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201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: April 06, 2011, 07:35:38 AM
While I have the highest respect for Michael Yon, and he brings the unvarnished truth with all the gory details, I think organizations such as CADG that he talks about, are dealing with a microcosm of afghan society. CADG is likely welcomed by the locals, but it does not mean that their problems or the taliban's issues with the west are solved. Every winter there is a lull in insurgent activity, which picks up with the start of spring. Its also possible that the talibs have realized that the US will bring home troops come 2012 elections, so why not sober up for a while, extract $ and concessions from the US, and then it would be back to business soon thereafter. How else to explain this report from the Obama adminhttp://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-doubts-Pakistans-plan-to-defeat-Taliban-Report/articleshow/7881142.cms.

So yes we are "winning" in Afghanistan, but losing in Pak. Such wins will likely be illusory, but will offer a face saving way to withdaw from afghanistan, and the talibs know all about saving face in that part of the world. Looks like we are able to swat the flies which cross into Afghanistan, but no one is doing anything about the large festering sore in Pakistan.


"WASHINGTON: Pakistan lacks a robust plan to defeat Taliban militants and its security forces struggle to hold areas cleared of the al-Qaida-linked fighters at great cost, according to US report released on Tuesday.

The United States wants Pakistan to subdue Taliban fighters using safe havens in its rugged tribal areas to attack US forces across the border in Afghanistan.

"There remains no clear path toward defeating the insurgency in Pakistan, despite the unprecedented and sustained deployment of over 147,000 forces," President Barack Obama's administration said in a report to lawmakers in Congress.

Major security operations by Pakistani forces along the lawless Afghan border have failed to break Taliban fighters' resolve, a fact underlined by twin suicide bombings of a Sufi shrine in eastern Pakistan on Sunday that killed 41.

The report highlighted concern that even if areas were cleared of militants, fighters were not being kept out.

"This is the third time in the past two years that the army has had to conduct major clearing operations ... a clear indication of the inability of the Pakistani military and government to render clear areas resistant to insurgent return," the report said.

The doctrine of clearing ground occupied by insurgents, holding it against their return and then building up the infrastructure and public services to engender confidence in the local population was used effectively by US forces in Iraq. "

202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: April 01, 2011, 09:20:44 PM
Aafia Siddiqui the MIT neuroscientist and daughter of Pakistan was arrested for trying to shoot a US soldier in Afghanistan...and for waging jihad. Currently, the pakis are clamouring to have Aafia freed....unlikely to happen.

family connections

The man who has been charged with masterminding and planning the 9/11 attacks on the US, Khaled Sheikh Muhammad, is of Pakistani origin and has interesting family connections. His clan comes from Balochistan and he is a cousin of former minister Zubeida Jalal. KSM’s family migrated to Kuwait, as many Baloch have done to Oman and the Gulf, and that is where he got radicalized. Abdul Aziz Al-Balochi, an important member of Al-Qaeda and second husband of Aafia Siddiqui, is also from the same family. In fact, he is both Zubeida Jalal and KSM’s nephew.
203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 29, 2011, 08:03:36 PM
Afghanistan is about 50% larger in area than Iraq...which means it will be hard to police with 1/5th the troops that we had in Iraq.
204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 20, 2011, 08:34:33 AM
Another paki trait...maintainence of H&D (Honor & Dignity) grin...Pak airforce F-16 and drones likely fly out from the same airbases, most likely maintained by paki technicians....

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-air-force-on-alert-after-US-drone-hits/articleshow/7746400.cms
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has intensified air patrols and surveillance over its restive tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, especially North Waziristan, and put its air force at a higher alert level in the wake of US drone attacks that killed over 40 people, a media report said.

Orders were issued on Thursday at the "highest level " on an "emergency basis", including cancellation of leave of all personnel involved in air reconnaissance, BBC Urdu quoted its sources in the Pakistan air force as saying.
The leave of all personnel stationed at airbases and the PAF headquarters in Islamabad too had been cancelled and officials at sensitive installations had been asked to ensure the presence of all personnel on Saturday and Sunday, the sources were quoted as saying.

Some "operational changes" had been made but they are being kept secret though these are apparently related to round-the-clock reconnaissance in the tribal belt, the sources said. The administrative and operational changes are part of Pakistan's efforts to quickly respond to threats from the CIA-operated drones, the sources said.
205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 19, 2011, 08:59:48 AM
Yes, its likely that HUMINT operations will cease by the US, or will be done under ISI supervision...atleast for the next few months. I was pleased to see the national bird of Pakistan fly again. see picture, below.


206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 18, 2011, 08:21:13 PM
DAVIS DEAL: US to Limit Humint Ops in Pak Territory

by B. Raman

It is leant from reliable sources in Pakistan that acceptance of blood money by the heirs to the two Pakistanis who were killed by Raymond Davis on January 27, 2011, their withdrawal of the complaint of murder against him, his release from detention in the Kot Lakpat jail of Lahore and his airlift from Lahore to the Bagram air base of the US in Afghanistan and subsequently to the US naval base in Diego Garcia on March 16,2011,followed an agreement reached between the Inter-Serices Intelligence (ISI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in secret talks held in Oman under the intermediary of the Saudi intelligence under which the CIA has agreed not to run its own Human intelligence (HUMINT) network in Pakistani territory.

2. It is further learnt that under this agreement while the US would be free to run its Technical Intelligence (TECHINT) network, which provides TECHINT for the operations of the US as well as Pakistan in the tribal belt, the US HUMINT requirements would in future be projected to the ISI which has agreed to strengthen its HUMINT capability with assistance to be provided by the CIA.

3. To avoid embarrassing allegations of payment of blood money by the official agencies of the US or Pakistan, it was reported to have been paid by the Saudi intelligence in the court before which Davis was being tried in Lahore on March 16.

4. According to these sources, the ISI and the Pakistani Foreign Office had the following two major complaints against the CIA:

Deployment of an increasing number of retired officers of the US intelligence community and Special Forces as contract employees in Pakistani territory without the knowledge and approval of the ISI for collecting HUMINT.
Ex-post facto grant of diplomatic status to them after they had arrived in Pakistan with official or ordinary visas by showing them as members of the staff of the US diplomatic mission in Pakistan.
5. The sources say that the CIA has agreed to end both these practices.  The agreement will not come in the way of the posting of regular staffers of the CIA under diplomatic cover in Pakistan for liaison with the Pakistani agencies. It will also not come in the way of officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) being posted under diplomatic cover as Legal Attaches in the US missions to liaise with the Pakistani intelligence agencies and the Police.

6.  Raymond Davis, who was shown as a member of the technical and administrative staff of the US Consulate-General in Lahore, had reportedly arrived in Pakistan with an official and not a diplomatic visa. He was subsequently shown by the US as transferred to the US Embassy in Islamabad, which upgraded his status to a diplomatic one, but he continued to function from the Lahore Consulate.  The unilateral upgradation of his status by the US Embassy had not been accepted by the Pakistani Foreign Office.

7. The option of a blood money had been there from the beginning, but was not seriously considered because the heirs to the two Pakistanis allegedly killed by Davis were under tremendous pressure from the Islamic fundamentalist organisations not to accept it. The ISI refrained from pressuring them to accept the blood money, but once the US agreed to accept the ISI's demands in respect of HUMINT operations, the ISI intervened and persuaded the legal heirs to accept the money and move for the withdrawal of the prosecution of Davis.

8. The adverse public and jihadi reactions in Pakistan to the release were expected to some extent. The Government is hopeful that the ISI, which handled the negotiations, would be able to contain the protests through its influence over the fundamentalist and jihadi organisations and prevent any new wave of reprisal attacks.  Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the Director-General of the ISI, has been given an extension of one more year from March 18, when he was due to retire. But one should not over-estimate the ISI's ability to control the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Sunni extremist Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ). The recent assassinations of Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab, and Shabaz Bhatti, Minister for Minority Affairs, showed the limited nature of the ISI's control over these organisations. The ISI has fairly effective control over the Punjabi Taliban organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, but its control over the TTP, the SSP and the LEJ is very weak. Serious reprisal attacks could come from these organisations. Pakistan could be in for a renewed spell of reprisal suicide terrorism directed against the ISI and the political leadership.

9. Does the agreement also provide for the eventual release of Aafia Siddiqui, a US-educated Pakistani neuro-scientist, presently in jail in the US after having been convicted on  charges arising from her suspected  collaboration with the Afghan Taliban? The answer to this is not clear. Aafia's case is much more complex than that of Davis. She has already been convicted whereas Davis was only an under-trial.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com)

 
207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 16, 2011, 07:59:10 PM
Also of interest, Gen.Pasha, head of ISI got a year's extension. The Sharif brothers were conveniently out of the country, and Nawaz Sharif is now in London hospital admitted with chest pain!. So the story will be that RD was released when the Sharif's were out of the country by the PPP and zardari...
208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 16, 2011, 07:27:19 PM
In the urdu media, the lawyer of the victims family, says that the family members were forced to sign off on RDavis. Atleast in the near term, the tamasha will continue.

ta·ma·sha   
[tuh-mah-shuh] 
–noun
(in the East Indies) a spectacle; entertainment.
Origin:
1680–90;  < Urdu  < Persian tamāshā  a stroll < Arabic
209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 15, 2011, 07:22:05 PM
From B.Raman's blog http://ramanstrategicanalysis.blogspot.com/. Some snippets..

"13.There are three destabilizing ideological influences in Pakistan---- the Wahabised Islamic extremism, the trans-Ummah pan-Islamism and the country-wide anti-Americanism. The Wahabised Islamic extremism calls for the transformation of Pakistan into an Islamic democracy ruled according to the Sharia and the will of Allah, as interpreted by the clerics. It says that in an Islamic democracy, Allah will be sovereign and not the people. The trans-Ummah pan-Islamism holds that the first loyalty of a Muslim should be to his religion and not to the State, that religious bonds are more important than cultural bonds, that Muslims do not recognize national frontiers and have a right and obligation to go to any country to wage a jihad in support of the local Muslims and that the Muslims have the religious right and obligation to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in order to protect their religion, if necessary. The anti-Americanism projects the US as the source of all evils afflicting the Islamic as well as the non-Islamic world. The religious elements look upon the US as anti-Islam. The non-religious elements look upon it as anti-people.

14. The geo-religious landscape in Pakistan is dominated by two kinds of organizations-----the fundamentalist parties and the jihadi organizations. The fundamentalist parties have been in existence since Pakistan became independent in 1947 and have been contesting the elections though they are opposed to Western-style liberal democracy. Their total vote share has always been below 15 per cent. They reached the figure of 11 per cent in the 2002 elections, thanks to the machinations of the Pervez Musharraf Government, which wanted to marginalize the influence of the non-religious parties opposed to him such as the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) of Mr.Nawaz Sharif. In his over-anxiety to cut Mrs.Bhutto and Mr.Nawaz down to size, Musharraf handed over the tribal areas on a platter to the fundamentalists and the jihadis, thereby ---- more unwittingly than consciously --- facilitating the resurgence of the Neo Taliban and Al Qaeda.

15.The jihadi organizations are so called because they misinterpret the concept of jihad and advocate its use against all perceived enemies of Islam----internal or external, non-Muslims or Muslims---- wherever they are found. Their call for jihad has a domestic as well as an external agenda. The domestic agenda is the setting up of an Islamic democracy in Pakistan ruled according to the Sharia and the will of Allah. The external agenda is to “liberate” all so-called traditional Muslim lands from the “occupation” of non-Muslims and to eliminate the influence of the US and the rest of the Western world from the Ummah.

16. The jihadi organizations were brought into existence in the 1980s by the ISI and the Saudi intelligence at the instance of the CIA for being used against the troops of the USSR and the pro-Soviet Afghan Government in Afghanistan. Their perceived success in bringing about the withdrawal of the Soviet troops and the collapse of the Najibullah Government has convinced them that the jihad as waged by them is a highly potent weapon, which could be used with equal effectiveness to bring about the withdrawal of the Western presence from the Ummah, to “liberate the traditional Muslim lands” and to transform Pakistan into an Islamic fundamentalist State. The Pakistani Army and the ISI, which were impressed by the motivation, determination and fighting skills displayed by the jihadi organizations in Afghanistan, transformed them, after the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, into a new strategic weapon for use against India to annex J&K and in Afghanistan to achieve a strategic depth.

17.The aggravation of the anti-US feelings in the Islamic world post-9/11 has resulted in a dual control over the Pakistani jihadi organizations.The ISI has been trying to use them for its national agenda against India and in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden has been using them for his global agenda against “the Crusaders and the Jewish people”. The jihadi organizations are now fighting on three fronts with equal ferocity----against India as desired by the ISI, against the US and Israel as desired by Al Qaeda and against the Pakistani State itself as dictated by their domestic agenda of an Islamic State ruled according to the Sharia and the will of Allah. The growing Talibanisation of the tribal areas in the FATA and the Khyber Pakhtoonkwa province (KP) and its spread outside the tribal areas are the outcome of their determined pursuit of their domestic agenda. The acts of jihadi terrorism in Spain and the UK, the thwarted acts of terrorism in the UK and the unearthing of numerous sleeper cells in the UK, the USA, Canada and other countries and the resurgence of the Neo Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan are the outcome of their equally determined pursuit of their international agenda. Members of the Pakistani diaspora in the Gulf and the Western countries have been playing an increasingly active role in facilitating the pursuit of their international agenda.

18.The international community’s concern over the prevailing and developing situation in Pakistan has been further deepened by the status of Pakistan as a nuclear weapon State. The Pakistan Army has been repeatedly assuring the US and the rest of the international community that the security of its nuclear arsenal is strong and that there is no danger of its falling into the hands of the jihadi terrorists. Despite this, the concerns remain. This is due to various factors.

19. Firstly, it is admitted even in Pakistan that there has been an infiltration of extremist elements into every section of the Pakistani State apparatus---- the Armed Forces, the Police, the Para-military forces and the civilian bureaucracy. When that is so, it is inconceivable that there would not be a similar penetration of Pakistan’s nuclear establishment.

20. Secondly, the fundamentalist and jihadi organizations are strong supporters of a military nuclear capability for the Ummah to counter the alleged nuclear capability of Israel. They project Pakistan’s atomic bomb not as a mere national asset, but as an Islamic asset. They describe it as an Islamic bomb, whose use should be available to the entire Ummah. They also support Pakistan sharing its nuclear technology with other Muslim countries. In their eyes, A.Q.Khan, the so-called father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb, committed no offence by sharing the nuclear technology with Iran and Libya because both are Muslim States or with North Korea as a quid pro quo for its sharing its missile technology with Pakistan. They look upon Pakistan’s sharing its nuclear technology and know-how with other Islamic States as an Islamic obligation and not as an illegal act of proliferation.

21.Thirdly, while serving scientists may be prepared to share the technology and know-how with other Muslim States, there has been no evidence of a similar willingness on their part to share them with Islamic non-State actors such as Al Qaeda. However, the dangers of such a sharing of know-how with the non-State actors were highlighted by the unearthing of evidence by the US intelligence after 9/11 that at least two retired Pakistani nuclear scientists ----Sultan Bashiruddin Chaudhury and Abdul Majid---were in touch with Osama bin Laden after their retirement and had even visited him at Kandahar. They were taken into custody and questioned. They admitted their contacts with bin Laden, but insisted that those were in connection with the work of a humanitarian relief organization, which they had founded after their retirement. Many retired Pakistani military and intelligence officers have been helping the Neo Taliban and the Pakistani jihadi organizations. The most well-known example is that of Lt.Gen.Hamid Gul, who was the Director-General of the ISI during Mrs.Benazir’s first tenure as the Prime Minister (1988-90). Are there retired nuclear scientists, who have been maintaining similar contacts with Al Qaeda and other jihadi organizations?

22. The Pashtun belt on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border would continue to be under the de facto control of Al Qaeda, the Neo Taliban and the Pakistani jihadi organizations with neither the Pakistani Army in Pakistani territory nor the US-led NATO forces in the adjoining Afghan territory being able to prevail over the terrorists in an enduring manner. The NATO forces will not be able to prevail in the Afghan territory unless and until the roots of the jihadi terrorism in the Pakistani territory are initially sterilized and ultimately destroyed. The Pakistani Army has so far not exhibited either a willingness or the capability to undertake this task. The lack of willingness arises from its perception that it will need its own jihadis for continued use against India and the Neo Taliban for retrieving the strategic ground lost by it in Afghanistan. Moreover, the Army fears that any strong action by it against the jihadis operating in the Pashtun belt could lead to a major confrontation between the Army and the tribals, who contribute a large number of soldiers to the Pakistan Army. Next to Punjab, the largest number of soldier-recruits to the Pakistan Army comes from the KP and the FATA.

210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 13, 2011, 08:49:51 PM
"Part of it is that failed states are the swamp that breeds AQ, and thus nation building is seen as the way to drain the swamp, part of it is mission creep.We can't been seen as pulling out without Bin Laden's head on a spike, otherwise it will be taken as a major victory by the jihadists worldwide."

I agree the ISI likely knows Osama's location...so what is the US going to doing about it. If nothing, then why are we wasting resources in Af-Pak.

The part which concerns me is the "nation building" and "draining the swamp".
Nation building: One can do nation building in eg Japan, they want to put the tsunami behind them, they are a fairly advanced society. They are progressive. Doing the same is not going to work in a Islamic society like Afghanistan, which is very primitive (outside of kabul). eg It has taken many centuries for the muslims to adjust to indic values in India, it will be a long time, before the average taliban understands "democracy". Under optimistic conditions, perhaps a generation is needed.

Draining the swamp How many swamps can we afford to drain ?.


211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 13, 2011, 02:22:12 PM
"Our goal in Afghanistan was to Kill Bin Laden and the core of AQ, destroy the AQ training camp infrastructure and make A-stan a place where AQ couldn't rebuild."

That's what they say...but let's look at the 3 points you make.
1.Bin Laden: is now dead, or if alive, the trail has gone cold. Bin Laden is likely not even in Afgh, but in Pak, so we are likely wasting our resources in Afghanistan.
2. Destroy "training camps": These are mostly in Pak (again we are in the wrong country), and very rarely do we hear of training sites in Afghanistan, and how do you destroy these camping sites with a few tents and perhaps a few obstacle courses. These are rudimentary camps, even if destroyed can be put back very quickly. So far I dont think we have bombed a single jihadi training camp, about 50 of which are known to be in POK.
3. Make Afg. a place where AQ cannot rebuild. Its the taliban who want to take over Afghanistan, not AQ. When the heat got too much in Sudan, Osama moved to the Af-Pak border, they can always move again. Its much more easy to go after governments that support terrorism.

The only thing sensible, we are doing, is with our drone attacks, but those video games can be played from Centcom in Florida, or from bases inside Pak.

I think the above goals, wrt  afghanistan have been achieved to the extent we could, or wanted to. There must be something more to our presence in Afghanistan. Why do we want to build a permanent base in that country ?, its certainly not to tackle AQ a highly mobile terrorist organization, over the next 10 years ?. Why is the US taking all this crap from the beggar nation of pakistan, aka epicenter of terrorism. If our aim is to destroy the jihadis,we need to be squeezing the pakis. Since we are not doing that, there must be some other reason for the US in Afghanistan..
212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 13, 2011, 11:53:24 AM
Iranian people are generally supportive of the US (they are not arab)...its Ahmedinijad who needs to go. Iran does not have friendly relations with the Baloch, since the Baloch are spread over into Iran, and eye their territory, sort of like the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey.
The goals of US presence in Afghanistan are not clear (to me). I suspect, it has something to do with playing the new great game, or access to central asian oil resources. The reasons espoused, ie to get rid off AQ in Pak/Afghanistan are likely red herrings. We will never eliminate the last Al Qaeda in the AF-PAK theater, and even if we could, what's to stop AQ from moving to other "friendly countries" and setting up shop (which they already have) there (Pak, Yemen etc).

The world is changing, and traditional US support of Pak is receding, as the US seeks new allies and alliances against China. The Ray Davis saga is a manifestation of that, as the US moves away from pak (and towards India). In recent years, the US has wanted to strengthen India against China, which means less support for Pak. China will end up supporting Pak (which will be interesting, since the Chinese are tougher task masters).
213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 12, 2011, 08:10:28 PM
The route that I was thinking of involves using the sea port of Chabahar in Iran. Yes, it will involve reaching agreement with the Iranians, but that should be possible because its in Shia Iran's interest to not have a sunni taliban leadership in Afghanistan. India has spend  treasure and lives to link Delaram in Afghanistan to Zaranj (near Iranian border),http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaranj, so that the port of Chabahar can be used to bypass Karachi in Pakistan.

This port can be used for any supplies including oil that needs to come in by sea, just like Karachi, infact its geographic location may make it cheaper to use. If needed India could serve as a mediator, since India has historic ties to Iranhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo%E2%80%93Iranian_relations, as well as an interest to support the use of Chabahar (which was also built partially with Indian help).

There is a second way, if airlift will suffice. It will involve pissing of the purelanders, but perfectly legal. In this scenario, Indian help would be needed, for landing rights in India. Planes could fly from Diego Garcia,  refuel in India and then through POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir), via the Wakhan Corridor to Afghanistan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wakhan_Corridor. Wakhan is ofcourse part of Afghanistan. Pakistan cannot object to flights over POK, because that's disputed territory with India, and even the Pakis dont consider it as part of Pakistan (since they are supportive of Kashmiri Independence).

India would help, if the US was willing to shift policy re: maintaining balance of power between Pak and India, or if the US was serious about supporting Pak's break up, either into Pashtoonistan, or free Balochistan (which BTW, was always independent of Pak, as the princely state of Kalat, and annexed to pak after the India/Pak partition). The F-16's that the US supplies to pak are a significant pain to India.

These options are no worse than the deals we cut with Russia and Central Asian states.

214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 12, 2011, 08:26:28 AM
The US war in Afghanistan would go much better, if the US could pressure the pakis.  Instead the purelanders have the US by the family jewels, as military supplies need to go through Karachi...The US has looked for other options, such as the one outlined below,  see link for maps. However, there exists another route, through a seaport, that is not being discussed. Anyone want to hazard a guess ?.


http://www.europeaninstitute.org/February-%E2%80%93-March-2010/new-supply-front-for-afghan-war-runs-across-russia-georgia-and-the-stans.html
New Supply ‘Front’ for Afghan War Runs Across Russia, Georgia and the ‘Stans            
Written by Bill Marmon
The U.S. engagement in Afghanistan, including the 30,000 “plus-up” currently underway, represents one of the most difficult logistical challenges in the annals of war – a challenge even for the United States, which is the world champion of supply solutions.  Afghanistan is harder than the Vietnam “land war in Asia” or the Berlin airlift or Iraq I and II. These previous engagements, although difficult logistically, pale in comparison to the task of supplying 100,000 troops and as many contractors in Afghanistan over nine years and counting. Landlocked, mountainous, beset by civil war, banditry and extreme underdevelopment, Afghanistan is surrounded by a clutch of hostile, suspicious, barely functioning sovereignties.

And U.S. and allied troops require a Herculean mass of supplies from ammunition to toothbrushes, fuel, computers, night-vision goggles, concertina wire et cetera, et cetera – at the rate of thousands of tons per day. Even with the containerized packing systems and all the technology that made-in-USA delivery systems have made available to the military, the traffic volumes are immense. In 2008, nearly 30,000 containers were sent to the front – or about 75 percent of the total need in fuel, food, equipment and construction materials. Traffic reportedly doubled in 2009, and the requirements for 2010 will likely double again.

Part of this massive resupply travels by air in giant military transports (some American, some Antonovs leased from Russia): for example, the tons of ammunition, from small artillery to missiles, is delivered entirely by aircraft landing at military air fields. But the bulk of the traffic must be carried by sea-lift, mainly cargo ships that dock in the Indian Ocean port of Karachi in Pakistan, and then are off-loaded onto trucks. The road north is a hazardous trip of nearly 1,000 miles, finally passing through the difficult and often-hostile terrain of the Hindu Kush and then over the treacherous Khyber Pass before finally dropping down into Afghanistan.

Because of Pakistani sensitivities about sovereignty, these trucks are 100 percent civilian-operated, with no military escorts. The pay is good but the work is dangerous. Drivers are subject to kidnapping, ransoming, and destruction by roadside bombs or rocket and bazooka ambushes. U.S. sources report that over 450 trucks were destroyed in 2009, and one international shipping company confirms to European Affairs that 50 of its trucks were attacked, many of them fatally. Pilferage has been a problem too, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Karachi itself is a hotbed of political unrest rife with strong pro-Taliban currents: cargo ships and oil tankers have been sabotaged in the harbor.

Pakistan Supply Line

Map from Google Earth.  Courtesy of CSIS

Not surprisingly, the U.S. military logisticians have sought a better way – or at least an alternative one affording a route around the potential choke-point in Pakistan. Pentagon planners started their quest for an alternative to Karachi as early as 2006, when the U.S.-led campaign there was still a comparatively low-level grind and well before there was even a blueprint for the current surge. Gradually, stage by stage, U.S. officials stitched together a series of deals for rights of passage, crucially with Russia and other nations around Afghanistan.

Largely under-reported and unnoticed by the public at the time, these bilateral accords finally took shape as a whole by mid-2008 in what the U.S. military has dubbed the “Northern Distribution Network (NDN).” In fact, the NDN comprises several itineraries, commencing at one of two “western hubs” in Latvia and Georgia. From these secure jumping-off points, the cargo goes  by combinations of trains, trucks and ferries across Russian territory and the adjacent ex-Soviet “stans” to enter Afghanistan from the north. All of the new routes share the same attraction of altogether avoiding Pakistan. Taken together, these new routes in the NDN provide redundant paths for overland supplies that, however expensively, make it logistically sustainable for the U.S. and its allies to wage their Afghan campaign.

The most important new route, the “northern route” (see map), starts in the Latvian port of Riga, the largest all-weather harbor on the Baltic Sea, where container ships offload their cargo onto Russian trains. The shipments roll south through Russia, then southeast around the Caspian Sea through Kazakhstan and finally south through Uzbekistan until they cross the frontier into north Afghanistan. The Russian train-lines were built to supply Russia’s own war in Afghanistan in the 1980’s, and today Moscow’s cooperation is making them available for use by the U.S. and NATO in their own Afghan campaign.

NDN North

Map from Google Earth.  Courtesy of CSIS


The NDN also involves two additional routes. A “southern route” transits the Caucuses, completely bypassing Russia, from Georgia. Starting from the Black Sea port, Ponti, it travels north to Azerbaijan and its port, Baku, where goods are loaded onto ferries to cross the Caspian Sea. Landfall is Kazakhstan, where the goods are carried by truck to Uzbekistan and finally Afghanistan. This southern route now carries about one-third of the NDN’s traffic volume. While shorter than the northern route, it is more expensive because of the on-and-off loading from trucks to ferries and back onto trucks.

NDN South

Map from Google Earth.  Courtesy of CSIS


A third route, which is actually a spur of the northern route, bypasses Uzbekistan and proceeds from Kazakhstan via Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which has a northeast border with Afghanistan. This route is hampered by bad roads in Tajikistan.


KKT Route

Map from Google Earth.  Courtesy of CSIS


Not available to the U.S. for obvious political reasons is the most attractive land route into Afghanistan - through Iran, which has a 600-mile border along Afghanistan’s western provinces. The best line would begin at the Iranian port of Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, and proceed over excellent roads to the Afghan border city of Zaranj, which is connected to the main trans-Afghan highway by a recently completed road. Although the U.S. cannot use this route, other countries including European nations (among the 42 countries that have forces in Afghanistan) can take advantage of it, using private hauling companies to handle some non-lethal cargo. And as remote as it may seem today, a shift in U.S.-Iranian relations is a contingency to consider.

As of November 2009, the NDN had delivered 4,500 containers, and through-put on this route could easily double this year. As of now, the NDN routes are not only longer but also more expensive than the connection via Pakistan, but they are also safer and, despite the distance and border crossings, more reliable. U.S. Central Command, in charge of the Afghan campaign, would like to be able to move a third of the surface traffic over the NDN in the future.

Despite its signal success in establishing the new system, Washington has not trumpeted its accomplishment, perhaps it fears there might be a higher political price in drawing attention to the fact that the ongoing flow via the NDN depends on continuing cooperation with Russia and Uzbekistan and other “stans” that have often exhibited shaky relations with the U.S. Relations were recently strained with Uzbekistan, for instance, over human-rights issues with that country’s ruler. And given the ebbs and flows of U.S.-Russia relations, the reliability of continued cooperation from Moscow is not insured..

The issues and opportunities raised by the new routes have recently been well ventilated by reports prepared by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) [www.CSIS.org], a think-tank in Washington. CSIS initiated its thorough-going, politically sophisticated study a year ago after a senior CSIS executive, Arnaud de Borchgrave, was briefed on the subject over dinner by General David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in the theater.

The new routes are difficult and long, but they offer incontrovertible security advantages over the routes through Pakistan – an option that invited Taliban commanders to see the road as a long, exposed jugular vein of the U.S. force in Afghanistan. And there must be a surface route because air shipments to Bagram, the main Afghan airfield, cost $14,000 a ton, a prohibitive price tag. Even if Washington were ready to pay whatever it costs, air lift capabilities are already being strained (including those of civilian contractors) by the task of simply delivering weaponry and other “sensitive” materials. This air route also involves over-flight permissions that need to be secured (and often renegotiated frequently): in Kazakhstan, for example, U.S. access to the large airfield at Manas has been an on-and-off option that now seems to be “on” after bargaining that led to a fourfold increase in U.S. aid assistance to that country.

Russian assistance is obviously crucial, and that U.S. dependence on Moscow always raises some eyebrows in the security-policy community in Washington among people who worry that Moscow may someday take advantage of the leverage it has gained thanks to the NDN running across Russian territory. Proponents of the NDN contend that the route is an example of cooperation between the U.S. and Russia (and the European Union) that offers advantages to all three parties and could help pave the way to more such “triangular cooperation.” In any event, the U.S. needs this alternative so direly that it is worth some political risk, according to Obama administration officials. Russia has strong incentives not to hit the “off switch,” they add. Similarly, CSIS concluded that the Russian position is accurately formulated by Zamer Kabulov, the Russian ambassador to Afghanistan and a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, when he told the Times of London: “it’s not in Russia’s interest for NATO to be defeated and leave behind all these problems…we’d prefer NATO to complete its job and then leave this unnatural geography.” Of course, from Moscow’s vantage, the issues could be seen as a reprise of “the Great Game,” the long-running 19th Century struggle between Britain and Russia for control of central Asia that may be revisited in coming decades between Russia and U.S.-led NATO in the region.

Last summer at the U.S.-Russian summit conference Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama signed a significant military transit agreement that covers not only the overland routes across Russia but also over-flight permissions. Contracts for Russian transport on Russian military aircraft of non-lethal supplies, which proceeded without pause during the Russia-Georgian war, will also be continued. The agreement permits the movement of both soldiers and military supplies overland. The White House indicated the new transit routes would save at least $133 million annually in fuel, maintenance and other transportation costs.

Opening the new routes has been a quiet triumph of the U.S. military and diplomatic corps. The U.S. Central Command continues working to expand the supply routes to multiply the military options and cope with the additional logistical demands of 30,000 more U.S. troops and 10,000 more European and other allied reinforcements. With the arrival of these numbers and also more contractor corps that use the military resupply system, there will be a short term “bow wave” effect as infrastructure and pre-positioning supplies for the expansion moves to the area.
Civilian policy observers see a potential long term gain for the U.S. in taking a leadership role in re-establishing the Silk Road that once brought thriving commercial life to Afghanistan and beyond.  The NDN could also create a positive collateral effect of re-establishing a “Modern Silk Road,” which boosters say would contribute to the long term economic development of Afghanistan and surrounding countries. The new routes could presage a Modern Silk Road (“MSR”) if the routes opened for the military convert into civilian commerce and enhance regional prosperity for the adjacent central Asian nations. .

In the meantime, the opening of alternative supply routes for the military is a formidable achievement. If the Afghan war ends with anything like success, the NDN will likely be hailed as an important element of that success. Creation of the NDN once again proves the old axiom: “It’s OK for strategy to be conducted by amateurs, but logistics requires professionals.”

Bill Marmon is Assistant Managing Editor of European Affairs.
215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 06, 2011, 04:01:31 PM
This is a typical article by Mr.10%....which demonstrates what I call pakiness...

"Two months ago my friend Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, was cut down for standing up against religious intolerance and against those who would use debate about our laws to divide our people. On Tuesday, another leading member of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minority affairs and the only Christian in our cabinet, was murdered by extremists tied to al-Qaeda and the Taliban." Mr.10 % did not even attend his friend's funeral.

"We will not be intimidated, nor will we retreat".Infact he has taken blasphemy laws off the PPP agenda, as well as off the pak govt agenda

"Our economic growth was stifled by the priorities of past dictatorial regimes that unfortunately were supported by the West". You are responsible for our miserable situation

"The religious fanaticism behind our assassinations is a tinderbox poised to explode across Pakistan." Give me money, or I blow my brains out

Plain and simple, shameless begging....
216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 28, 2011, 07:09:00 PM
http://www.slate.com/id/2286722/

"Not to mince words, then, Davis is a hostage. In addition to the usual sense of the word, he is a hostage to the Pakistani authorities who dare not—even if they wish—make an enemy either of the Islamist mobs or the uniformed para-state run by the intelligence services. He is also a hostage to the inability or unwillingness of the U.S. government to call things by their right names. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have made the correct noises about the relevant international statutes governing immunity, and their envoy Sen. John Kerry (who should never have been sent unless notified in advance that he would return with the prisoner) has even spoken of putting Davis on trial in the United States, which in ordinary circumstances might seem a little premature. But they all talk as if Pakistan were a country of law, and they all talk as if Pakistan were not a client state. Its client status, indeed, is what leads so many Pakistanis to detest America, without whose largesse and indulgence it would long ago have faced collapse. Thus to the final irony: We are denied leverage by the fact of the very influence for which we are hated.
This sick relationship with Pakistan, which plays a continuous and undisguised double-cross on us in Afghanistan, will probably have to be terminated at some point. But in the meantime, it will have to be made very clear to the rulers of that country that if they want to keep Raymond Davis in prison, they will have to manage without our subsidies. He may be a bad test of an important principle, but it is still the important principle that is being tested, and we have no more right to compromise on the principle of diplomatic immunity than the Pakistanis have to violate it."
217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 27, 2011, 07:21:08 AM
The Davis Spy Crisis: Top Spooks in the U.S. and Pakistan Get in the Act

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2055690,00.html#ixzz1FAHkswDs
"There are people in this town," adds Washington-based Fair, "who are simply saying, 'F--- this, let's just call Pakistan the enemy.' They are saying Pakistan is supporting the killing of our troops in Afghanistan, they're supporting the LeT, they call [the rogue Pakistani nuclear scientist] AQ Khan a national hero. The fact that the CIA is coming to this conclusion should be very worrisome for Pakistan. For years, the CIA was the only organization in this town that would defend the Pakistanis."


Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2055690,00.html#ixzz1FAHAc1GX
218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 26, 2011, 07:21:22 PM
That terminology is not generally used with respect to hinduism, or is even much discussed in India. Its worth remembering that the muslims in India were converts from hinduism, and that may be one reason why it never gained any traction.

219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 26, 2011, 05:54:06 PM
ya,

Would you be so kind as to give the readership here a nutshell explanation of Indian history, specifically how the muslim invasion of India was for the Hindu and Sikh peoples? It's not commonly taught/known in N. America.

GM: That's a very important question to understand that part of the world, unfortunately I dont have the in depth knowledge base to do justice to that. An understanding of that topic would explain why India has old and warm relations with Iran, Baluchistan and Afghanistan.  Muslim invasion of greater India started in the 6th century (what is now Baluchistan), it really got going in the 12th century in areas which are recognised as India these days. By 1160 the Afghan leader Muhammad Ghori ruled from central afghanistan to lahore. Later came the Delhi sultanate rulers who claimed to be the descendents of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane. Some of these were moderate rulers like Akbar, most were tyrants who believed in forcible conversions, one of them Shah Jehan (1650) built the Taj Mahal. Collection of jiziya started around that time, an easy translation is protection money which the hindus had to pay. These days the americans pay that, except that they dont yet think of it that way.  Since then it has been a tale of forcible conquest, with some moderate rulers, some enlightened rulers, mostly destructive rulers. Important temples such as at Nalanda (also univ), Vijayanagara and Somnath were destroyed. Perhaps you have followed the controversy about the demolition of the mosque at Ayodhya in recent years, the scars of temple demolitions remain deep within the population.  This mosque was built by muslims (1521) at the presumed birth site of Lord Ram (from Hare Rama, Hare Krishna fame) the major god of hinduism.  There have been many victories for Hindus, some defeats (but that's another story).

The Sikhs are the sword arm of India, and their founder guru was a hindu (1539), as were many subsequent gurus who had traditional hindu names. The hindus rightly consider sikhism an offshoot of hinduism, though some sikhs who seek an independent nation (Khalistan) resent that.  Infact it was quite common for one brother to be a sikh and the other to remain a hindu. Even today there is considerable inter marrying between hindus and sikhs. The Sikhs opposed muslim rule and even protected hindus, or many times fought together. The sikhs were actually quite secular, and even muslims were allowed to flourish under their rule. Unfortunately, the sikhs suffer persecution in present day pak, just like other minorities.  Devout sikhs carry a few items with them, which include long hair (thus turban), comb, knife, underwear!. They are like 1.5% of the population, but approx. 20% of the Indian army and one of the most highly decorated regiments. The sikhs fought many battles with the afghan and central asian invaders, but that's again another story. Many of the sikh holy places are in present day pak, so the history of the 2 nations (india and pak) is quite entwined.

At independence (1947), the Radcliffe line became the border between India and Pak, the Durrand line became the border between Pak and afghanistan. As you can see these are somewhat arbitrary lines. In any case there was a huge massacre of both hindus and muslims, as they tried to cross to hindu and muslim dominated regions across the radcliffe line.

The hindus like to think of the muslims as the "weaker" hindus who were forcibly converted to islam many centuries ago. For this reason, they (indian muslims) retain indic values and are not jihadi like the muslims in pakistan. The paki fanatic muslims in the last 60 years have taken upon themselves to deny any connection to their heritage in India, and instead have started calling themselves as descendents of central asian rulers, and even of persians and of arab origin. Even common greetings like Khuda Hafiz or God be with you, has become Allah hafiz, which is the same in arabic!. Hope this helps somewhat...
220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 26, 2011, 07:57:33 AM
Hypothesis only: This is "page 16" news, that may have a story behind it.  As leader of the nuclear ummah, there is suggestion that Pak is storing/making/providing nuclear devices for use by the Saudi's. On and off, one hears reports that Paki planes/pilots are at the disposal of SA. Perhaps this facility is now being offered also to the Kuwaitis. It also jives with recent reports that paki nuclear arsenal is now greater than that of the UK. So how does a bankrupt country fund its nuclear program ?.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/124157/energy-crisis-pakistan-to-seek-free-oil-from-kuwait/

Energy crisis: Pakistan to seek free oil from Kuwait

By Shahbaz Rana
Published: February 26, 2011

Pakistan imports roughly 3.4 million tons of diesel oil annually from Kuwait, worth $2.5 billion. DESIGN: ESSA MALIK
ISLAMABAD: A day after authorities refused to increase domestic oil prices in line with the international market, President Asif Ali Zardari is scheduled to visit Kuwait to find a solution to the matter – which may include seeking free oil from the Gulf state.
The president, who on Friday flew to Kuwait on a two-day visit, will request the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, to supply half of the diesel fuel it exports to Pakistan for free while extending the credit period on the remaining 50 per cent, according to sources at the petroleum ministry.
In 1998, Pakistan was granted a similar facility by Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the country’s nuclear weapons tests, which resulted in economic sanctions from the United States and Europe. In 2008, however, the government’s attempts to seek such a facility from Iran were rebuffed.
The government faces a severe financial crunch, since international donor agencies have refused to grant any more aid to Pakistan until the government undertakes drastic reforms to the energy sector and tax collection mechanisms. The $11.2 billion loan facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been put on hold because of the government’s failure to deregulate energy prices – including oil – and levy the value added tax.
For the past three months, the government has refused to increase domestic retail oil prices owing to the growing unpopularity of the PPP-led administration, which feels that increasing fuel prices would be unpopular. During this time, international oil prices have risen by 16 per cent and are expected to continue rising as unrest in the Middle East continues. The decision to not increase oil prices has already cost the government Rs11 billion and is expected to take that cost to Rs24 billion in forgone petroleum taxes over the coming month owing to the president’s decision to hold domestic prices steady, despite the international rise.
Kuwait is the third largest exporter of oil to Pakistan, following Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Imports from Kuwait constitute 19 per cent of the country’s total oil imports.
Pakistan imports roughly 3.4 million tons of diesel oil annually from Kuwait, worth $2.5 billion, approximately three-fourth of total domestic consumption. If Kuwait agrees to provide half of its exports for free, it will cost approximately $1.2 billion, at current rates, in forgone revenue to the government-owned Kuwait Petroleum Company.
According to an existing agreement that will expire on December 31, 2011, Pakistan imports oil from Kuwait on two months’ deferred payments. Islamabad has sought a 30 day extension in the credit period and also wants to sign a new agreement for a period of two years.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2011.
221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 23, 2011, 07:54:34 PM
I found this insightful...http://nationalinterest.org/article/mutiny-grows-punjab-4889

Quote
If Pakistan is to be broken as a state, it will be on the streets of Lahore and other great Punjabi cities, not in the Pashtun mountains. By the same token, the greatest potential terrorist threat to the United States and its Western allies from the region stems not from the illiterate and isolated Pashtuns but from Islamist groups based in urban Punjab, with their far-higher levels of sophistication and their international links, above all to the Pakistani diaspora in the West.
222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 23, 2011, 07:47:44 PM
Found this old letter (see URL) by Rumsfeld...kind of direct. http://www.shahid-saeed.com/2011/02/transactional-relationship/

Transactional Relationship
by SHAHID on FEBRUARY 23, 2011
in HISTORY
I recently came across a story about former US Secretary of Defense and Nixon’s White House Chief of Staff, Donald Rumsfeld, having launched “The Rumsfeld Papers” – a collection of his memos and communications on his website. As little and as screened as they may be, it’s a great job and good resource for historians.

I quickly ran a search for terms relevant to Pakistan. There are small notes and memos, the earthquake rehabilitation and all, but one letter to Pervez Musharraf summarizes the basis of our relationship with the US as it was during those days and perhaps has been forever. You can call it a strategic relationship, you can call it an alliance of necessity, you might have had defence treaties, but in the end, the nuts and bolts say it’s a transactional relationship. Yes, people are trying to change that but break it down, it’s still a relationship of expedience, mistrust, skepticism and collaboration that relies on $$$$$.

Ever so wise ex-Major Butt (retd), reborn as Majorly Profound, summarized it in the wake of the Raymond Davis incident as:

Raymond Davis works for the CIA. CIA is an organization in the USA. USA pays all of Pakistan’s bills.
Yes, not all of them but that’s just semantics. So here’s the Rumsfeld memo sent on December 21, 2001 :-

Precise, to the point and straight-forward. No long ambiguous sentences to hide the real meaning. “Direct payments”, “forward an initial payment” and “further funds” – a relationship as business-like as there can be.
223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 17, 2011, 09:35:57 PM
The US is on its best behaviour...exactly what Pak wants.  After Raymond Davis is released....strikes will start with impunity...so why would they hurry to free him ?..In the meantime the aid package gets larger, no more drone strikes...paradise.

Analysis: Gap in Pakistan Predator strikes not unusual
By BILL ROGGIOFebruary 16, 2011


For over three weeks, the CIA's controversial covert air campaign that targets al Qaeda, Taliban, and allied terror groups' leaders and operatives in Pakistan's lawless and Taliban-controlled tribal areas has been silent. There has not been an airstrike by the armed, unmanned Predators and Reapers, or drones as they are more commonly called, for 25 days. This pause has sparked speculation that the US has halted the strikes for political reasons, but a look at the pace of the strikes over time shows that long pauses are not uncommon.

The current 23-day lull in strikes in Pakistan is the third-longest period of inactivity since the US ramped up the program in August 2008, according to data on the strikes compiled by The Long War Journal [a list of operational pauses that have been longer than eight days appears below].

The most recent strikes took place on Jan. 23, when the Predators and Reapers pounded al Qaeda and Taliban targets in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

The two most extended periods of operational inactivity so far have occurred in 2009. The longest recorded pause was 33 days, from Nov. 4 to Dec. 8, 2009. The second-longest pause was 28 days, from May 16 to June 14, 2009.

Also, there have been two other periods of time in which 20 or more days went by without a strike. Again, both operational pauses occurred in 2009: from Jan. 23 to Feb. 14 (21 days); and from Jan. 2 to Jan. 23 (20 days).

In 2010, there were two periods exceeding 15 days' time in which no Predator strikes occurred in Pakistan: from July 25 to Aug. 14 (19 days) ; and from June 29 to July 15 (15 days).

Since August 2008, there have been 24 periods of eight days or longer with no Predator strikes.

Most US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal were unwilling to discuss the reasons for the current pause in strikes, or previous strikes, citing operational security concerns. But weather in the region is known to be the primary reason for slowdowns in the strikes.

Pakistani news outlets have speculated that the pause in strikes is related to the arrest of Raymond Davis, the US consular official who shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore. Davis believed the men were trying to kill him, but Pakistani courts refuse to recognize his diplomatic status and release him. One theory is that the US is not launching Predator strikes while Davis is in custody lest an attack inflame Pakistani sentiments.

But US officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not link Davis' detention to the pause in strikes.



Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/02/analysis_gap_in_paki.php#ixzz1EHGClizN
224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 15, 2011, 07:57:27 PM
And right on cue, here is Ombaba with his http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Obama-admin-proposes-31-billion-for-Pakistan/articleshow/7499640.cms money sack, certainly pays to misbehave...
225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 14, 2011, 08:02:54 PM
If pak were to act on the taliban sanctuaries inside pak, that would solve americas immediate problems, allowing for an honorable withdrawal. With the US gone, the aid would likely diminish. Now why would the aid(s) addicted army want such an outcome ?. There is a moral hazard here, aid continues and increases only as long as the taliban are a problem. Side note: same issue in N.Korea, the more N.Korea misbehaves, the more aid we give. The solution obviously is to use a heavier stick, as opposed to a larger carrot.
226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 13, 2011, 08:25:57 PM
This article as well as other purelander boards that I follow, suggests that the common man (aka mango abdul in Indian defense forum lingo) has realized that the paki govt has given  the US the right to bomb its citizens in the NWFP/FATA territories in return for mucho $$.  Even worse the paki army bombs its own citizens and strafes them with F-16's. All this was acceptable, because the action was outside of pak's core regions. As the taliban moved into interior regions of pak proper (Lahore, karachi, Islamabad), and the pak govt was not interested in taking action, the US was forced to arm its own black water types and send them into battle along with paki forces, mostly to monitor that real "encounters" took place, as opposed to the sham fights. It seems that the numbers of these gun toting "diplomats" has increased tremendously in the last year or so. Raymond Davis is obviously a military type, who on paper has diplomatic cover. If the paki govt would have been smart, they would have immediately released him, but being paki, they wanted to milk the situation for all its worth. Now, that the jihadi types are agitating,  all bets are off.

Pak is addicted to US $$ support, the politicians loot the country and same goes for the army which gets billions in aid. The mango abdul suffers. Another paki trait is to negotiate by putting a gun to their own head, "give me money or I blow my brains out". At the moment its unthinkable that the US will stop supporting Pak, but if the US stops funding pak, there could be significant upheaval. The army will be forced to fund themselves from paki resources,  which means that whatever little goes to the common man, will stop almost completely....a recipe for social upheaval.
227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 13, 2011, 04:22:30 PM
Here is one perspective on life in Pureland.

The game preserve By Mohsin Hamid | From the Newspaper Yesterday

 
LAST summer in Lahore, I had a little party at my house for the final of the football World Cup. It was a pretty relaxed affair, maybe 20 people, cushions on the TV room floor, pizza on the dining room table. Some of my friends brought friends of their own.

One was an American man. He was wearing a light jacket. After he left, my wife told me he was also wearing a gun. Now, I’m open to my friends bringing their friends to my house. But I’m not very accepting of a friend bringing a gun — or, worse, bringing a complete stranger with a gun. Yet that’s what happened, and it left me angry and disturbed.

Like everyone else I knew, I’d heard the stories about large numbers of armed Americans in Lahore, staying at such-and-such hotels, for example, or working out at such-and-such gyms. Maybe I became more sensitive to their presence after the incident at my house, but suddenly I began to see them all around town. To be precise, I didn’t know if the men I was seeing were armed. But they looked like Americans, and they didn’t look like rock guitarists or maths teachers or irrigation specialists or heart surgeons. They looked, to my unschooled eye, like what I’d expect trained killers to look like.

(Of course it was possible that groups of non-violent, hard-faced, physically fit, all-male Swedish and Dutch and Spanish tourist groups with a niche interest not in ancient outdoor monuments but in the interiors of tacky hotels had descended on Lahore, but I thought this unlikely.)

Then, last month, in broad daylight on a main Lahore road, one such man, Raymond Davis, shot dead two Pakistani citizens with his Glock, and a US consular car sent to retrieve him killed another Pakistani citizen while speeding the wrong way down a street. Davis is being held by the Pakistani police, the US government is demanding that he be released and threatening to withhold aid to Pakistan if he is not, and the wife of one of the Pakistani men killed has committed suicide saying lucidly from her deathbed that her reason for doing so is that she does not expect Davis will be punished for his actions.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan government has tied itself up in obfuscatory knots over what should be the straightforward issue of whether Davis has diplomatic immunity, and therefore whether he can be tried in Pakistan.

So what is going on? Who is Raymond Davis, and what are people like him doing in Pakistan? I’ve read articles likening him to Rambo and RoboCop. But I believe another Hollywood film franchise metaphor is more apt. Predator.

The Raymond Davis affair has brought home what should have been obvious to us Pakistanis for a long time. Pakistan has become a game preserve, a place where deadly creatures are nurtured, and where hunters pay for the chance to kill them.

Here in the game preserve, money flows to the hunt. Pakistani extremists are funded, armed and trained. And American hunters, whether far away at the remote controls of Predator drones or on the ground in the form of men with the shooting skills of a Raymond Davis, operate under paid immunity. Want a blanket Tribal Area Hellfire missile licence? Well that might set you back the price of 18 new F-16s. An all-Lahore Glock licence to kill? Perhaps double-oh-seven billion in development aid.

But while the Pakistani population has until now grudgingly tolerated the notion of a game preserve limited to the Pak-Afghan border, the outcry over Raymond Davis has demonstrated that a game preserve encompassing the whole country strikes people as a different matter entirely.


Which puts both our governments in a bind. What are the warden-owners and hunter-consumers of a game preserve to do, after all, when the frogs and butterflies and trees and worms that make up the traumatised and hungry population of this land object to its current business model?

Because when I speak to my Pakistani friends the message I hear, though admittedly far from uniform, is nonetheless becoming increasingly clear. No more Pakistani extremists. No more American killers. And, if it comes to it, no more American aid either. We don’t want to live in a game preserve. We want to get on with our lives and build a future in peace for ourselves and our children.

The multi-billion dollar question is this: do the Pakistani and American governments — no, that term is too limited, focusing as it does mainly on our elected officials — do the Pakistani and American states have the capacity to listen?

If they do not, then the continued passivity of the long-neglected, inflation-gouged, and violence-subjected people of Pakistan is far from guaranteed. In the meantime, however, widespread reports that our country has produced a more-than-previously-estimated 100 nuclear warheads will surely increase the price of hunting permits.

The writer is the author of the novels Moth Smoke and The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: Nice shooting; is there a backstory? on: February 09, 2011, 07:25:50 PM

You ask is there a backstory. Very likely there is.
The longish link to Bharat-Rakshak, posted below, re: Pak is difficult to summarize (more suitable for a read on the plane ride), but it provides insights into the paqui mind. I do hope to however comment on the way pakilanders think. Thus, wrt to the shooting, its easy to understand, that they are holding out for more $$. Another possibility is that the issue will be used to make a swap, perhaps the MIT trained female terrorist under US custody (daughter of the paki nation), or perhaps the withdrawl of cases against General Pasha (head of ISI), which have been filed in NY, in connection with the Mumbai terrorist act. Another, possibility is H & D (honor and dignity), which has been shattered by Raymond Davis, the shooter. Afterall, its not often that ISI operatives get shot in their own country by americans. To extract more dollah, they are drumming up demonstrations http://ibnlive.in.com/news/us-suspends-all-highlevel-dialogue-with-pak/142751-2.html, see the photo (looks like Microsoft is involved  grin). Its also very strange that the wife of the ISI operative, poisoned herself with rat poisonhttp://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/02/06/pakistan.us.shooting/. More likely scenario is that ISI forced it down her throat (again, anything to maintain a facade of H&D, and extract more dollah). I am betting that they will release Davis soon, the game has gone on far too long. If they hold him too long, the jihadists could get involved, which would make it very messy.
229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 01, 2011, 07:38:03 PM
Should we be giving billions in aid to pak...since it allows them to redirect their own meagre resources to nuclear weapons.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/01/world/asia/01policy.html?_r=1
230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 27, 2011, 02:50:51 PM
Marc:
    I may have shared this with you earlier, if not pl. see this link
http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/EBOOKS/pfs.pdf

This is obviously written from the Indian POV, take it FWIW. But anyone reading this, would be leagues ahead in understanding Pakistan.

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