis al-Mauritani, a senior al-Qaida operative, in the western city of Quetta. On 5 September the Pakistani military issued a press release that highlighted Pakistani-American co-operation; some viewed the raid as a possible turning point in relations.

But the flurry of Haqqani attacks over the past two weeks seems to have washed away whatever goodwill was generated by the arrest.

US officials say debate is raging inside US policy circles about what to do next. The defence secretary, Leon Panetta, is said to have privately advocated US military incursions into the Haqqani stronghold in Waziristan – a risky gambit other officials reject as dangerous folly, citing the historical record of failure of western armies in the tribal belt.

Other US officials say Washington could slash non-military aid such as the $7.5bn five-year Kerry-Lugar-Berman package, which was approved in 2009.

There is also debate about the exact nature of the ISI's relationship with the Haqqanis. One western official said it was not a puppetmaster scenario. "It's not like they have a chain of command, with the Pakistanis handing down XOs [executive orders]," he said. Neither are the Pakistanis necessarily providing logistical support, he added: "It's murkier than that."

But, the official added, the US believes Pakistan is "actively tolerating" the Haqqanis. And the ISI could, if it wanted to, seriously disrupt their activities.

He warned that Pakistan was heading towards international isolation. "If it keeps going like this, it could end up like Syria – before the Arab spring."
195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 17, 2011, 08:55:39 PM
Nothing new here...but the US has started to explicitly indicate that paki govt is involved..

U.S. ambassador says evidence links Pakistan to militant group
By the CNN Wire Staff
September 18, 2011 -- Updated 0052 GMT (0852 HKT)
Ambassador Cameron Munter says evidence ties the Haqqani network to Pakistan
U.S. officials blame the Haqqani network for this week's attack in Kabul
They consider the network one of the most significant threats to Afghanistan's stability
Pakistan's army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, and Adm. Michael Mullen meet in Spain
(CNN) -- The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan accused the government there of having links to the Haqqani network, a pro-Taliban militant group that U.S. officials blame for this week's attack on the U.S. Embassy and NATO command center in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Speaking to Radio Pakistan, Ambassador Cameron Munter said relations between the United States and Pakistan "need a lot of work" and urged closer cooperation. The interview was available Saturday on the Radio Pakistan website.
A Taliban assault on the U.S. Embassy and NATO command center in central Kabul was brought to a bloody end Wednesday with the deaths of half a dozen militants. Four policemen and two civilians were killed and 27 injured in that attack and a handful of other incidents across Kabul, according to Afghan government figures.
"The attack that took place in Kabul a few days ago -- that was the work of the Haqqani network," Munter told Radio Pakistan. "There is evidence linking the Haqqani network to the Pakistani government. This is something that must stop. We have to make sure that we work together to fight terrorism."
U.S. officials have previously blamed this week's attack on the Haqqani network, a pro-Taliban militant group based in Pakistan's North Waziristan region. They have also previously accused the Pakistani government of maintaining a relationship with that network.
Still, Munter's comments are noteworthy for their timing, amid heightened tensions between Pakistan and the United States, and because of their blunt nature.
They came one day after U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen told his Pakistani counterpart he was deeply concerned about the brazenness of attacks being staged by operatives loyal to the Haqqani network.
During a lengthy one-on-one meeting in Seville, Spain, Mullen "conveyed his deep concerns about the increasing -- and increasingly brazen -- activities of the Haqqani network and restated his strong desire to see the Pakistani military take action against them and their safe havens in North Waziristan," Capt. John Kirby, Mullen's spokesman, told CNN.
Mullen believes that "elements" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, known as the ISI, "directly support" the Haqqani network, Kirby said.
The Haqqani network is aligned with the Taliban and al Qaeda and is considered one the most significant threats to stability in Afghanistan. U.S. officials believe Haqqani operatives are moving unfettered across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and are responsible for several recent high-profile attacks in Kabul, including this week's assault.
In late April, Mullen said on Pakistan's Geo TV that the ISI has a "long-standing relationship" with the Haqqani network.
Pakistani officials have denied the existence of such a relationship.
Mullen, who is retiring at the end of this month, met with Pakistan's army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, for more than two hours in what was their final official meeting. Both men were in Spain to attend a high-level NATO military meeting.
"They agreed that the relationship between our two countries remained vital to the region and that both sides had taken positive steps to improve that relationship over the past few months. They also discussed the state of military-to-military cooperation and pledged to continue to find ways to make it better," Kirby said.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan's Interior Minister Bismillah Muhammadi avoided blaming Pakistan directly for this week's attack in Kabul. However, he used the phase "across the borders of Afghanistan," a typical way of referring to Pakistan, in connection to the recovered phones of the attackers.
"The six cell phones we found on them, and the evidence we got on them all shows that this plot was made across the borders of Afghanistan," he said. "Without doubt they are across the borders of Afghanistan. They get equipped, they get trained there, and then they get sent here for killing of our people."
CNN's Barbara Starr in Washington contributed to this report.
196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 15, 2011, 06:49:11 PM

Tuesday, September 13, 2011      


 A guide to dying in Pakistan —Fahd Husain

 An array of death merchants awaits you. There are the wild TTP dudes who will cut your throat while chanting holy verses. Your religious sentiments will therefore be lovingly safeguarded while you experience that throat-slitting feeling

Bzzzzzzzz....That is the sound of death hovering over you. Take your pick: drone or dengue mosquito. Both ways, you are done for.

Death is the trend in Pakistan. You can choose from a wide variety of locales: Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Badin, North Waziristan. There is plenty of death to go around for all of you. There is the quick ka-boom if you want to experience the Reaper from the skies; there is the bloodsucking kind in Lahore if you desire to hold out for a while in a netted hospital bed before slipping into the hereafter; or if you want a surprise end, try walking a bazaar in say D I Khan. Who knows you might just meet a teenaged suicide bomber. Then of course, there is the famed drill-induced death that awaits you in Karachi. Chop, chop, chop and gunnybagged for your final journey. Karachi beckons if you are into this kind of stuff.

It is all happening here. If you’ve got the wish, we’ve got the means.

If you liked ‘Saw’, or ‘Saw 2’, you will absolutely love Pakistan. We have got Jigsaws crawling all over the place, and they do not even need funny masks. Decapitation? We got specialists. Death by your own bodyguard? Yep, done that. Severed limbs and noses? Happens in the warm confines of our homes. How about whipping? Hey, we can do that with our left hands, with an applauding audience as a bonus. Oh, and how about a shot in the back of the head by a posse of cops? We teach that at our police academies. If you want a headlined death, we have got this huge compound in Abbottabad you would cherish for the rest of your life — till the marines come. And now even our mosquitoes are trained to literally suck the life out of you. Beat that.

Remember we are 180 million strong. This means there are a lot of us. So a couple of hundred going six feet under does not really upset our demographic balance. We have lost 35,000 of our fellow Pakistanis in this war on terror and that does not even get us a mention in the 9/11 speeches by US presidents past and present. That is how conveniently expendable we are. Death gets a multiple visa on arrival.

We are the horror movie rated not ‘R’ but NC17. But age is no bar to death here. We have got dead kids turning up all the time. In fact, while movies end after two hours, this one does not. We just keep on killin’ and killin’. Imagine ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’ on steroids. That would be us.

An array of death merchants awaits you. There are the wild Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) dudes who will cut your throat while chanting holy verses. Your religious sentiments will therefore be lovingly safeguarded while you experience that throat-slitting feeling. If you do not want this cutting edge experience, we have for you the political militants. You can discuss your personal favourite ideologies and they will drill some sense into you — through your kneecaps. And there is also a homegrown scheme for you to whiten your black money if you so desire. You will be gagged and bound and bundled off to Fata and then perhaps to Afghanistan (no visa fee required). You can then pay a couple of million rupees of your black money as ransom — tax free — and return home to your loved ones. Word-of-mouth is the best advertisement, you know, that is why we are never short of thrill-seekers. ‘Pay as you go’ works best.

For the nature freaks, there is Lahore. Here are some tips to maximise your death wish: wear short sleeves, expose some skin (no midriffs please), try to stay near water bodies, and just hope for the worst. The mosquitoes, rest assured, will take care of the rest. Of course, if the thirsty insects mess it up, the doctors will ensure your wishes are fulfilled. Lahore Lahore aye na (Lahore is Lahore).

Further up north, Swat boasts lush hills and bloody memories. If you are lucky you may still run into a Taliban commander, but if not, you can dress like one and there are solid chances you will get lined up against a wall and shot. Look at the bright side: you got very dead in drop-dead surroundings. Swat is, after all, heaven on earth.

If on the other hand, you are the faint-hearted type, we could always just bore you to death. And we have just the place for it: parliament. You see, all good political debates have migrated to TV studios and parliament now echoes with eternal inanities. The roof of the building leaks, just like the politicians, and hardly anything ever gets done in there. You are in for a whole lot of — nothing. Are you man enough to do it?

We take our trade seriously here. We are good at the game of death — and striving for further excellence. We are blessed with trained manpower and fertile killing fields. We are open for business. We are dying for you to visit us. So snuff out those doubts, stop being killjoys and bite the bullet. Pakistan is a must-see, even if it is the last place you see.

The writer hosts a primetime show on a private TV channel. He can be reached at
197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 13, 2011, 07:31:16 PM
Pak ad in the WSJ

Another way to look at that ad
198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 09, 2011, 06:26:07 AM
The importance of this article is that it introduces a new term "the pakistanization of Al-Qaeda", which I guess is the next level from the mere "talibanization of Pakistan". To my understanding, this means that paki DNA has now been incorporated in AQ. As a result, one may expect AQ to play a more active role in many aspects of daily mayhem in Pak...

Al-Qaeda's roots grow deeper in Pakistan
By Amir Mir

ISLAMABAD - Ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City's twin World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and the subsequent "war on terror" launched by United Stated-led forces against al-Qaeda, the terrorist group continues to pose a serious threat to the world as it keeps surviving and thriving mainly on the Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal belt.

In these rugged areas it has established an effective jihadi network that increasingly exploits its Pakistani affiliates to carry on the global jihadi agenda of Osama bin Laden, despite his May 2 killing in a United States military raid in Abbottabad in Pakistan.
Until recently, analysts have been mostly focusing on the dangers posed by the growing Talibanization of Pakistan. Yet, it has now become abundantly clear that the time has come to pay more attention to the bigger dangers posed by the Pakistanization of al-Qaeda.

Since US president George W Bush's declaration of war against global terrorism in September 2001, the US and its allies claim to have killed or captured over 75% of senior al-Qaeda leaders, the latest being Younis al-Mauritania, suspected of directing attacks against the US and Europe, who was arrested on September 5, 2011, during a raid in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province in Pakistan.

Yet, the frequency of terror attacks worldwide being attributed to the al-Qaeda network has increased, as compared to the pre-9/11 period, the latest being the September 7 twin suicide attacks targeting the residence of the deputy inspector general of the Balochistan Frontier Corps in Quetta, which killed 24 people.

Pakistani terrorism experts believe that the current spate of high-intensity attacks, despite Bin Laden's death four months ago, make obvious that al-Qaeda's core elements are still resilient and that the outfit is cultivating stronger operational connections that radiate outward from hideouts in Pakistan to affiliates scattered throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Therefore, as things stand, it appears that al-Qaeda not only remains in business in its traditional stronghold in the Waziristan tribal region on the largely lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal belt border, it has also clearly advanced to the urban areas in all the four provinces of Pakistan.

This is confirmed by the growing belief of the Barack Obama administration that if there is one country that matters most to the future of al-Qaeda, it is Pakistan.

A solid base
Al-Qaeda, which means "The Base" in Arabic, was founded in 1988 by Bin Laden with the aim of overthrowing the US-dominated world order. The outfit was relatively unknown until the 9/11 terror attacks when its operatives hijacked four US airliners and successfully crashed two of them into the World Trade Center towers in New York, with a third plane hitting the Pentagon building in Washington and a fourth one crashing in Pennsylvania as the passengers attempted to regain control of the plane.

In an exclusive interview with Geo television on July 23, 2008, Mustafa Abu Yazid alias Sheikh Saeed, then the third senior-most al-Qaeda leader after Bin Laden and Dr Ayman Zawahiri, confessed for the first time that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda operatives.

As US-led forces launched a ruthless military offensive in Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11, the Afghanistan-based al-Qaeda leadership started systematically moving its fighters across their eastern border into Pakistan, where they effectively took over the rugged mountainous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) after joining hands with local militants.

The al-Qaeda leadership's choice of using the FATA region, especially the North and South Waziristan tribal agencies as their hideout, has enabled the terror outfit to build a new power base, separate from Afghanistan. As a result, despite Pakistan's extensive contribution to the "war on terror", many questions persist about the extent to which al-Qaeda and its allied groups are operating within Pakistan.

Al-Qaeda's success in forging close ties to Pakistani jihadi groups has given it an increasingly secure haven in the mountainous tribal areas of Pakistan. These regions have replaced Afghanistan as the key training and indoctrination grounds for al-Qaeda recruits to be used in operations abroad and for training those indoctrinated and radicalized elsewhere.

The international community continues to portray Pakistan as a breeding ground for the Taliban militia and a sanctuary for fugitive al-Qaeda leaders. Despite repeated denials by Pakistani authorities, the global media keep reporting them having already established significant bases in Peshawar and Quetta, and carrying out cross-border ambushes against their targets in Afghanistan, while al-Qaeda suicide bombing teams target US-led forces from their camps in the mountainous region.

The general notion that al-Qaeda is getting stronger even after the decade-long "war on terror", can be gauged from the fact that Pakistan, despite being a key US ally during all those years, is undergoing a radical change, moving from the phase of Talibanization of its society to the Pakistanization of al-Qaeda.

Many of the key Pakistani jihadi organizations, which are both anti-American and anti-state, have already joined hands with al-Qaeda to let loose a reign of terror across Pakistan. The meteoric rise of the Taliban militia in Pakistan, especially after 9/11, has literally pushed the Pakistani state to the brink of civil war, claiming over 35,000 lives in terrorism-related incidents between 2001 and 2011.

Terrorism experts believe that the Pakistanization of al-Qaeda is rooted in decades of collaboration between elements of the Pakistani military and the intelligence establishment and extremist jihadi movements that birthed and nurtured al-Qaeda, which has evolved significantly over the years from a close-knit group of Arab Afghans to a trans-national Islamic global insurgency, dominated by more and more Pakistani militants.

American intelligence agencies believe that with a surge of motivated youth flooding towards the realm of jihad and joining al-Qaeda cadres, Pakistan remains a potential site for recruitment and training of militants as the fugitive leadership of the outfit keeps hiring local recruits with the help of their local affiliates in Pakistan. This is to bolster the manpower of al-Qaeda, which has grown from strength to strength despite the arrest and killing of hundreds of its operatives from within Pakistan since 2001.

These experts believe, despite the physical elimination of al-Qaeda founder Bin Laden, that his terrorist outfit remains a potent threat to global peace as it keeps blooming in the Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal belt. They say al-Qaeda, for all practical purposes, is now a Pakistani phenomenon as a good number of the anti-American sectarian and jihadi groups in the country have joined the terrorist network, making Pakistan the nerve center of al-Qaeda's global operations.

Investigations into the May 22, 2011, fidayeen (suicide) attack on the Mehran Naval Base in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi have revealed that it was a coordinated operation involving al-Qaeda's Waziristan-based chief operational commander from Egypt, Saif Al Adal, the outfit's top military strategists from Pakistan, Ilyas Kashmir, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistan Taliban - TTP) and the Punjabi Taliban, a term used to describe the Punjab-based jihadi organizations that are opposed to, and fighting, the Pakistani state as well as the United States.

The Pakistani intelligence findings on the Mehran attack clearly demonstrate that al-Qaeda and the TTP have teamed up with the Punjabi Taliban in recent years to form a triangular syndicate of militancy, with the aim to destabilize Pakistan, whose political and military leadership has been siding with "the forces of the infidel" in the "war against terror".

Therefore, the al-Qaeda-Taliban alliance has gained an edge in Pakistan because of the support the local jihadi groups provide. Ideological ties bind al-Qaeda, the TTP and the Punjabi Taliban to throw out international forces from Afghanistan. These three jihadi entities share intelligence, human resources and training facilities, and empathize with each other as American and Pakistani forces - however strained the relationship between the two countries may be - hunt and target them. This was proven recently with the arrest of Mauritania, which was the result of collaboration between US and Pakistani intelligence agencies.

The three organizations initially came together at the time the US invaded Afghanistan post-9/11, prompting al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban to rely on local partners such as Pakistani pro-Taliban tribes, anti-US and anti-Shi'ite groups like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and jihadi mercenaries in Pakistani religious seminaries and jihadi groups for shelter and assistance.

The ties between local militant groups and al-Qaeda were cemented further as the Afghan Taliban's astonishing successes against the US-led allied forces prompted the US to increase drone attacks in the tribal areas and turn the heat on Pakistan to crack down on the TTP and others.

However, this "axis of evil" remains an informal alliance that is mainly meant to protect and support each member. What gave the alliance a fillip was the migration of battle-hardened Pakistani commanders from the battlefront in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir to the Waziristan region of Pakistan.

As things stand, the violence-wracked Waziristan region has become the new battlefield for the pro-Kashmir militants, who have already joined hands with the anti-US al-Qaeda elements. Information collected by Pakistani agencies shows the presence of fighters belonging to several pro-Kashmir jihadi groups, many of which have fallen out of favor with the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment, which is under tremendous pressure to stop harboring al-Qaeda-linked elements.

These groups, which include the Harkatul Jihad-al-Islami, al-Badar, Jamaatul Furqaan and renegade elements of the Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Lashkar-e-Toiba, have strong connections with al-Qaeda in terms of operational collaboration and logistical support.

Veteran jihadi commanders like Kashmiri, who was reportedly killed in June in a US drone attack, were the first to adopt al-Qaeda's ideology - that the weakening of the world's only superpower, the United States, is essential for the survival of the Muslim world.

The death of Bin Laden was unquestionably a major blow to al-Qaeda. Yet, terrorism experts say long before he was killed, al-Qaeda had adapted itself to survive and operate without him, ensuring that the threat his terror network posed lived well beyond his demise.

Therefore, a decade after the US unleashed its much-trumpeted "war on terror", and despite the death of Bin Laden, there is no reason to believe that the terrorist outfit he launched more than two decades ago is anywhere near defeat.

Amir Mir is a senior Pakistani journalist and the author of several books on the subject of militant Islam and terrorism, the latest being The Bhutto murder trail: From Waziristan to GHQ.
199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 05, 2011, 10:11:18 AM
Some data porn...fryday is the big day for jihadis..

200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 31, 2011, 08:45:29 AM
Osama bin Laden : The real story? - FB Ali

The killing of bin Laden in a US Special Forces raid on a house in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad unleashed a torrent of stories about the event. The accounts by various US officials (given in bits and pieces immediately after the raid) gave little information on the details of the operation, and none on the ‘back story’. This left the field open to a lot of speculative accounts about how the raid took place and the events leading up to it. A rash of conspiracy theories also sprang up, many of which flatly denied bin Laden was even present in the house, while others put forward various versions of the Pakistani role in these events.

Recently, two accounts have been published that claim to be based on information from sources ‘in the know’ or ones who actually participated in the planning (though perhaps not the execution) of the raid. The first was a detailed account by Nicholas Schmidle in The New Yorker, based on interviews with and information provided by senior White House staff and some of the planners of the raid. This was obviously the “official” version, what the US administration would like people to believe. The second is a post on her blog by RJ Hillhouse, in which she quotes her intelligence sources on certain aspects of the raid, especially the events leading up to it.

By studying these two accounts, separating the grain from the chaff, and judiciously filling in some of the blanks, it is possible to come up with what is likely to be fairly close to the real story.


It begins with the CIA station chief in one of the Gulf states receiving an unexpected visitor with a fascinating tale. He was a recently retired senior officer of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, and he wanted to talk about Osama bin Laden. Some years ago, he said, the Saudi intelligence chief approached the ISI with the request to provide sanctuary to bin Laden within Pakistan. The Saudis said that bin Laden was prepared to come down from the hills where he was hiding, provided sufficient assurances were available about his security. In return, he would ensure that al Qaeda would not target Pakistan, and he would also limit his own involvement in its operations.

The Saudi motive behind this request presumably had to do with their internal imperatives. The bin Ladens are a very rich and influential family in Saudi Arabia. Osama and al Qaeda, and their goals, are supported by a large number of religious Saudis (even though the royal family considers them enemies). If bin Laden were to be hunted down and killed by the Americans in the tribal badlands of Pakistan, it would give the regime a black eye in the view of many of its people as well as being a serious blow to the bin Laden clan. It made sense to the Saudis to get Osama bin Laden into a safe hideout while at the same time neutralizing him as a functioning jihadi.

Whatever the Saudi motivation, their request placed the Pakistanis in a severe dilemma. The Saudis were their helpers and supporters, in fact the kingdom was their backer of last resort; they could not afford to alienate them. On the other side, bin Laden was the principal enemy and target of their current backer and ally, the United States; they could not take the risk of being caught harbouring him. The matter went right up to President Musharraf, and was the subject of much anxious debate. Finally, it was decided that the affair would be handled through one of the client jihadi outfits of the ISI, with no official involvement, thus ensuring plausible deniability in case something went wrong.

This, said the former ISI official, was how bin Laden was moved into Pakistan some years ago, and was safely harboured there. He was prepared to divulge his current location to the CIA provided he was given the reward on offer, and he and his family (accompanying him on this holiday) were securely relocated to the USA. The CIA station chief set up another meeting with the informant, and promptly relayed the information to Washington. The background check on the ISI officer having proved satisfactory, at this second meeting the station chief accepted his offer on the condition that the reward would only be paid if his information proved accurate.

When the location of bin Laden reached Langley, the CIA commenced a sophisticated, but secret, operation to verify that bin Laden did indeed live in the house in Abbottabad that their ISI informant had betrayed to them. Even before the results of this activity became available, the top security officials in the US administration began to consider actions that could be taken if his presence there was confirmed. This process quickly narrowed down the options to essentially two: a drone strike on the house, or a Special Forces raid (of the type being regularly carried out in Afghanistan against suspected insurgent leaders). When the CIA established that there was a high probability that Osama bin Laden did indeed live in the Abbottabad house, detailed planning began for both options. Their pros and cons differed so radically, however, that choosing between them was not easy.

A drone strike would involve no risk to US personnel while also reducing the loss of face for the Pakistanis and, hence, their reaction after the event. An SF raid, on the other hand, would be a risky affair. Apart from the danger of various mishaps there was a possibility of Pakistani interference, both in the air and on the ground, which would endanger not only the success of the operation but also the US personnel involved. Such an intrusion of American ‘boots on the ground’ would likely cause serious problems in relations between the two countries. The biggest difference, however, lay in the degree to which the success of the operation could be established by the administration, and generally accepted by the world when announced. A successful drone strike would show that the house was destroyed, but not whether bin Laden had been killed (the Pakistanis would never admit that he had even been there). A successful SF raid, on the other hand, would provide definitive proof.

The two options were presented to President Obama for a decision. His military advisers generally favoured the drone option, though the JSOC command was quite happy to do the raid. The ‘political’ advisers did not want to pass up this great opportunity to claim a notable success for the administration, but that would only be possible with an SF raid. Obama mulled over the choice for a few days and decided to carry out the raid ─ but with its risks minimized by getting the Pakistan military to cooperate. This set off another hectic debate among the advisers; it was finally decided that a very hard line be taken with the Pakistanis, giving them, in effect, neither the option to refuse nor any wiggle room in compliance. Leon Panetta was chosen to deliver the ultimatum: in essence, to do another ‘Armitage’ on them.

Panetta enjoyed playing the heavy with the Pakistanis (especially after their successful false emissary caper and their exploitation of the Raymond Davis affair). He told the ISI chief how the US had found out, and then confirmed, that bin Laden was being sheltered by them. The US was going to take him out; Pakistan could either help, or it would be considered an enemy of the US and treated accordingly. Backed into a corner, with their ‘plausible deniability’ in shreds, the Pakistani generals folded: they were prepared to help, but they needed a good cover story, especially for the Saudis. The US agreed to work with them on this, but demanded that knowledge of the raid be confined to a very few people at the top of the command chain, no more than necessary to ensure that any attempt by someone in the security forces to interfere with the operation would be immediately detected and quashed.

The cover story finally agreed upon was that the US had carried out a drone strike on the house (though none would in fact take place). This would account for the night-time explosions at the house, and, more importantly, provide an explanation to give to the Saudis for bin Laden’s sudden and unfortunate demise (his body having been almost obliterated by the bombs!). The US’s agreement was simply a ruse, however, in order to keep the Pakistanis cooperating; having rejected the drone option because it did not allow a definitive claim of the operation’s success, the US administration had no intention of going through with this cover story. Instead, it intended to announce the carrying out of the raid, and its momentous result, as soon as it was completed, though it is likely they planned to shift its venue to some undefined place under insurgent control so as to allow the Pakistani military some face-saving, and thus limit their adverse reaction. In the event, the helicopter crash put paid to this.

With the Pakistani military on board, the raid was launched on May 1st. Two Black Hawk helicopters with the Navy SEALs team on board took off from Jalalabad late evening and landed at the Ghazi airbase, Tarbela. This base is used by Pakistani SF (the Special Services Group), and has a US SF helicopter-training contingent stationed there. Helicopter flights into the US base area from Afghanistan are routine, and the flight of these two helicopters was cleared on the same basis. The attack on the Abbottabad target was launched from here later that night. The flying distance from Ghazi to the target is approximately 60 km (40 miles).

Even though the Pakistan army chief had agreed to allow the raid to go through without any interference, the US was not taking any chances. Schmidle describes a backup force of four Chinook helicopters, two with a backup SEALs team (which remained on the Afghan side of the border), and two as helicopter backups for the assault Black Hawks. He says that these latter two “landed at a predetermined point on a dry riverbed in a wide, unpopulated valley”. This is probably correct since, in case of a Pakistani double-cross, they would be grounded if they were to wait at the Ghazi airbase instead. One of these Chinooks was later used as the replacement for the Black Hawk that crashed at the Abbottabad house.

Schmidle’s account (and critiques of it published afterwards) dwell mostly on the details of the action inside the bin Laden compound. It doesn’t really matter how that action unfolded, though controversy over it does shift attention away from those aspects of the operation that are being kept concealed by both the US and Pakistan. The important point of these actions is that they resulted in Osama bin Laden being killed. Many conspiracy theorists refuse to accept this, but al Qaeda does, and so do the Pakistanis, who have in their custody bin Laden’s wives who witnessed the event. It may be worth commenting on a couple of the items of controversy. It doesn’t matter whether bin Laden had a weapon or not; the orders were for him to be killed. The reason why Amal al-Fatah, bin Laden’s wife who tried to protect him, was shot in the leg (DEVGRU normally just kills) was probably because the plan was to bring the wives and surviving sons back as prisoners (the loss of one of the Black Hawks forced a change there).

As for the fallout from the operation, it was, as expected, mainly on US-Pakistan relations. If the US had the intention of making it easier for the Pakistanis by fudging the site of the raid, the crashed helicopter’s tail sticking up from bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound ended that option. This stark evidence of the US incursion left the US with no option but to (in Hillhouse’s apt phrase) throw the Pakistanis under the bus. Panetta couldn’t let the opportunity pass without adding an extra kick of his own (“ they were either complicit or incompetent”). The Pakistan military lost a lot of ‘face’ internally, but had a tolerable alibi for the Saudis. Most importantly, the raid and its aftermath ended all chances of them working as allies with the US in the future; the relationship became once again purely transactional, with no trust on either side.

The United States certainly got their man but, in the process, lost Pakistan. Time will tell whether that was a good deal.

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