Posts tagged ‘Afghanistan’

December 28, 2011

A critical review and response to Najmuddin Shaikh’s “What does Pakistan want in Afghanistan?” – by Liaquat Ali Hazara

by admin


When we look at the history of Pakistan since its birth, we understand that a particular autocratic mindset has always to tried to keep the general public at bay in terms of having the reign in their own hands. With the time passing, this cunningness of deliberation gained momentum to leave the majority of stakeholders being ruled and taken-granted at all time. Just after a year of its

September 6, 2011

What arrogance, what delusion: Kamran Shafi’s rebuttal to Jinnah Institute’s report on the future of Afghanistan

by admin

SO then, 53 “carefully selected” and “chosen carefully Pakistani foreign policy elite” — retired civilian and military officials, analysts, journalists and civil society practitioners — with

December 23, 2010

A post on how to bring to end the conflict in Afghanistan – by TLW

by admin

Specially contributed to the LUBP, this post was first published at These Long Wars blog

Pakistan, Iran and Russia. The middle one completely hated by the US, the former and latter, sort of trusted. Russia must bring pressure to bear on it’s guys, remnants of the Northern Alliance, the Iranians have influence with the people who control Herat, and Pakistan has some very obvious links with the Taliban. All three agree, they don’t fight once the US leaves.

Chinese money is already in Afghanistan.

I don’t think they want to annex Afghanistan.

But the Chinese would like “stability” in Afghanistan.

India can continue to build roads, electricity poles,

Now there are a million things that could go wrong with a plan like this. The Order of Battle For Jihadi Islam Across the Durand Line covers the obvious suspects.

But as well as them, there are more people who can make things go off the rails.

1) The Pakistan military may either become expansionist (through it`s Taliban allies), the officers may be “swept along” by Taliban victories and want to let the Taliban move forward, or the Indian presence may be too provocative (prove to be an easy target), or the Indians may seem too powerful, and the Pakistanis just start attacking them wantonly, precipitating a Taliban drive for power.

2) Younger commanders on the ground start doing their own thing (killing opponents) whilst paying lip service to Mullah Umar (still in Pakistan). Sort of like how MQM sector commanders say they listen to their leaders at the top of the party, but kill local rivals nonetheless, physically strengthening the MQM’s position, whilst simultaneously threatening a larger war with either the government, the ANP or the PPP. The younger Taliban commanders could start killing off local rivals, threatening an escalation to a larger war.

3) The Americans may simply go apeshit at the prospect of peace at the hands of the Iranians and Russians. Although why they would scuttle this only as a matter of pride or irrationality is inexplicable, although expectable considering their past involving Iraq 2003.

4) There is also the fact that the success of the Taliban in Afghanistan was bought on the backs of regiments of Pakistani soldiers who were ordered to use their mechanised equipment, and provide close air support to the Taliban. It was this developed military approach that bought the Taliban success against the Northern Alliance. How easy or difficult would it be for the Pakistan Military to restart such a program, where they bought their equipment into Afghanistan and used it to pound the Afghan National Army until it collapsed?

There are possible answers to these troubling scenarios.

1) Pakistan has suffered multiple casualties at the hands of religious extremists; there may be little tolerance for more religious nutjobs to take the helm of Afghanistan, killing fellow Afghans AFTER the US withdraws.

2) The Afghan Taliban may keep themselves “together” (or as much together as a disparate guerrilla movement can) and the younger commanders may be reeled in by the now, very old, 90’s Taliban leadership, who *might* be feeling tired of war. That is a big *might*. Much of the senior leadership has fought in the Soviet-Afghan Jihad, the Afghan civil war, and now the US occupation of Afghanistan. They have faced down the Warsaw Pact, all manner of other Afghans and NATO. It just might be possible that they may be feeling tired of war. A wild card would be the question, would Pakistan provide the same sort of all around military support for a new drive by the Afghan Taliban? I will adress that as well.

3) The Americans cannot possibly be this stupid, as to toss away peace in Afghanistan, especially when they give the impression of being trapped there, and news leaking out constantly of them negotiating with the Taliban. Even fakers like the silly greedy “Mullah” Mansoor, of Quetta shopkeeping fame. Now the Americans are pounding the Afghan border and Khyber Agency in frustration, whilst the young commanders are quietly in hiding.

4) This is the hardest, would the Pakistan military bring in it’s artillery, tanks and close air support to aid the Afghan Taliban. You’re asking me to predict the future, and to be honest, maybe, one could hope that not this time around. The Pakistan military must be reminded of it’s mental limitations, it’s capacity for stupidity at every turn, and told to keep away from adventures in Afghanistan. For God’s sake, tell them to look at their casualty lists for just the last three years.

Peace in Afghanistan, and the regularisation of FATA’s status (possibly as a separate province, but also possibly as a place where regular law applies, that could join Pakhtunkhwa) must be made a serious, serious policy plank of the PML-N, the PPP, the ANP, the MQM and just about every Baloch political organisation that exists. Only together can they make the Pakistan military comply. I appeal to the PPP, the PML-N, the ANP, the MQM, and the electoral competitors of Balochistan to pressure and fight towards this. It is our future.

December 22, 2010

Three high ranking TTP officials killed in Afghanistan

by admin

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Hafizullah and two of his aides were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, according to official sources.

Hafeezullah was the head of the TTP in the Upper and Lower Dir areas of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province before the military operation began. He was believed to have gone into hiding in Afghanistan.

Initial reports suggest that the TTP militants were killed by a coordinated Nato drone strike.

According to Express 24/7 correspondent Iftikhar Firdous, both of Hafeezullah’s aides were high ranking officials in the TTP. The aides, Dr Wazir and Muftahudin alias Shabbar, had been apprehended in Pakistan before but were set free after a peace deal in Swat. Shabbar was known for carrying out public executions.

Hafeezullah was known for a number of suicide bombings in Dir, one of them being a suicide bomb in which three Americans among others were killed. He had then personally called local reporters to claim responsibility for the attack.

December 13, 2010

Beyond nation states: Union of South and Central Asia (USCA) – by Shiraz Paracha

by admin


The death and destruction in name of nation state has taught the West to discard the narrow concept of nation state, however, in some parts of the world, the West is encouraging separatist movements and ethnic groups which aspire to create new states driven by ethnicity.

The idea of ethnocentric nation states is a recipe for disaster in regions where ethnicity is a form of tribalism and societies are under developed in social and economic terms.

The institution of nation state emerged in Europe nearly 300 years ago and has been the cause of bloody conflicts. Millions of Europeans died in useless wars when narrow ethnic nationalism turned the continent into a sea of hatred.

Since the 1789 French Revolution, Europe went through many wars in which different European nations fought against each other for the ethnic and racial superiority of their states.

The French Republic gave a new and sacred place to the State in the lives of ordinary citizens and loyalty to the State became important than all other loyalties. Citizens and soldiers lived and died for the State.

Nationalism was at its peak in the 19th century newly industrialized Europe. European powers competed for influence and colonized vast areas of the world. In the first half of the 20th century two World Wars were fought, mostly among Europeans, to settle the issue of racial superiority and prestige of nation states.

The Second World War, however, weakened imperial Europe. Consequently, maintaining direct control of colonies became very costly. Nonetheless, before receding from the colonies, European masters sowed seeds of hatred in the occupied regions. The European nation state model was applied to colonies, which were pre-industrial societies with different historical and cultural experiences.


The nation state experiment divided cultural and ethnic communities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East and led to conflicts around the world that exist till date.

After the end of the Second World War, several dozen newly independent states emerged on the foundations of mistrust, hatred and division. The creation of India and Pakistan is just one example.

Western colonial powers used religion as well as ethnicity to establish new states.

A new Jewish state should have been established in Europe as Christian Europe was guilty of crimes against Jews but with the American support, the British created the artificial state of Israel in the middle of the Arab world, using faith as a pretext. Since the birth of Israel the Middle East has been bleeding.

The British oversaw the creation of Israel and Pakistan, in both cases faith was the main motive behind the establishment of the new states, interestingly, the same United Kingdom denies rights of Catholics in the British occupied Northern Ireland.

The West applies different principles in different situations and regions. NATO separated Kosovo from Serbia by force but, paradoxically, Basque nationalists in Spain and France are denied the same right. Basques want a separate state but the French and the Spanish governments proscribe the Basque party, ETA, as a terrorist group. Western ‘terrorist lists’ are not objective. As long as an ethnic group serves Western interests it can be labelled as freedom fighters even if it is involved in violence and human rights violations.

Europe and the United States encourage and support the Chechens separatist in Russia, the Tamils of Sri Lanka and the Kurds in Turkey, Iran and Iraq in their struggles for separate states. The above mentioned ethnic groups use violent means to achieve their goal.

The West supports creation of new ethnic states but the institution of nation state is in crisis because much has changed since 1789. In the 20th century dozens of new states sprung up on the world map and older nation states remodelled themselves yet the ‘crisis of nation state’ continues. Despite modernization, nation state seems to be a redundant institution in its purist or classical form.

Globalization is the biggest threat to nation state as global markets have replaced national markets. Privatization has given immense power to corporations and now they transcend national borders. Capital knows no boundaries and can flow from one part of the world to another with one click. Instant and the free flow of capital and economic interdependence have reduced the power and prestige of nation states. Global trade and travel demand new structures and revision of social contracts.

Moreover, communication revolution that started in the second half the 20th century has changed the world and in many ways. The pace of the change is very fast and increasing number of people feel that they can simultaneously belong to global and local cultures.

The above factors have provoked a debate about the future of nation state. Nation states may not diminish completely but their power to control or influence national economies and governing systems will certainly decrease dramatically.

Against this backdrop, Europe has moved away from the strict concept of nation state by establishing a supranational body, the European Union (EU). Now European nationalism is culturally different from the political nationalism of the 19th century. The EU members showcase nationalism in cultural expressions but the key political decisions are made at international bodies and are not the sole prerogative of national state institutions. National boundaries and territorial issues no longer cause hysteria in Europe.

Ironically, though, in non-Western regions demands for new ethnocentric states are encouraged. Pakistan is an interesting example where some groups, including a section of the Taliban, are using religion and ethnicity to create a greater Pushtoon state comprising Pushtoon areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some reports suggest that NATO and the United States support the creation of Pushtoonistan or Pukhtunistan.

At the same time, struggle for the establishment of a new Baloch state that will be home to ethnic Balochs of Iran and Pakistan continues.

Separate Muslim identity had played a key role in the birth of Pakistan; however, the Pakistan movement was an expression of political nationalism as different ethnic groups from across the Indian Subcontinent had taken part in the Pakistan movement.

Nonetheless, areas included in Pakistan were also home to culturally homogeneous ethnic communities. In the following years, the Pakistani nationalism, which was political in nature, found itself at odds with the cultural nationalism that existed in Pakistan before the creation of the country.

During the most part of its 63 year turbulent history, Pakistan has been governed and controlled by the military. The Pakistani military believes in the centralization of power and has been playing the fear card to maintain its grip over power. The military has been trying to manufacture a common national identity using religion and suppressing cultural identities.

The policy of fear backfired and disenchanted ethnic groups revolted against coercion, and the centralization of power and resources. The Bengalis in East Pakistan took the lead and succeeded in establishing Bangladesh in 1971. It was a bitter lesson for the Pakistan Army.

During the Cold War, Pukhtunistan was a sensitive issue between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan claimed that the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan was part of Afghanistan as people on the both sides of the British drawn Durand Line were the same, Pushtoons.

Since the 1950s, the fear of Pushtoon and Baloch states has played a central role in Pakistan’s foreign policy. Pakistan has been seeking influence in Afghanistan to neutralize the demand for a Pushtoon state.

Since the NATO occupation of Afghanistan, suggestions of Pushtoon and Baloch states have resurfaced. This time the United States and NATO seem to be endorsing the plans for the new ethnic states. India, too, has obtained full access in the NATO-controlled Afghanistan. Islamabad obviously feels bewildered.

But redrawing political map in the parts of South and Central Asia with the help of foreign forces is an absurd idea. It will result in endless bloodshed and instability in the whole region. NATO which is looking for ways to escape Afghanistan could be stuck into ethnic conflicts for decades.

NATO and the US presence in the region is the root cause of tensions. If Western masters pushed an agenda that would divide Afghanistan and Pakistan along ethnic lines, it will be a grave mistake and will create problems that would be beyond anybody’s control.

Pushtoons are not a nation in political terms as they do not adhere to a single political ideology and values. For example, a large number of Pashtoons support the Taliban. Due to the mass support in the Pashtoon areas of Afghanistan, the Taliban are still key players in the Afghan politics. At the same time, secular and nationalist Pashtoons are another shade of the same ethnic group. Therefore like any other ethnic and cultural community, Pashtoons are a distinctive cultural group which exists for hundreds of years. They speak common language and have their own traditions.

Pakistan and Afghanistan, on the other hand, are political nations. An Afghan could be a Pushtoon, Uzbek or Tajik. And people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds are members of the Pakistani nation. The majority of Pakistanis follow the same faith and common languages of communication are Urdu and English. All regions of Pakistan are economically interdependent and there are other strong political and cultural bonds that make Pakistan a nation.

Pashtoon or Baloch states can be created either by the will of all Pashtoons and Baloch or by military means.
Many Pushtoons and Balochs are very proud Pakistanis and all of them may not support the creation of separate Pushtoon or Baloch states.

Former East Pakistan was geographically apart from the West Pakistan and Bengalis had strong political aspirations and yet the powerful and popular Awami League had contested the 1970 election on the slogans of more political autonomy rather than complete independence.

At the moment, no separatist or nationalist political party in the provinces of Khyber Pukhtoonkhawa or Balochistan enjoys popular support that would translate into the establishment of separate states.

On the other hand, if created with the help of foreign military support, the new ethnic states will be security states dependent on their foreign sponsors for a long time.

Similarly, the survival of the new landlocked Pushtoon state, for instance, will depend on Pakistan, but maintaining friendly relations with a foreign sponsored breakaway part will not be possible for the remaining Pakistani state.

Most important of all, future new and smaller states are unlikely to stand up to pressures of international monetary and trade systems and will be unable to defend their national interests unless they are part of strong groupings of states. To meet the challenges and pressures of globalization, nations and communities that share land and resources or other common grounds will have to form alliances to defend their interests in a globalized world.

The Scottish Nationalist Party, for example, hopes that Scotland will become an independent state very soon. Even so, the independence will not make a big difference for the citizens of the new Scottish state because being EU citizens, they will still be able to live and work in Scotland as well as in England. In future, EU member countries are likely to manage local affairs, including promotion of local cultures. Major decisions will be taken at international bodies and by supranational states.

In the 21st century, the South and Central Asian region can develop its own model of integration. Geography, natural and human resources as well as cultural and historical similarities offer opportunities to forge new economic, social and political bonds among the countries of the South and Central Asian region.

Europeans are strangers in the region but people of Central Asia share culture and history with South Asian people. There is a great potential of mutual trade and economic connectivity that would lead to social and cultural harmony in the region.

If South and Central Asian states could introduce internal reforms guaranteeing equal rights and opportunities to different ethnic and cultural communities living within those states, it will be a move towards stability and bright future of the whole region.

On the external front, the South and Central Asian states can engage in a serious dialogue on the possibility of establishing a supranational body or alliance of South and Central states that could be a Union of South and Central Asia (USCA) or South and Central Asian Union (SCAU).

The proposed block can include the six Central Asian and the seven South Asian countries plus Iran. The Union can develop partnership with China and Russia and could be a sister organization of the Shanghai Corporation Organization (SCO).

The new alliance should form a single trade zone with uniform custom duties and taxes, and flexible immigration rules for traders and labour.

Many countries in the region spend huge sum of their resources on defence but if the new alignment turns into a reality defence budgets can be heavily reduced and the money can be diverted to social and economic development of the people.

The West may consider the new block a threat to its strategic and economic interests because such a development could reduce Western influence in the region. The West could also be deprived from Central Asian natural resources as the energy would flow eastward to South Asia and China. Therefore the West is likely to oppose the creation of such a block and may use divide and rule tactics to stop it.

Besides, it would be naive to ignore the existence of serious clash of interests or conflicts among the countries of South and Central Asia. Also ethnic divisions and other misunderstandings in region are serious challenges but future economic and political benefits of establishing an alliance of South and Central Asian states outweighs such differences and divisions.

Shiraz Paracha is a journalist and analysts. His email address is: shiraz_paracha@hotmail.com

December 12, 2010

A question for Pakistanis in favour of "reconciliation" with the Afghan Taliban

by admin


In recent months, as Western despair over the Afghanistan war has increased, there has been a chorus of voices suggesting reconciliation of the Taliban leadership is the only path to end the Afghan war. It is quite natural that those in the West who do not wish to outright say that the war effort in Afghanistan has been a failure, and do not wish to suggest to the governments of NATO countries that failure should be acknowledged and that the troops should retreat in defeat, should wish to present reconciliation as a means to achieve some sort of positive settlement. No one likes to concede military defeat, and those advocating for military drawdown and reconciliation with the Taliban know that it would be a non-starter to try to sell their plan as acknowledgement of defeat and how best to manage it.

That is fine. There are legitimate reasons for those in the West to realize that their efforts in Afghanistan have been unsuccessful. But what is more interesting to me is that in today’s globalized world, a number of Pakistanis have joined in this chorus of anti-war voices. You have former generals like Mirza Aslam Beg claiming that the war is over, that the Afghan resistance has won. You have leftists who may or may not celebrate the victory of the Afghan resistance (since they certainly don’t share a common worldview with it) but who refuse to see beyond the need to expel the imperialist US from Afghanistan and what they perceive as its encroachment on Pakistan and finally you have Pakistani nationalists of the liberal persuasion who see the US occupation of Afghanistan as the root cause of the wave of terror that’s engulfed Pakistan and who believe that an end to the US occupation will result in an end to Pakistan’s problems.

The first group, i.e. the victorious generals who hope to ride to Central Asia, Kashmir and beyond on the backs of their “proxy warriors” even while their military families and subordinates in the army are under attack by the ideological cousins of these proxy warriors can be dismissed as simply irrational. Through a combination of their own special brand of Islamism mixed with nationalism and what they perceive to be “pragmatism” they are headed down a suicidal path and they are trying their best to take the rest of the country along with them. The second two groups, however, are worthy of debating with. They genuinely believe that the root cause of the Islamist insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan lies with the actions of the Imperialist West. Indeed it would be difficult to argue that without the money and resources from the first Afghan Jihad in the 80s, the jihadist machine in Pakistan and Afghanistan could have come up on its own. However, it is a real leap of logic to assert that the West today is the same West of the 80s which funded and raised the Islamists. The US today is clearly in direct conflict with its former proteges in the GHQ who are attempting to shield their strategic assets from drone strikes in North Waziristan. Political realities change and the leftists who believe that the US created the original jihadist monster and so its withdrawal from Afghanistan will result in its end are either not thinking the situation through or are motivated simply by opposition to the US, no matter which way the US is oriented. When the US leaves Afghanistan, who will pressure the Pakistani GHQ to stop supporting its strategic assets that launch attacks into Afghanistan? Who will pressure Pakistan’s ISI to stop sponsoring terrorist attacks in Kabul? Who will pressure Pakistan to stop attempting to overturn the Karzai government and from repeating its war of attrition against the Najibullah regime in the early 90s?

The question is, for Pakistanis who claim to be oppposed to the military’s hegemony over political and foreign policy, how do they justify their tactical alliance with the triumphant generals of the Aslam Beg persuasion who are cheering on the retreat of the US from Afghanistan? Do they genuinely believe that reconciliation with the Quetta Shura can be successful? Do they genuinely believe that by giving the Afghan Taliban a share in the political process in Afghanistan that the political process can be preserved in any recognizable form of representative government? What do Pakistanis who urge the Afghan government to reconcile with the Quetta Taliban really want? Would they accept a similiar exhortation from others to involve the TTP in the political process in Pakistan? Does anyone genuinely believe that by giving the TTP or Lashkar-e-Jhangvi a stake in the political process in Islamabad that the insurgency in Pakistan can be brought to an end? In the words of Amrullah Saleh, the former director of the NDS and one of the most disliked Afghans by most nationalist Pakistanis because of his negative views on the Pakistani sponsorship of terror in Afghanistan: “they [the Taliban] will die in democracy, they will die in a country where law is ruling, not guns, not IEDs, not the spread of fear and intimidation.”” How many Pakistanis who readily advocate “reconciliation” in Afghanistan would agree to these words by Saleh if they were applied to Maulana Fazlullah, or Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, or Maulana Masood Azhar? How many Pakistanis who would be horrified at giving any of the above-mentioned mass-murderers a stake in Pakistani politics are eager and willing to suggest that Afghanistan – because it is an uncivilized nation unlike Pakistan – should give its own mass-murderers a stake in their fragile political setup even while they are involved in a war against the Afghan state.

I do not wish to condemn Pakistanis who support an early end to the Afghan war. I personally do not believe that the Afghan war effort is a successful one from a US perspective or is a conflict that can be won and if I were from the US I would probably support an early end to the conflict as well. However, I do not believe that the facts on the ground support the cosy conclusion that a swift end to the Afghan conflict will result in a reduction of Pakistan’s domestic problems with extremism. If anything, if one is to compare the present situation to the period preceding the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the period following a US withdrawal will result in a massive increase in extremism, a belief by the Taliban and their supporters that they have achieved victory over not one, but two superpowers and with that, a sense of triumph and renewed zeal for establishing their Islamic state across Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In short, Pakistan has its own political problems that cannot be simply reduced to a struggle against Western imperialism. It would be unwise to deny agency to Pakistan’s own actors who stand to benefit from an early US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Therefore I just wish for these Pakistani advocates of “reconciliation” to take a look at their own motivations. Oftentimes when a political position is too comfortable – i.e. when it makes one feel self-satisfied on all accounts – one should be suspicious of it. In this case, there is a self-satisfying feeling of being a good global leftist and a nationalist Pakistani at the same time. There is something suspicious about how well these two sentiments merge and Pakistanis who genuinely fear the rise of Islamists in our part of the world should think twice about throwing their lot in with the global anti-war movement and all its rhetoric.

December 12, 2010

Pakistan "not willing " to obliterate terrorist havens on its soil: US intelligence report

by admin

Related article:

Online factories of suicide bombers: An ISI production

Amrullah Saleh, who led Afghanistan’s spy agency from 2004 until earlier this year, told a Washington conference Thursday that the key to defeating the Taliban is cutting off its support from Pakistan.

“Demobilize them, disarm them, take their headquarters out of the Pakistani intelligence’s basements,” Saleh said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday, in no uncertain terms, castigated Pakistan for using terror as a tool to fulfill its political objectives.

Addressing a joint press conference with visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Merkel said Germany would extend its fullest cooperation to India in battling militancy.

She added: “Our intention is also to talk to Pakistan to make clear that terror is not a means to an end when it comes to helping solve political problems. It is unacceptable and that Germany will cooperate with India very closely in this particular area.”

The German Chancellor said that during her one-to-one talks with the Indian Prime Minister and the delegation-level talks that followed, the situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region was discussed in great detail, as also the future of enhancing security in South Asia.

Pak not willing to destroy terrorists’ havens:

Meanwhile New U.S. intelligence reports paint a bleak picture of the security conditions in Afghanistan and say the war cannot be won unless Pakistan roots out militants on its side of the border, according to several U.S. officials who have been briefed on the findings.

The reports, one on Afghanistan, the other on Pakistan, could complicate the Obama administration’s plans to claim this week that the war is turning a corner. But U.S. military commanders have challenged the conclusions, saying they are based on outdated information that does not take into account progress made in the fall, says a senior U.S. official who is part of the review process.

The analyses were detailed in briefings to the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, and some of the findings were shared with members of the House Intelligence Committee, officials said.

All the officials interviewed spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the classified documents.

The reports, known as National Intelligence Estimates, are prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and used by policymakers as high up as the president to understand trends in a region. The new reports are the first ones done in two years on Afghanistan and six years on Pakistan, officials said. Neither the director’s office nor the CIA would comment on either report.

The new report on Afghanistan cites progress in “inkspots” where there are enough U.S. or NATO troops to maintain security, such as Kabul and parts of Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Much of the rest of the country remains Taliban-controlled, or at least vulnerable to Taliban infiltration, according to an official who read the executive summary.

The report contains public opinion polling that finds Afghans are ambivalent – as willing to cut a deal with the Taliban as they are to work with the Americans, the official said.

It also shows U.S. efforts are lagging to build infrastructure and get trained security forces to areas where they are needed, the official said. And it says the war cannot be won unless Pakistan is willing to obliterate terrorist safe havens in its lawless tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.


The new report on Pakistan concludes that the Pakistani government and military “are not willing to do that,” says one U.S. official briefed on the analysis.

The document says Pakistan’s government pays lip service to cooperating with U.S. efforts against the militants, and still secretly backs the Taliban as a way of hedging its bets in order to influence Afghanistan after a U.S. departure from the region.

In describing the Afghanistan report, military officials said there is a disconnect between the findings, completed in the fall, and separate battlefield assessments done by the war commander, Gen. David H. Petraeus, and others that contain more up-to-date and sometimes more promising accounts.

A military official familiar with the reports said the gloomier prognosis in the Afghanistan report became a source of friction as a preliminary version was passed among government agencies.

Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged the contrast between the Afghan estimate and Petraeus’ reports.

“It’s a very disciplined, structured process, so it’s got a cutoff date that’s substantially earlier in the game than, say, the military review,” Cartwright said in a recent interview.

While the intelligence assessments show the Obama administration may still be struggling to change Pakistani behavior, former Obama war adviser Bruce Riedel disputes the hypothesis that the war cannot be won if Pakistan doesn’t close terrorist sanctuaries.

“If the U.S. continues to strengthen the Afghan state and army, that may force Pakistan to reconsider its support for the Taliban,” said Riedel, a former CIA officer and author of the forthcoming book, Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad.

December 4, 2010

Leaks disclose secrets of in-camera sessions; is Pakistan really playing double game?

by admin

“It’s a bombshell,” says the historian Timothy Garton-Ash in a Guardian video on the released of the cables. “It’s the most extraordinary window into how American diplomacy works.”

Founded by secretive Australian Julian Assange, Wikileaks was originally based in Sweden and garnered 1.2 million leaked documents in time for its launch in January 2007. It taps in to the world’s web users’ desire either for justice or revenge on former employers or acquaintances, but its most significant stories have been held up as largely in the public interest.

The leaks are actual transcripts of messages exchanged among various governments. The founder of WikiLeaks did not conceive, concoct or formulate them. WikiLeaks are based on actual facts and ground realities and we including our military and civilian leadership know this very well.

According to recent dispatches from WikiLeaks besides its diplomatic disclosures, has also disclosed the secrets of in-camera sessions of the parliament pertaining to Kashmir and extremist elements in Pakistan, Geo News reported on Saturday.

In its disclosure, WikiLeaks, citing an anonymous source, has stated that ISI informed the parliamentarians and senior officials of the government about some qualities of Taliban elements. The spy agency also informed them about real extremists.

In the briefing, it was stated that some elements in the extremists’ groups would be useful in Kashmir or operation at some other places. The source said that there was difference of opinion among the participants of the in-camera session over this.

Earlier Wikileaks reveals Pakistan’s support for Taliban and the videos and report’s findings accuse the Pakistani establishment for playing double game, now a question is whether the Pakistani Establishment is playing double game? Or we believe on state’s stance that Pakistan is not supporting Taliban and it is a wrong notion.Let’s see one video(Wikileaks on the Pakistani double game) and related reports and try to examine what Wikileaks and foreign media really suggest and claim?

The revelations by WikiLeaks emerged as Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned of greater NATO casualties in Afghanistan as violence mounts over the summer.

It also came as the Taliban said they were holding captive one of two U.S. servicemen who strayed into insurgent territory, and that the other had been killed. The reported capture will further erode domestic support for America’s 9-year-old war.

Contained in more than 90,000 classified documents, the Wikileaks revelations could fuel growing doubts in Congress about U.S. President Barack Obama’s war strategy at a time when the U.S. death toll is soaring…

Pakistan was actively collaborating with the Taliban in Afghanistan while accepting U.S. aid, new U.S. military reports showed, a disclosure likely to increase the pressure on Washington’s embattled ally.

The US military has launched an inquiry to find the source of tens of thousands of classified American documents on the war in Afghanistan that were leaked to the media (they’re from the US military, duh!) .

Wikileaks reveals Afghan civilian deaths – Thousands of secret military documents have been leaked, revealing details of incidents when civilians were killed by coalition troops in Afghanistan.

The cache contains more than 90,000 US records giving a blow-by-blow account of fighting between January 2004 and December 2009.

Wikileaks documents show Pakistan and Taliban link , Afghanistan war logs: our selection of significant incidents
and Key findings from the WikiLeaks “Afghan War Diaries” -

•The C.I.A.’s paramilitary operations are expanding in Afghanistan
•The Taliban has used portable, heat-seeking missiles against Western aircraft
Americans suspect Pakistan’s spy service of guiding Afghan insurgency

Mapping US drone and Islamic militant attacks in Pakistan
Daily View: WikiLeaks’ Afghanistan war logs
Wikileaks Afghanistan files: every IED attack, with co-ordinates
Wikileaks founder defends war files leak

Explosive Leaks Provide Image of War from Those Fighting It

Obituary:Benazir Bhutto – Benazir Bhutto followed her father into politics, and both of them died because of it – he was executed in 1979, she fell victim to an apparent suicide bomb attack.
Her two brothers also suffered violent deaths. Like the Nehru-Gandhi family in India, the Bhuttos of Pakistan are one of the world’s most famous political dynasties. Benazir’s father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was prime minister of Pakistan in the early 1970s.
His government was one of the few in the 30 years following independence that was not run by the army.

Report: Bin Laden Already Dead and Who’s keeping the terror myth alive?

Guardian.co.uk – one of the titles that was given access to the files before publication and collaborated with WikiLeaks in interpreting them – has a wide range of text and video coverage, a comprehensive map and a snappy video of the Frontline press conference.

What Taliban leader could tell about ISI: Classified By: Anne W. Patterson for reasons 1.4 (b) (d) Feb 26, 2010

American anxiety over the fate of Mullah Brader, a Taliban leader captured in Karachi in February 2010. A court decision preventing Brader’s extradition to Afghanistan comes amid renewed anti-American hostility in the media. The Americans speculate that the Pakistanis might swap Brader for a Baloch nationalist leader hiding in Kabul, but feel he ‘knows too much’.

The Beradar arrest was raised at a February 24 tripartite meeting of FBI Director Robert Mueller, Minister Rehman Malik of the Pakistan Ministry of Interior, and Minister Atmar Hanif of the Afghan Ministry of Interior in Islamabad. There was no agreement from either side about the transfer of “wanted persons.”

In the meeting, Malik provided a list of Pakistan’s Most Wanted to Atmar, and requested the same from Atmar. Malik named one of the Most Wanted, known Baloch separatist Bramdagh Bugti, and asked Atmar to assist in locating the individual and returning him to Pakistan. Malik also stated that both countries had expressed interest in passing prisoner lists naming the nationals of one country being detained by the other country. Atmar said his government did not know where the Baloch separatists were located and would need more information from the GOP (Government of Pakistan) to find them.

December 1, 2010

Russia leads Eurasia – by Shiraz Paracha

by admin

The United States faces embracement as leaders from 56 countries, including head of states and governments gather for a two-day international summit in Central Asia.

After a gap of 11 years, the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is holding its summit in Astana, a shiny but frosty capital of Kazakhstan, which is the rotating Chair of the OSCE for 2010.

The United States considered Kazakhstan ‘unfit’ to lead the OSCE. In the U.S eyes, Kazakhstan held a poor record in areas of governance, democratic reforms and human rights, a commonly applied charge sheet against non-Western countries and the so-called third basket of the OSCE agenda.

Kazakhstan, however, was determined to achieve the goal. There was a substantial support for Kazakhstani chairmanship among the European Union (EU) members. The EU is very keen to have broader and deeper ties with the resource-rich Central Asian state. In 2007, Kazakhstan assured its European partners in Madrid, Spain, that it would meet all the OSCE standards.

Julie Finley, the U.S. ambassador to the OSCE from 2005 to 2009, however, continued to oppose the Kazakhstani ambition but eventually the United States had to accept Kazakhstan as the 2010 Chair of the OSCE. Several factors may have led Washington to budge and give a green signal for the ‘crowning’ of Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan is a vast country that borders China, Russia and Central Asian states. The U.S cannot afford to offend or ignore a state with a strategically important location and huge hydrocarbon reserves and precious mineral resources.

Secondly, in comparison to the West’s old rival Russia, it is easier for the United States and the West to deal with Kazakhstan.

In the 1970s, the Soviet Union had initiated an East-West dialogue that led to the creation of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), the predecessor of the OSCE. The Soviet proposed talks on economic cooperation in Europe were held at Dipoli in Helsinki in 1972. The outcome of the talks was “The Blue Book” and the 35-member CSCE in 1973 and later the Helsinki Final Act.

After the end of the Cold War, the CSCE was renamed into the OSCE; however, Russia became suspicious of the organization’s aims and viewed it as an anti-Russia body that was promoting Western interests.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has been a staunch critic of the OSCE. He believed that the OSCE was ineffective and biased and an instrument to promote the foreign policy interests of one or a group of countries.

Nevertheless, recently the OSCE has been accommodating Russian concerns and Moscow, too, is less critical of the organization. Some Western commentators fear that the Russian influence in the OSCE has increased, particularly in the past two years. There are reasons for the change.

NATO and the United States are stuck in Afghanistan. Out of the 56 OSCE member states 43 are involved in Afghanistan. The Afghan factor, perhaps, has forced Washington and Brussels to adopt a soft approach towards Russia and Central Asia. NATO has been facing difficulties in Afghanistan due to insecure and unstable supply routes through Pakistan. Air supplies via Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan are not enough.

For the continuation of the NATO Afghan adventure, alternate land connectivity to Afghanistan through Russia and Central Asia is a vital goal. The United States and NATO have been courting Russia and Central Asian states for access to Afghanistan from the north. Kazakhstan is the leader of Central Asia and it can help NATO and the U.S in transit facility through Central Asia.

In this backdrop, a change of heart seems to have occurred in the United States. Now the ‘land of the free’ has a high opinion of Kazakhstan. Former U.S ambassador to the OSCE Julie Finley has recently praised Astana and said that the Kazakh Chairmanship of the OSCE has been successful. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is attending the OSCE Summit along with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and dozens of other world leaders.

As the OSCE Chair Kazakhstan has proved that the U.S was wrong in judging Astana. In fact, Kazakhstan as the first Muslim nation, the first Central Asian country and the first former Soviet republic has performed exceptionally well in providing leadership and guidance to the OSCE on several important issues and conflicts.

Afghanistan tops the agenda of the Astana Summit. Kazakhstan has a different perspective on Afghanistan, while attending the NATO summit in Lisbon, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan said: “Peace in Afghanistan is not possible only by military means.” Kazakhstan has been working closely with the Afghan government in non-military areas.

This year, the foreign minister of Kazakhstan Kanat Saudabayev visited Afghanistan three times. Kazakhstan is helping in infrastructure development in Afghanistan and Afghan medical and police officials are also receiving trainings in Kazakhstan.

Violent inter-ethnic clashes in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan earlier this year were another test of Kazakhstan’s leadership. Astana handled a sensitive and dangerous situation wisely and helped in controlling the violence.

President Nazarbayev and foreign minister Saudabayev turned the OSCE platform for the political dialogue on resolving the crisis in Kyrgyzstan. Special consultations were held with the other OSCE members such as Russia, Spain, Lithuania, Germany, France, Turkey as well as the United Nations.

Months later, mostly peaceful parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan demonstrated that Kazakhstan is an anchor of stability in Central Asia. Maintaining peace and stability in Kyrgyzstan will be discussed at the Summit, President Roza Otunbayeva of Kyrgyzstan is in Astana for the Summit.

Regional conflicts such as in Georgia, Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh are also expected to be on the table in Astana. Russia considers the former Soviet space as its ‘special sphere of influence’ and has been very sensitive about the West’s involvement in these conflicts. Azerbaijan is keen to find a settlement of its dispute with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh and Turkey backs the Azeri position but a major breakthrough on this issue is unlikely at the Astana Summit.

Thirty five years ago at the peak of the Cold War, the Soviet Union had launched a sincere effort of a meaningful dialogue between the East and the West but it did not succeed because the other side’s aim was to wipe out the Soviet Union from the World map. The West achieved its aim in 1991 with the split of the Soviet Union and soon after that the OSCE, the brainchild of the Soviet leaders, was on the mission to export the Western brand of democracy into all former republics. The mission, however, has been a spectacular failure.

The OSCE Summit in Kazakhstan coincides with the anniversary of the 1975 Helsinki Act. It provides Russia and Central Asia an opportunity to have a bigger say in the Eurasian affairs and establish a much needed balance between the Western greed of more power and control and non-Western needs. Russia will push for the OSCE reform at the Summit that will give Russia more leverage in Eurasian affairs.

The West has been bogged down in Afghanistan and needs Russian and Kazakhstani help for a safe passage. Capitalist system is losing credibility very fast and the resulting economic crisis is a matter of grave concern for the West. Blinded by their oil and energy needs, arrogant Western countries are, now, somewhat pragmatic and realistic about the significance of emerging powers of Eurasia.

Shiraz Paracha is a journalist and analyst. He can be reached at: shiraz_paracha@hotmail.com

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