A rebuttal to Sherry Rehman’s ISI-inspired report on Afghanistan

by admin

According to a recent report by the Sherry Rehman-led Jinnah Institute in Pakistan and the US Institute for Peace (USIP), Pakistan foreign policyelite propose giving Taliban control of Pashtuns and Afghanistan.

Sub-title of the report is: Perceptions of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Elite. wow. elites!! http://t.co/nvbsSed

It is commonly known that Pakistan’s urban elites are an extension of the almighty Military Establishment, just like their right wing jihadi colleagues.

Sherry Rehman’s Foreign Policy Elites include patent friends of ISI: Gen Asad Durrani, Ejaz Haider, Nasim Zehra, Hamid Mir, Cyril Almeida, AVM Shahzad Chaudhry, Brig Shaukat Qadir, Brig Mohammad Shah, Ahmer Bilal Soofi, Ayaz Wazir, Tariq Fatemi, Brig Mohsin Haider, Tanvir A. Khan, Gen Khalid Maqbool, Rustam Shah Mohmand, Brig Saad.

Further interviews: Gen Athar Abbas, Prof Khurshid Ahmed, Ahsan Iqbal, Gen Jahangir Karamat, Khurshid Kasuri, Wasim Sajjad, Najam Sethi, Mullah Ataur Rehman (JUI-F)

All the kings men and all kings horses advising Jinnah Institute. Shame!

Perhaps Sherry Rehman could also ask these ISI-men/women about their views on the PPP, ZAB, BB and Asif Zardari?

According to Farhat Taj:

The overwhelming majority of the elite who participated in discussions and interviews for the report, includes people who are linked with the military establishment of Pakistan and have a track record of producing and promoting outright lies or distorted information about the Pakhtun in the media and research in line with the military establishment’s strategic depth policy in Afghanistan. As a mark of tokenism, the Jinnah Institute included a tribal journalist in the elite without paying any attention to the fact whether or not a tribal journalist could freely express himself with a group of people so closely linked with the same establishment that has imposed death and destruction on his tribal homeland — all those tribal journalists who have dared to expose the state terror in FATA have been killed. A representative of the Pakhtun nationalist ANP has been interviewed, but it seems his views have been thoroughly censored: there is nothing in the report that concurs with the ANP stance about the future set up in Afghanistan, especially in terms of the terror sanctuaries implanted in FATA by the military establishment and their role in the future Afghan set up.

In her commentary on the report published in Daily Beast, Sherry Rehman proudly writes:

The recent Jinnah Institute–United States Institute of Peace report, Pakistan, the United States and the End Game in Afghanistan, aims at seeking clarity and motive in Pakistan’s current outlook toward Afghanistan, its strategic interests, and the implications of how it pursues them. Given Pakistan’s centrality to peace in the region, in the context of an unstable strategic relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan, the articulation of a cogent policy view that includes civil society and state representation in Pakistan bears value for anyone looking to secure a successful transition in Afghanistan.

Intellectual capital on foreign policy is not hard to generate in Pakistan. The challenge lies in connecting the dots and obtaining big-tent representation. The report’s findings are based on several discussions with a wide spectrum of Pakistan’s foreign-policy elite—retired civilian and military officials, analysts, journalists, and civil-society practitioners—with established expertise on Afghanistan and knowledge of the modalities of policymaking in the U.S. It also takes on board the views of senior politicians from all frontline parties as well as the military’s official spokesperson.

The idea was also to find how Pakistan can best pursue its interests in the changing Afghanistan endgame calculus, and what policies the U.S., India, and other regional actors would have to pursue for Pakistani objectives to be met. Pakistan’s goals matter because whichever way one looks at it, either as builder or spoiler, Pakistan is key to durable stability in Afghanistan.

Key themes of @SherryRehman’s Jinnah Institute’s report on Afghanistan:

  1. Mullah Omar and Mullah Jalluddin Haqqani represent Pashtuns. According to the report: “main Afghan Taliban factions—Mullah Omar’s group and Haqqani network” must be a part of Afghan govt! (Farhat Taj notes that the report presents the Pakhtun and the Taliban as a synonym and argues for the accommodation in the future Afghan government set up of those fringe elements of the wider Pakhtun society, the Haqqani Taliban and Mullah Omar’s Quetta Shura, all of which are hardly anything more than proxies of the military establishment of Pakistan.)
  2. Hazara, Tajik, other ethnic minorities are not worthy of much attention. They are Iranian agents.
  3. Foreign policy is an exclusive territory of military establishment & their liberal elite friends.
  4. Shia genocide in Af-Pak by Taliban/Haqqanis is not worthy of any attention. No future for Shias in Afghanistan. Mazar-e-Sharif and Bamiyan massacres never took place. (Why is Sherry Rehman supporting same Haqqni Taliban who have massacred hundreds of Toori Shias and other Pashtuns in the last several years?)
  5. There is an increasing rift between Pakistan army & ‘people’ (?) because of US operation in Afghanistan.
  6. Pashtun nationalist voices (e.g. ANP, other secular parties) are not to be trusted in Afghan policy
  7.  U.S. military operations in Afghanistan is deepening the state-society rift within Pakistan. (Viva ISI proxies, do the military establishment, their urban liberal and right wing proxies represent Pakistani society?)
  8.  “Govt in Kabul should not be antagonistic to Pakistan nor allow its territory against Pak interests.” (Farhat Taj notes that the elite is using the notion of the ‘not antagonistic to Pakistan’ government in Afghanistan to camouflage the notion of strategic depth in Afghanistan.)
  9. Liberal face of military establishment: According to Farhat Taj, the saddest part of the report is that Sherry Rehman, the liberal face of Pakistan, has undertaken an exercise that provided a ‘liberal mask’ to the essentially anti-people totalitarian policy of strategic depth rooted in religious bigotry and state terrorism. (However, this was not entirely unexpected of her given her recent activities and collaboration with Nasim Zehra and other lackeys of the military establishment in the so called Citizens for Democracy (CFD) network. )
  10. In the entire report, there is no mention of Shia genocide by the Taliban (including the Haqqani network) of Hazara Shias in Afghansitan and Pakistan and Toori Shias in Kurram agency.
  11. In the entire report, there is only one mention of Afghanistan’s Hazara ethnic Shias and Tajiks, which is: “Iranian support for Hazaras and Tajiks is limiting Pakistan’s ability to reach out to non-Pashtun groups.” (p.37). This part was so obviously written by Ejaz Haider (‘the Hazaras of Quetta are Iranian agents’ fame) and other notorious lackeys of the ISI.
  12. The report serves to reinforce and justify Pakistan’s already flawed policy on Afghanistan. It is clearly aimed at justifying the military establishment’s long-standing (short-sighted) strategic depth policy on Afghanistan that has brought nothing but destruction to the Pakhtun and other communities in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and has created religious bigotry in both countries.
  13. The Jinnah Institute report is clearly a waste of time and money (including Rs.50 million grant by PM Gilani). A junior sector officer in Foreign Office or Aabpara could provide a similar dossier in less than two-week salary.


15 Comments to “A rebuttal to Sherry Rehman’s ISI-inspired report on Afghanistan”

  1. Quatrina Hosain invites Sherry Rehman – (head of Jinnah institute, journalist, MNA-PPP), along with Dr Moeed Yusuf – Advisor to United States Institute of Peace Washington, to discuss how Afghanistan situation pertains to Pakistan and the US policies in the region.

    Pakistan to face further spillover in the Afghan war

  2. Excerpt By Sherry Rehman & Moeed Yusuf
    War on Terror

    The endgame in Afghanistan

    0 0

    
    T he United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and Jinnah Institute (JI), Pakistan co-convened a project aimed at gathering and articulating informed Pakistani opinion on the evolving situation in Afghanistan. Following are excerpts from their report.

    Pakistan’s Objectives in Afghanistan:In terms of the end game, Pakistani policy elite see their state as having defined two overriding objectives: The “settlement” in Afghanistan should not lead to a negative spillover such that it contributes to further instability in Pakistan or causes resentment among Pakistani Pashtuns; and The government in Kabul should not be antagonistic to Pakistan and should not allow its territory to be used against Pakistani state interests. Translated into actionable policy, these umbrella objectives lead Pakistan to pursue three outcomes:

    On the one hand, US military operations in Afghanistan are believed to be causing an internal backlash in terms of militancy and deepening the state-society rift within Pakistan; on the other hand, Pakistani policy elite appreciate that a premature US troop withdrawal would lead to added instability in Afghanistan
    A degree of stability in Afghanistan: Project participants felt that Pakistan’s interests are best served by a relatively stable government in Kabul that is not hostile towards Pakistan. There was across the board realization among the participants that persistent instability in Afghanistan will have numerous and predictable consequences for Pakistan that it is ill-prepared to tackle.

    An inclusive government in Kabul: Pakistan prefers a negotiated configuration with adequate Pashtun representation that is recognized by all ethnic and political stakeholders in Afghanistan. Some of the opinion makers insisted that given the current situation, a sustainable arrangement would necessarily require the main Taliban factions – particularly Mullah Omar’s “Quetta Shura” Taliban and the Haqqani network – to be part of the new political arrangement.

    Limiting Indian presence to development activities: Pakistani foreign policy elite accept that India has a role to play in Afghanistan’s economic progress and prosperity. However, many participants perceived the present Indian engagement to be going beyond strictly development. They wish to see greater transparency on Indian actions and objectives.

    Nonetheless, the Taliban’s perceived utility for Pakistan does not translate into a desire for a return to Taliban rule in Afghanistan. A bid to regain lost glory by Mullah Omar’s Taliban would end up creating conditions in Afghanistan which run counter to Pakistani objectives, most notably stability
    Views on US Strategy in Afghanistan: Pakistani policy elite involved in the project perceived America’s Afghanistan strategy to date to be inconsistent and counterproductive to Pakistan’s interests. The most scathing criticism was targeted at the political component of the strategy, which is largely seen to be subservient to the military surge. Not many among the participants were optimistic about the prospects of the surge. While there was recognition that operations over the past year have degraded the Taliban’s capacity, virtually no one was convinced that this would force the main Taliban factions to negotiate on America’s terms.

    Pakistani policy elite see the prospects for a successful end game in Afghanistan as bleak also because of the belief that the United States would want to retain some long-term security presence in Afghanistan, which will likely create unease among the Afghan Taliban and countries in the region, including Pakistan. In terms of Pakistan’s role in the end game, project participants believed that the United States would continue to push the Pakistan military to “do more” to stamp out militant sanctuaries while Washington tries to open up direct channels for talks with the Taliban-with an eye on reducing reliance on Pakistan’s security establishment in the political reconciliation process.

    Regardless, there was no support for a breakdown of the Pakistan-US relationship. Project participants, however, felt that greater clarity in US and Pakistani policies was crucial in order to avoid failure in Afghanistan, to convince the Taliban of the validity of a power-sharing agreement, and to urge regional actors (including Pakistan) to stop hedging and to play a more constructive role.

    Reacting to the United States: Project participants suggested that Pakistani policy faces a dilemma vis-a-vis the US. On the one hand, US military operations in Afghanistan are believed to be causing an internal backlash in terms of militancy and deepening the state-society rift within Pakistan; on the other hand, Pakistani policy elite appreciate that a premature US troop withdrawal would lead to added instability in Afghanistan.

    Participants felt that from Islamabad’s perspective, the longer US military operations continue without a clear path for political negotiations, the tougher it will become for Pakistan to manage its internal security balancing act. Islamabad therefore favours an immediate, yet patient effort at inclusive reconciliation.

    Pakistani policy elite we spoke with tended to believe that a genuine intra-Afghan dialogue will inevitably allow a significant share of power to the Pashtuns and thus produce a dispensation in Kabul that is sensitive to Pakistani interests. Based on their perceptions about the current realities on the ground in Afghanistan, those tied to this narrative see any attempts to alienate Pashtuns in general, and the Taliban in particular, as shortsighted.

    Nonetheless, the Taliban’s perceived utility for Pakistan does not translate into a desire for a return to Taliban rule in Afghanistan. A bid to regain lost glory by Mullah Omar’s Taliban would end up creating conditions in Afghanistan which run counter to Pakistani objectives, most notably stability. The Pakistani state is no longer believed to be interested in a return to complete Taliban rule akin to the 1990s.

    Pakistani elite are unsure of how a regional agreement will be enforced. Some participants worried that just the entrenched expectation of interference by others will prompt countries not to honour the arrangement in the first place as each seeks ‘first mover’s advantage’ in establishing its influence in Afghanistan
    Other Impediments to Successful End Game Negotiations: Project participants saw the following aspects as additional hurdles in ensuring successful negotiations and a durable settlement in Afghanistan. Viability of a regional framework: A regional framework which seeks neutrality and non-interference from countries in the neighbourhood received in principle support during the discussions held under the project. However, Pakistani elite are unsure of how a regional agreement will be enforced. Some participants worried that just the entrenched expectation of interference by others will prompt countries not to honour the arrangement in the first place as each seeks ‘first mover’s advantage’ in establishing its influence in Afghanistan.

    Taliban’s willingness to negotiate: Pakistani policy elite claim a lack of clarity about the Afghan Taliban’s willingness to participate in a political reconciliation process, or even to communicate directly with the United States beyond a point. Notwithstanding, they feel that the longer meaningful talks are delayed, the more challenging it will become for the Pakistani security establishment to persuade the main Taliban factions to come to the negotiating table.

    Political situation in Afghanistan: Afghan President Hamid Karzai, while acknowledged as a legitimate leader, is also seen as having lost credibility among Afghan citizens. This is believed to be generating additional support for the insurgency and forcing Afghan groups opposed to his government to delay serious negotiations. A major challenge in this political environment lies in identifying representatives who could mediate and speak on behalf of different Afghan stakeholders.

    Future of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF): Pakistani policy elite remain wary of the future role of the ANSF. Participants perceived the bloated size of the Afghan National Army (ANA) to be unsustainable and a threat to Pakistan’s interests. In terms of ANA’s ethnic composition, the presence of non-Pashtun officers in key positions was highlighted to suggest that the makeup is more likely to fuel ethnic hostility than to maintain peace in Afghanistan.

    The Post-Osama Bin Laden Calculus: Because most of our conversations with Pakistani foreign policy elite predated the May 2, 2011 killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, the project team subsequently requested participants to reflect on the impact of this development on the Afghan calculus for Pakistan and the United States.

    Most respondents believed that bin Laden’s death had no bearing on Pakistan’s strategy in Afghanistan. As for the United States, there was a sense that bin Laden’s departure will make it easier to create a ‘narrative of victory’ against Al Qaida and perhaps, to negotiate directly with Afghan Taliban leaders. A greater emphasis may be laid on distinguishing Al Qaeda from the Taliban to facilitate the process further.

    That said, the growing mutual distrust between Pakistan and the United States, as exposed during the May 2 US unilateral raid that killed bin Laden, has raised doubts about the ability of the two countries to collaborate in attaining a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan. The state of the bilateral relationship, it was feared, may end up overshadowing the otherwise considerable overlap on the issue of reconciliation between the American and Pakistani positions. Some of the respondents disagreed with this view, arguing that the Obama administration will continue reaching out to elicit Pakistan’s support in nudging the main Afghan Taliban factions to the Negotiating table. ?

    Excerpted from Pakistan, the United States and the End Game in Afghanistan: Perceptions of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Elite

    http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20110902&page=7

  3. What a great use of 50 millions Rupee bribe given to Sherry Aapa by Gilani uncle. Why is her Jinnah Institute reinforcing and furthering ISI’s lies and narratives?

  4. The report was based on deliberations by Asad Durrani, Tariq Fatemi, Khalid Maqbool, Ejaz Haider, Nasim Zehra, Wasim Sajjad.

    wah, wah. What was the need? You could have easily collected and compiled newspaper cuttings based on press releases by the ISPR and Foreign Office (Aabpara Branch).

    Jeeti Raho, Sherry.

  5. If Sherry Rehman has given so much priority and attention to compiling and publicizing this report, it must be good.

  6. The slanted truth – by Dr Mohammad Taqi
    Source: Daily Times, 17 June 2010

    Believers in the thesis that Afghanistan provides Pakistan with strategic depth are so scared of this shared bond that they had vetoed Afghania — represented by the letter ‘A’ in the word Pakistan — as the new name for the province previously known as NWFP

    “Tell all the truth but tell it slant” — Emily Dickinson.

    Three men had their right hands severed for petty theft last month by the Taliban in the Ghaljo village of Orakzai Agency. After initial treatment at a hospital in Kohat, they contacted a prominent civil and human rights activist to get prosthetic surgery done, followed by a rehabilitation programme. Funds were raised subsequently as charitable donations from individuals to assist them.

    However, the unfortunate victims have now declined to get the surgery and rehabilitation done. They and their families reportedly did this under duress from the Taliban. Their sad decision is a stark reminder of the fascist hordes lurking in the shadows. The Taliban are neither down nor out. But the security establishment in Pakistan would have one believe otherwise.

    On June 5, 2010, two articles appeared in the Pakistani press. The one in this paper titled ‘North Waziristan, the Punjabi Taliban and the Durand Line’, was authored by Mr Naeem Tahir and the second one ‘N Waziristan: the final frontier’, published in another daily, was written by Ms Sherry Rehman, an MNA. The resemblance between these two articles is striking. Had it been Urdu or Persian poetry, one would have been tempted to call this tawarud, i.e. two poets expressing — coincidentally — the same ideas in very similar words without prior knowledge of each other’s thought or work.

    Upon a cursory read, both pieces might come across as opinions by liberal writers who are concerned about the curse of Talibanisation afflicting Pakistan and trying to float an indigenous plan to fight it. A slightly deeper look, however, would reveal that, clad in a liberal cloak, the authors may be peddling the Pakistani security establishment’s view, i.e. that despite the clear and present danger that the Taliban and al Qaeda portend, we are not able to do much about it, especially in North Waziristan (NW).

    Ms Rehman, whose written or spoken word on military strategy and the Pak-Afghan geopolitical situation has hitherto remained hidden from the public eye, makes a foray into both spheres. She starts by dropping some geographical terms like ‘Loya Paktia’ and using quasi-military jargon. She writes: “The challenge in NW is that Islamabad does not have the military or civilian capacity to open all fronts at the same time. Despite impressive successes in other tribal agencies, the Pakistani army faces a 50,000-strong critical mass of armed guerrilla combatants in NW. They have learnt to avoid set-piece battles. After army operations in surrounding areas, a hardened assortment has sought sanctuary there.”

    A similar formula is deployed by Mr Tahir, who mentions the Peochar stronghold of Maulvi Fazlullah, along with a narrative of the valley’s capture and the ‘successful operations’ in South Waziristan, etc. He concludes: “Action in NW must be undertaken, but the timing must be decided by the government of Pakistan and the armed forces, and it should follow the settlement of these issues.”

    Mr Tahir then ventures into lecturing on the history of the Durand Line and how Fazlullah and other terrorists can sneak through it back into Pakistan. He calls ‘revisionist’ those who think that people on both sides of the Durand Line are one people.

    Before being taken down by the Zia regime, the board at Torkham had the Quaid’s words inscribed on it saying that the people living on either side of the border are one nation (qaum) and no power will be able to keep them apart.

    Most politicians in Pakistan are not afraid of acknowledging that the Pashtuns/Afghans living across the Durand Line are one people who share a common language, culture and customs, just like the Germans in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Perhaps this is what the Quaid meant in his speech, not the use of FATA for unleashing 30 years of death and destruction in Afghanistan by Pakistani, Saudi and US agencies.

    Ironically, believers in the thesis that Afghanistan provides Pakistan with strategic depth are so scared of this shared bond that they had vetoed Afghania — represented by the letter ‘A’ in the word Pakistan — as the new name for the province previously known as NWFP.

    The apologetics put forth by these two authors blend seamlessly with the collaboration between the Pakistani intelligence apparatus and the jihadist outfits, highlighted yet again by the recent London School of Economics (LSE) report. This partnership was never hidden and neither are the attempts by the security establishment to force even democratically elected leaders to toe their line.

    Not too long ago, a senior Pashtun politician mentioned on the national media a press conference by the Taliban that was held at a security agency fortress. He and his party reportedly came under tremendous pressure to rescind his statement. He stood his ground but the party’s president eventually buckled.

    Given the lengths to which the establishment goes to delay and defer the action against its Taliban assets, the LSE report is not surprising to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. They also know that not one Taliban leader — including the notorious Muslim Khan — has been brought to justice by the same authorities that are not willing to act against the 50,000 jihadists in NW. This is precisely why their victims decline treatment when they need it most.

    The question remains how long the world will continue to buy the slanted truth.

    The writer teaches and practices Medicine at the University of Florida and contributes to the think-tanks http://www.politact.com and Aryana Institute. He can be reached at mazdaki@me.com

  7. America Needs Pakistan
    by Sherry Rehman

    Sep 1, 2011 (Daily Beast)

    Pakistan is crucial to helping wind down the conflict in Afghanistan. Sherry Rehman, a member of Pakistan’s National Assembly, explains her country’s unique position.

    The term “endgame” is imbued with as many meanings as the number of players seeking to fast-track an amicable solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

    Some states have higher stakes than others. The U.S. and other troop-contributing countries have focused their efforts on transitioning out of Afghanistan by 2014, but gaps between operations and objectives still fog this war. While an internal consensus among Afghan actors remains the most crucial element of any settlement, there is little doubt that regional players have a key role in facilitating progress. Among them, Pakistan’s role is pivotal but not always understood.

    The recent Jinnah Institute–United States Institute of Peace report, Pakistan, the United States and the End Game in Afghanistan, aims at seeking clarity and motive in Pakistan’s current outlook toward Afghanistan, its strategic interests, and the implications of how it pursues them. Given Pakistan’s centrality to peace in the region, in the context of an unstable strategic relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan, the articulation of a cogent policy view that includes civil society and state representation in Pakistan bears value for anyone looking to secure a successful transition in Afghanistan.

    Intellectual capital on foreign policy is not hard to generate in Pakistan. The challenge lies in connecting the dots and obtaining big-tent representation. The report’s findings are based on several discussions with a wide spectrum of Pakistan’s foreign-policy elite—retired civilian and military officials, analysts, journalists, and civil-society practitioners—with established expertise on Afghanistan and knowledge of the modalities of policymaking in the U.S. It also takes on board the views of senior politicians from all frontline parties as well as the military’s official spokesperson.
    The idea was also to find how Pakistan can best pursue its interests in the changing Afghanistan endgame calculus, and what policies the U.S., India, and other regional actors would have to pursue for Pakistani objectives to be met. Pakistan’s goals matter because whichever way one looks at it, either as builder or spoiler, Pakistan is key to durable stability in Afghanistan.

    Findings suggest that Pakistani policy elites see their state as pursuing two overriding objectives: one, that the “settlement” in Afghanistan should not lead to a negative spillover so that it contributes to further instability in Pakistan or causes resentment among Pakistani Pashtuns; and two, that the government in Kabul should not be antagonistic to Pakistan nor allow its territory to be used against Pakistani state interests.

    U.S. Army from soldiers at the border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan August 27, 2011 at Torkham, Afghanistan., John Moore / Getty Images

    No surprises here, but for these umbrella objectives to be translated into actionable policy, it seems Pakistan would need to seek three outcomes.

    First would be to seek a degree of stability in Afghanistan, an agenda Islamabad is working on. Clearly, Pakistan’s interests are best served by a stable, efficient government in Kabul that is not hostile toward it. There is across-the-board realization here that persistent instability in Afghanistan will have numerous consequences that Pakistan is ill prepared to tackle.

    Second, all see the need for an inclusive government in Kabul. In other words, Pakistan would prefer a negotiated configuration, with adequate Pashtun representation, that is recognized by all ethnic and political stakeholders in Afghanistan. Some opinion makers even insist that a sustainable arrangement would necessarily require the main Afghan Taliban factions—Mullah Omar’s group and the Haqqani network—to be part of the new political arrangement.
    Third, there is worry about limiting Indian presence in Afghanistan to development activities alone. The Pakistani foreign-policy enclave accepts that India has a role to play in Afghanistan’s economic progress and prosperity. Yet many believe that the present Indian engagement goes beyond just development and thus raises legitimate concerns in Pakistan. A reluctance to address Pakistani misgivings increases the likelihood of a growing Indian footprint, and, in turn, New Delhi’s greater ability to manipulate endgame negotiations and the post-settlement dispensation in Kabul. As the Pakistani security establishment sees the dynamic, India has interests in Afghanistan, but Pakistan has vital stakes.

    Unsurprisingly, America’s Afghanistan strategy is perceived to be inconsistent and counterproductive, not only for Pakistan’s interests but also for enduring peace in Afghanistan. A number of U.S. policy initiatives are identified as problematic. The most scathing criticism is targeted at the political component of the strategy, which is largely seen as subservient to the military surge. Pakistani opinion makers sense a civil-military disconnect in the U.S. establishment; the civilian administration is perceived to favor political reconciliation while the Pentagon still prioritizes greater military gains. Not many are optimistic about the prospects of the U.S. military surge. While there is recognition that military operations over the past year have degraded the Taliban’s capacity, virtually no one is convinced that this can put an end to the insurgency or that it can force the main Taliban factions to negotiate on America’s terms.
    Pakistani prognosis for a successful endgame is bleak also because of the belief that the U.S. would want to retain some long-term security presence in Afghanistan and use its bases there for counterterrorism missions against Al Qaeda and other high-value targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a scenario that worries many Pakistani stakeholders. This will likely create unease among the Afghan Taliban and a number of regional countries.
    In terms of Pakistan’s role in the endgame, there is a growing distrust of U.S. intentions, opaque at the best of times, even more convoluted today. Pakistani policy circles believe that the U.S. would continue to push the Pakistan military to “do more” to stamp out militant sanctuaries while it tries to open up direct channels for talks with the Taliban. After the Raymond Davis episode and the bin Laden killing, the confidence gap between the two states is believed to be so deep that the U.S. would continue to pursue its own preferred outcomes while sidelining Pakistan’s security establishment in the political-reconciliation process.

    Pakistan, therefore, has a tough task in balancing its interests. On the one hand, U.S. military operations in Afghanistan are believed to be causing an internal backlash in terms of militancy and deepening the state-society rift within Pakistan. On the other, Pakistanis appreciate that a premature U.S. troop withdrawal would lead to added instability in Afghanistan and a surge in unintended consequences for Pakistan.

    Pakistani foreign-policy circles believe that without greater clarity, America’s Afghanistan strategy will not just defeat U.S. objectives in Afghanistan, but dangerously destabilize Pakistan.

    It is believed that Pakistan has tried to balance these two competing aspects by providing significant counterterrorism and strategic support to the U.S. at the same time that it has held back from targeting the Afghan Taliban and other Pakistan-based groups operating against International Security Assistance Force presence next door. This strategy has proven costly in terms of the militant backlash Pakistan is facing internally, but capacity constraints jostle with intent, as some say that Pakistan remains unconvinced it will be able to bring core militant groups to the table to navigate a settlement in Afghanistan if it targets all actors. Those who argue that the “commitment deficit” is an old narrative in Pakistan’s priorities also insist that there is worry about Pakistan losing all leverage to protect itself on a conflicted open border, with links between the anti-Pakistan Tehrik-e-Taliban and the Afghan Taliban growing, along with coordinated attacks in the urban heartland. These policy discussants, in fact, argue that if Pakistan opens too many fronts with the militants, the fallout would compromise stability at home to unmanageable proportions.

    The bottom line: Pakistani foreign-policy circles believe that without greater clarity, America’s Afghanistan strategy will not just defeat U.S. objectives in Afghanistan, but dangerously destabilize Pakistan. In the absence of a silver-bullet solution, things can only improve if an immediate yet patient effort at inclusive reconciliation in Afghanistan is initiated because a genuine intra-Afghan dialogue will ultimately produce a dispensation in Kabul that is sensitive to Pakistani interests.

    The encouraging caveat here is that despite the perceived need to reconcile with the Taliban and isolate Al Qaeda, there is zero appetite in Pakistan for Afghanistan to return to Taliban rule. A bid to regain lost glory by Mullah Omar’s Taliban is seen as leading to conditions in Afghanistan that run counter to Pakistani objectives, most notably stability. The Pakistani state is thus no longer believed to be pitching for a return to Taliban supremacy akin to the 1990s.
    Other impediments to a peaceful Afghanistan settlement include skepticism about the viability of a regional framework, lack of clarity on the Taliban’s willingness to negotiate, the unstable political and economic situation in Afghanistan, and concerns about the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces to manage the security vacuum or to remain a stabilizing force.

    Finally, although this was not a consensus report, rebuilding ties with the U.S. is privileged widely over a strategic disconnect. Despite the spiral of distrust embittering current Pakistan-U.S. ties, the dividends from building on convergences are considered instrumental in any endgame calibration of mutually desired outcomes. This can be accomplished with much less pain if there is an appreciation in American policy circles that Pakistan’s actions in the region may be motivated by fear rather than ambition.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/09/01/afghanistan-s-endgame-and-pakistan-s-role.html

  8. Liberal face of religious bigotry — by Farhat Taj

    The report is aimed at justifying the establishment’s long-standing Afghan policy, the strategic depth policy that has brought nothing but destruction to the Pakhtun and has created religious bigotry in Pakistan

    Recently, the Sherry Rehman-led Jinnah Institute in Pakistan and the US Institute for Peace (USIP) launched a report called ‘Pakistan, the United States and the Endgame in Afghanistan: Perceptions of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Elite’. The report documents the views of a select group of Pakistani foreign policy ‘elite’ on the so-called Afghanistan endgame/future power structure in Afghanistan. The report has been given a great deal of coverage in the Pakistani media by some of the ‘elite’ who participated in discussions leading to the report.

    The report is misleading and marred by selection as well as projection biases. It is prejudiced against the Pakhtun in Pakistan and Afghanistan and reflects the view of a narrow vested interest in Pakistan that has been engaged in the genocide of the Pakhtun for three decades. I will elaborate these issues in my critical analysis of this report to be published in a research journal. In this column, I will only comment on the report’s so-called ‘foreign policy elite’ of Pakistan and the views of this elite.

    The overwhelming majority of the elite who participated in discussions and interviews for the report, includes people who are linked with the military establishment of Pakistan and have a track record of producing and promoting outright lies or distorted information about the Pakhtun in the media and research in line with the military establishment’s strategic depth policy in Afghanistan. As a mark of tokenism, the Jinnah Institute included a tribal journalist in the elite without paying any attention to the fact whether or not a tribal journalist could freely express himself with a group of people so closely linked with the same establishment that has imposed death and destruction on his tribal homeland — all those tribal journalists who have dared to expose the state terror in FATA have been killed. A representative of the Pakhtun nationalist ANP has been interviewed, but it seems his views have been thoroughly censored: there is nothing in the report that concurs with the ANP stance about the future set up in Afghanistan, especially in terms of the terror sanctuaries implanted in FATA by the military establishment and their role in the future Afghan set up.

    It is thus no wonder that this elite presents the Pakhtun and the Taliban as a synonym and argues for the accommodation in the future Afghan government set up of those fringe elements of the wider Pakhtun society, the Haqqani Taliban and Mullah Omar’s Quetta Shura, all of which are hardly anything more than proxies of the military establishment of Pakistan. Basically, the report is aimed at justifying the establishment’s long-standing Afghan policy, the strategic depth policy that has brought nothing but destruction to the Pakhtun and has created religious bigotry in Pakistan. The elite is using the notion of the ‘not antagonistic to Pakistan’ government in Afghanistan to camouflage the notion of strategic depth in Afghanistan. They are using the name of the Pakhtun nation to camouflage the Taliban terrorists. The report is basically a ‘liberal’ cover-up of an essentially fundamentalist policy of the Pakistani state. Since the elite do not want to repeatedly talk of empowering the Taliban — this is not correct political discourse in the post 9/11 world — so they talk of including the ‘Pakhtun’ in the Afghan power structure. It unmistakably looks as if the elite is implying that the Taliban are representative of the Pakhtun. It is stunning to compare the elite’s insistence of Pakhtun inclusion in the future Afghan power structure — as if they care so much for the political concerns of the Pakhtun population — and their devil may care attitude towards the Pakistani establishment-inflicted state crimes against the tribes in the Af-Pak region in which they suffer every single day.

    The elite’s whole notion is misleading. The question therefore is: can there be a Taliban without Talibanisation, especially when they emerge from the conflict as ‘victors’? What about the thousands of Pakhtun killed by the Taliban? Their communities want the Taliban to meet justice and the Pakistani elite is adamant to see them ruling the Pakhtun? The views of the elite also look like an invitation to other countries of this region to provide, just like Pakistan, terror sanctuaries to Afghan militants in order to be taken seriously by the US in the endgame in Afghanistan. Do the elite care that the people in Afghanistan, both Pakhtun and others, might interpret their views as Pakistani hegemony over their country? Could the Pakistani elite become any more bankrupt, morally and intellectually?

    There is nothing in the report that the world never knew about already. The only difference is that, before, the elite used to express such anti-Pakhtun, pro- establishment-and-Taliban views separately and now their voices have been assembled in one report. It is unfortunate that the USIP, which is said to have supported the work for the report, might have used the US taxpayers’ money for this report. What is in this report that the US policy makers and think tanks were unaware of? There could have been much better use of this money.

    The saddest part of the report is that Sherry Rehman, the liberal face of Pakistan, has undertaken an exercise that provided a ‘liberal mask’ to the essentially anti-people totalitarian policy of strategic depth rooted in religious bigotry and state terrorism. This was unexpected of her given her secular and pro-people democratic track record. This is a win for the security establishment and a setback for the pro-democracy forces in Pakistan.

    As far as the Haqqani Taliban and Quetta Shura are concerned, the Americans are welcome to eliminate them with their drone strikes. The Pakhtun will not shed any tears for them.

    The writer is the author of Taliban and Anti-Taliban

    Source: Daily Times / LUBP

  9. “As far as the Haqqani Taliban and Quetta Shura are concerned, the Americans are welcome to eliminate them with their drone strikes. The Pakhtun will not shed any tears for them. ”

    Spot on.

  10. Adil Najam and his pseudo-liberals’ outpouring of sympathy for Sherry Rehman – by Sarah Khan

    http://criticalppp.com/archives/28084

  11. Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    RT @mustikhan @sherryrehman @beenasarwar Sherry is now toeing ISI line on Afghanistan. What a shame
    17 minutes ago Favorite Reply Delete

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @itwittthere4iam @airtiza @mo2005 @mustikhan Kashmir is an integral part of the Deep State policy. India must keep legal & diplom pressure.
    18 minutes ago Favorite Reply Delete

    atifahmads Atif S Ahmad
    no, its 1 #MullahCult 2 #MullahArmyCult RT @tashfeen75: @Laibaah PAK problems,1.Population 2.Religion 3. Army
    22 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @itwittthere4iam @airtiza @mo2005 Someone just left this link on #PakistanBlogzine. Enjoy. criticalppp.com/archives/28084
    21 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    Re-edited: A rebuttal to Sherry Rehman’s ISI-inspired report on Afghanistan pakistanblogzine.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/a-r…
    23 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @itwittthere4iam @airtiza @mo2005 Hina is currently a nobody. Her only job is to narrate from the script provided by Foreign Office (ISI).
    24 minutes ago

    tashfeen75 tashfeen haider
    @Laibaah PAK problems,1.Population 2.Religion 3. Army
    26 minutes ago

    mustikhan Ahmar Mustikhan
    @AliSafinaa @itwittthere4iam @AbedReyaz @Laibaah @airtiza @mo2005 May be part of some pure Mogul shit
    26 minutes ago

    airtiza Syed Ali Irtiza
    @Laibaah For our liberals, a Pakistan of 1960s would be heavenly. They’ve never been the opposition. @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam
    27 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @airtiza @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam Have you seen reports by Omar Waraich, Declan Walsh, Nasim Zehra, Tammy Haq etc promoting Sherry Rehman?
    26 minutes ago

    itwittthere4iam lakshminarayanan
    @AliSafinaa @AbedReyaz @Laibaah @mustikhan @airtiza @mo2005:And that Pak.Punjabis constitute the sole legatees!
    28 minutes ago

    AliSafinaa WAQAR AHMAD (vicky)
    RT @itwittthere4iam: @AbedReyaz @Laibaah @mustikhan @airtiza @mo2005:Rulers of Pak.State believe they are legatees of Mughal empir
    30 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @airtiza @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam A certain section of (pro-GHQ) media has carefully projected Sherry Rehman as a liberal face of Pakistan.
    28 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @itwittthere4iam Fear or opportunism. There is a clear connivance b/w military state and urban liberals. @airtiza @mo2005 @mustikhan
    29 minutes ago

    itwittthere4iam lakshminarayanan
    @Laibaah guess there is palpable fear among those who risk ire of Pak.State if they were to speak out openly @airtiza @mo2005 @mustikhan
    30 minutes ago

    airtiza Syed Ali Irtiza
    @Laibaah Oversimplification (conscious or unconscious) is Pakistan’s intellectual-staple. So Sherry is principled. @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam
    31 minutes ago

    itwittthere4iam lakshminarayanan
    @Laibaah saw that in ur blog! So, Gilani is playing ball @mo2005 @airtiza!
    31 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @itwittthere4iam Gilani donated Rs.50million to her Jinnah Institute. Her very first report is so clearly ISIeque! @mo2005 @airtiza
    30 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @airtiza @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam What kind of liberal is Sherry who has never said a single word in support of Baloch, Hazara, Tooris?
    31 minutes ago

    AbedReyaz Abed Reyaz
    @itwittthere4iam @Laibaah @mustikhan @airtiza @mo2005 ironically, the state of pak thinks it can conquer people with guns. #delusion
    34 minutes ago

    itwittthere4iam lakshminarayanan
    @AbedReyaz @Laibaah @mustikhan @airtiza @mo2005:Rulers of Pak.State believe they are legatees of Mughal empire!
    36 minutes ago

    mo2005 Mona
    @itwittthere4iam @laibaah @airtiza @mustikhan principles of liberalism goes out of the window when they cross #attock bridge and enters KPK
    37 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @airtiza Of late, Sherry was paid a hefty amount (Rs.50million) by PM Gilani to keep her mouth shut. @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam
    33 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @airtiza Sherry left the ministership because her desire to be Senate Chairperson was not catered by AAZ. @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam
    34 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @airtiza Sherry’s vocal support for ISI-backed CJP but silence on CJP’s pro-SSP and pro-GHQ decisions/policies! @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam
    35 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @airtiza Let me deconstruct SherryRehman’s sacrifices one by one. More than what meets eyes!!! @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam
    36 minutes ago

    itwittthere4iam lakshminarayanan
    @Laibaah They must if they truly subscribe to those principles of liberalism @mo2005 @airtiza @mustikhan
    40 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam @airtiza @iamthedrifter In the entire report, there is only one mention of (cont) tl.gd/csevua
    39 minutes ago

    AbedReyaz Abed Reyaz
    @itwittthere4iam the pakistani state acts like a conquering empire @airtiza @Laibaah @mustikhan @mo2005
    41 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam @airtiza Will Pakistan’s so called liberals criticize one of their own (Sherry) on recycling ISI’s narratives?
    41 minutes ago

    itwittthere4iam lakshminarayanan
    @AbedReyaz @airtiza @Laibaah @mustikhan @mo2005:Pak.State’s gameplan 4 survival is keep tensions between other groups going
    44 minutes ago

    mo2005 Mona
    @Laibaah @itwittthere4iam @airtiza @mustikhan these wars are imposed on pukhtuns #not our chosen wars
    42 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @airtiza I won’t call it ‘depressing’. I would rather term it ‘educating’ abt the reality of ‘liberals’ @itwittthere4iam @mustikhan @mo2005
    42 minutes ago

    airtiza Syed Ali Irtiza
    @Laibaah It is very depressing to see Moeed Yusuf and Sherry Rehman being a part of this. @itwittthere4iam @mustikhan @mo2005
    45 minutes ago

    AbedReyaz Abed Reyaz
    @airtiza This mixing is done effectively through nasheeds they make: Islam and Pashtunwali @Laibaah @itwittthere4iam @mustikhan @mo2005
    46 minutes ago

    airtiza Syed Ali Irtiza
    @Laibaah That’s what I am saying. The mistakes of KPK/FATA wont be repeated in Balochistan/Karachi. @itwittthere4iam @mustikhan @mo2005
    46 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @itwittthere4iam @mo2005 @airtiza @mustikhan Pashtuns are clearly aware of the Deep State’s atrocities aganst Pashtuns & other ethnic groups
    44 minutes ago

    itwittthere4iam lakshminarayanan
    @Laibaah @airtiza @mustikhan:Hope pushtuns see this gameplan and notB misled in2 targetting shias in the south
    46 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @itwittthere4iam @mo2005 @iamthedrifter @airtiza The Jinnah Institute report is clearly a waste of time and (cont) tl.gd/csestn
    46 minutes ago

    itwittthere4iam lakshminarayanan
    @Laibaah :yes very patent…. most of them are ex-servicemen who cant look beyond their nose
    48 minutes ago

    airtiza Syed Ali Irtiza
    @mo2005 The realization has struck FATA/KPK only after Taliban wreaked havoc there. @Laibaah @itwittthere4iam @mustikhan
    50 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @airtiza MQM (another ISI affiliate) is using the same narrative to defame & kill Pashtuns in Karachi. @itwittthere4iam @mustikhan @mo2005
    49 minutes ago

    airtiza Syed Ali Irtiza
    @Laibaah The policy of synonymising Pashtuns wid Taliban wil work. It is already working in Balochistan @itwittthere4iam @mustikhan @mo2005
    52 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam @mustikhan @airtiza Sherry Rehman’s Foreign Policy Elites include patent friends of (cont) tl.gd/cser6n
    50 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam @mustikhan @airtiza I have listed at least 30 ‘participants’ in Sherry’s report who are known ISI proxies.
    51 minutes ago

    mo2005 Mona
    @Laibaah @itwittthere4iam @mustikhan @airtiza they have ruined FATA displaced ppl killed ppl how much more the ppl of FATA kpk has to pay
    53 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @mo2005 @itwittthere4iam @airtiza Sherry’s report is a blatant, unashamed attempt to justify & reinforce Deep State’s narrative on Afgh.
    53 minutes ago

    mo2005 Mona
    @Laibaah @itwittthere4iam @mustikhan @airtiza the question here is how much more the pukhtuns has to pay for the strategic depth policy
    55 minutes ago

    airtiza Syed Ali Irtiza
    @Laibaah According to Rubina Saigol, the Pakistani prototype is ‘Punjabi Sunni Male’. Shias do not fit in. @itwittthere4iam @mustikhan
    55 minutes ago

    itwittthere4iam lakshminarayanan
    @Laibaah :What is it about the shias that they shd. feel so completely eclipsed from sharing in ‘iampakistani’ identity? @mustikhan @airtiza
    56 minutes ago

    itwittthere4iam lakshminarayanan
    @Laibaah this notion that afghanistan and pashtoons are synonymous is a legacy that carries the seed of current turmoil @mustikhan @airtiza
    55 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @itwittthere4iam The report insults the Pashtuns by synonymising them with Taliban (Mullah Omar & Haqqani). @mustikhan @airtiza @mo2005
    55 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @itwittthere4iam The report clearly ignores Tajik, Hazara, other ethnic groups in Afghanistan (45%of population) @mustikhan @airtiza @mo2005
    57 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @itwittthere4iam There is not a single mention of Shia genocide by Taliban in Sherry’s report on Afghanistan. No future? @mustikhan @airtiza
    58 minutes ago

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @itwittthere4iam The report ignores that war on Taliban/AlQaeda was very much in support of Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, Shias. @mustikhan
    1 hour ago

    itwittthere4iam lakshminarayanan
    @Laibaah :This report by Sherry-behen seeks 2 legitimatize those forces in Kabul against whom Bush’s War was fought? @mustikhan @beenasarwar
    1 hour ago

  12. Sherry Rahman has to chose between living here or abroad. Since she cannot afford the latter proposal. She then has to sail in a boat provided by the very government that tried to strip her mentally if not physically. In this game being played on
    the river styx the players never sink infact they can walk on the water. how many players from Washington DC, New Delhi
    London, Kabul and Islamabad the author knows who are the rodents in this game and what are the odds of which class of rodent will succeed in reaching the bottom of river styx.

  13. Disgusting the hatchet job you have done. It reeks of personal dislike forsomebody who is far more committed than all of you put together. Your morality and ethics are both in question. Am ashamed of all of you. Unlike Taj or Taqi, she has resigned cushy jobs to defend press freedom, stood alone against the Nizam I Adl in parliament when the likes of ANPs Buhsra Goher supported it, nearly lost her life thrice in frontline politics, when Benazir Bhutto was alive, and refused to leave the country when she stool alone against Blasphemy laws and extremism while the barbarians were at her gate. Where was Taqi then? Enjoying Florida and telling us we have no right to a border in Pakistan? Where was Taj? In Stockholm telling us to carpet drone the tribal areas? Who are they to speak for Pahstuns? Why fight from abroad? Who supports their Ariana institute?

  14. Public Comments from Twitter

    KamranShafi46
    Who’s seen Sherry’s JI’s report?Foreign Policy Elites?Really?We do know where Pakistan’s FP is carefully crafted!’ Wow

    hafsaq
    i know abt Ejaz Haider, didn’t know abt Sherry Rehman. i liked her :(. seems like there r few ppl who can be trusted. i’ve observed Ejaz Haider’s writing for long enough to know that he deliberately misleads people

    mazdaki
    Read Jinnah Institute’s report and decide 4 urself.Ejaz Haider and Asad Durrani as fact checkers ? Might as well appoint Mullah Omar

    Pls remember liquor,smoking and shades do not equal liberal/progressive otherwise Pak Army would be very liberal

    The slanted truth j.mp/pdD6cl My DT column from 06/2010 on Sherry Rehman’s pro-GHQ stand against #Afghanistan #Pashtuns

    mazdaki
    @Razarumi Expose Sherry Rehmans and Ejaz Haiders -contemporary facade of GHQ.World can see thru LeT but tricked by ‘liberal’ front

    mazdaki Mohammad Taqi
    @hafsaq @razarumi @takhalus well-meaning people don’t publish reports on Afghans about whom they know diddly squat.JI report is malicious

    Mark my words . You’ll see more poison coming out of Jinnah Institute. It’s a front for GHQ

    ….

    Further reading

    Sherry’s activism?
    Some gems from Declan Walsh’s article promoting Sherry Rehman

    Sherry R’s role in CFD against her own party and leadership is well documented.

    Nasim Zehra promotes Sherry Rehman in CFD while liberally lashing at PPP

  15. Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post!

    It’s the little changes that make the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

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