Posts tagged ‘Taliban’

May 17, 2012

Taliban are Pak Army proxies, not Pashtun nationalists – by Farhat Taj

by admin

Taliban are Pak Army proxies, not Pashtun nationalists – I

Taliban, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, are an attempt to wipe out entho-nationalism among the Pashtun and temper with the Pashtun cultural identity

Insight By Farhat Taj

One of the media and academia’s axiomatic constructions about Pashtun is that Taliban are Pashtun nationalists. This construction is based on distorted one-sided information and selective references to the Pashtun history that too are misrepresented to concur with the notion that Taliban are Pashtun nationalists. Drawing upon

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March 8, 2012

Taliban represent an evil ideology: Sunni Muslim scholars reject Imran Khan’s pro-Taliban views

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No threat to Pakistan from Taliban ideology: Imran Khan

LONDON: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chairman Imran Khan has defined the insurgency in Pakistan-Afghanistan Pushtun dominated areas as a “fight for Pashtun solidarity against a foreign invader”, insisting that “there is no threat to Pakistan from the Taliban ideology” and that he will completely pull out of the war on terror

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March 4, 2012

This is how Sipah-e-Sahaba and Taliban slaughter Shia Muslims in Pakistan – by Aqib Kazmi

by admin
I watched them cutting his nose, ears, hands, legs and neck with great pleasure as if they were sacrificing cattle on Eid day.

I watched them cutting his nose, ears, hands, legs and neck with great pleasure as if they were sacrificing cattle on Eid day.

In 2008, three days after my uncle took charge as the principal of Elementary College Jamrud, he informed my father about a warning letter sent by a local Taliban official. The letter warned my uncle that they would kill him unless he left Jamrud immediately. Not one to fear death and abandon his responsibilities, he stayed on. However, the warning was taken seriously and he duly informed the administration, including the political agents of Jamrud.

Now, let me tell you a little about my uncle. He was a

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September 23, 2011

For Pakistan to change, army must change – by Ayaz Amir

by admin

The discovery of Sheikh Osama bin Laden in the sylvan surroundings of Abbottabad should have been a wake-up call for the guardians of national security. Having been caught with their pants down some humility was in order. But they seem to have slunk deeper into their bunkers.

The army and its strategic adventures have brought Pakistan to its present pass. The footprints of the terrorism now haunting the country go back to the first Afghan ‘jihad’, the one army-inspired event which pushed Pakistan to the frontiers of insanity. The phoenix won’t rise from its ashes, and there will be no return to sanity, unless the army can bring itself to change its outlook and reinvent some of its mental apparatus.

Civilians have been poor administrators, in no position to escape their share of the blame for the mess the Fortress of Islam is in. But in the driving seat of Pakistan’s steady march to the brink have been our holy guardians. There is little room for quibbling on this point.

Even so, despite the mounting evidence of disorder, the army refuses to change, still obsessed with the threat from the east, still caught up with the quixotic notion of exercising influence in Afghanistan. God in heaven, why should it matter to us if a president of Afghanistan is a Tajik, an Uzbek or a Pathan? Can’t we keep our eyes

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August 8, 2011

ولولا دفع اللہ الناس بعضہم ببعض – by Farrukhzad Ali

by farrukhzaad


میرے پاس کھونے کو کچھ نہیں ہے
میں مطمئن ہوں
میں ہوں فقط روح
میں غم کی تمام منزلیں اتر کر

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January 24, 2011

Colonel Imam’s execution: Another epitaph for ‘strategic depth’

by admin

The death in custody of retired ISI officer Colonel Amir Sultan, alias Col Imam, who had been abducted by the Taliban early last year, points, once again, to the blunder of ‘strategic depth’ as national policy towards neighbouring Afghanistan. Some reports have ‘Taliban sources’ saying that he died of a heart attack, but his mentor General (retd) Hamid Gul says Col Imam was never a heart patient and that he had been killed by Indian agents and

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January 24, 2011

Our unsung heroes – by Imran Khan

by admin


Cross-posted from I Opyne

By claiming responsibility for lashings, public beheadings and suicide bombings, the Taliban have declared themselves villains of the caliber that can not be found even in the goriest of movies. But like anywhere else, the emergence of these villains has also prompted the rise of heroes.

Take for instance the case of Liaqat Ali Khan, of the Dagai village of Matta in Swat. On October 17, 2008, Liaqat received an unexpected guest at his house; the guest was Zhang Guo a Chinese telecom engineer, who had escaped the captivity of the Taliban. They were holding him hostage to secure the release of their own

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January 24, 2011

Peshawar school blast: A father’s last day with his only child – by Manzoor Ali

by admin

Children peering out at the bomb site from Shah Faisal Model School minutes after the blast.


In his Friday sermon, the prayer leader at a mosque in Gulberg, Peshawar asked the congregation to offer Fatiha for the departed soul of a child who was killed in a terrorist bombing four days ago.

“God’s wrath be upon those committing such dastardly acts in our country, irrespective of their caste and creed,” wailed the prayer leader, followed by a loud, impassioned Ameen from the people in attendance.

Across the street, in front of the boy’s home, people sat on cots and chairs, consoling his family.

When six-year-old Shazeb woke up to go to school on

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December 24, 2010

Pushtun, Shia, Ahmadi and Barelvi: main victims of terrorism in Pakistan in 2010 – by Amir Mir

by admin


Source: The News, December 24, 2010

The year 2010 has proven to be the bloodiest for the people of Pakistan since 2001 as the unending spate of lethal suicide bombings in almost every nook and corner of the country has killed 1,224 innocent Pakistanis and injured 2,157 others in 52 gory attacks between January 1 and December 23, 2010.

Even though the incidents of suicide attacks have gone down to 35 percent this year as against the last year, 2010 still remained the bloodiest one in terms of the number of the people killed by human bombs across Pakistan in a single year since the 9/11 terror attacks in the US and the subsequent decision by the Musharraf regime to join hands with Washington in the war against terror.

The people of Pakistan had to bear a record number of 80 suicide attacks in 2009, killing 1,217 persons and injuring 2,305 others, compared with 52 such assaults in 2010 so far – 28 less – compared with those of the last year, thereby showing a 35 percent decrease in suicide hits this year.

On average, the fanatic human bombs killed 102 persons per month in 2010, compared with the last year’s average of 101 killings a month, hence showing a one percent increase in casualties. Similarly, the bombers, on average, killed more than 23 Pakistanis every week and over three persons every day in 2010. On average, more than four suicide attacks were carried out every month in 2010, compared with six assaults every month by human bombs in 2009. Of the 1,224 Pakistanis who lost their lives in suicide hits in 2010, the number of civilian casualties stood at 605, as against 863 civilians killed during last year, thereby showing 258 less casualties in 2010.

However, the civilian casualties in 2010 still remained 49 percent of the total deaths caused by the suicide bombings this year.

Of the remaining 619 martyrs who lost their lives in suicide attacks this year, 169 belonged to the security forces and the law enforcement agencies. Of them, 62 were policemen, 48 belonged to the armed forces of Pakistan, 26 were the Frontier Constabulary personnel, 12 belonged to the Rangers, nine were the staffers of the Inter Services Intelligence and 12 others belonged to the Khasadar Force.

Hence, the casualties suffered by the law enforcement agencies in the 2010 suicide attacks remain 14 percent of the total deaths – 1,224. Of the remaining 436 Pakistanis killed by the human bombs this year, 151 (or 12 percent of the total killed) were Shia Muslims, 103 (or eight percent of the total casualties) were Ahmedis or Qadianis while 81 (six percent of the total killed) were Barelvi Muslims.

Those killed this year in suicide bombings also included 62 activists of the Awami National Party, 22 activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, 12 activists each of the Lashkar-e-Islami and Ansarul-Islam, three American soldiers and two Pakistani journalists.

Of the 1,224 persons who lost their lives in suicide hits this year across Pakistan, the largest number – 416 – were killed in the Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa in 25 attacks – (34 percent of the total dead).

The Fata suffered 12 suicide attacks, killing 381 persons (31 percent of the total killed). In Punjab, the number of those killed was 312 (25 percent of the total dead).

Similarly, four incidents of suicide bombings killed 81 persons in Balochistan (seven percent of the total casualties). Two suicide attacks killed 28 persons in the Sindh (two percent of the total dead) while in Azad Kashmir, six persons were killed in two incidents of suicide bombings.

According to the month-wise break-up of the suicide bombings and the subsequent casualties in 2010, a total of 115 persons were killed in seven attacks in January, 102 persons lost their lives in six incidents in February, 157 more were killed in seven attacks in March, another 155 persons lost their lives in six bombings in April, 118 persons were killed in three suicide hits in May while no such incident took place in June 2010.

In July, 165 Pakistanis were killed in five attacks across Pakistan, 43 persons lost their lives in two such incidents in August, 141 more were killed in five such attacks in September, 25 persons were perished in two suicide hits in October, 96 more lost their lives in five more attacks in November, while 101 more have so far been killed in four such incidents in the first 23 days of December 2010.

It was in the aftermath of the Operation Silence conducted against Lal Masjid clerics that a series of deadly suicide attacks rocked the four provinces of Pakistan as well as Islamabad.

The dangerous trend touched alarming heights in 2007, averaging more than one attack a week as the establishment gradually lost control of the jehadi networks and their leaders which had allegedly been nurtured to advance its geo-strategic agenda.

Terrorism experts say Pakistan has been turned into the suicide bombing capital of the world; especially, in the aftermath of the bloody Operation Silence conducted in the heart of Islamabad, with the security forces, especially the army and the police, frequently being targeted by human bombs, killing 2,801 Pakistanis in 242 such incidents since July 2007.

Look at the casualty figures for the Pakistani security forces since then: over 1,200 members of the security forces and law enforcement agencies had been killed in suicide bombings across Pakistan between July 3, 2007 (the day the Lal Masjid operation was launched) and December 23, 2009.

As per the Interior Ministry records, the number of suicide hits rose from 56 in 2007 to 66 in 2008, killing 965 people during that year compared with the 837 people killed in 2007. The people of Pakistan suffered 252 more deaths in suicide attacks next year — 1217 persons in 2009. However, unfortunately enough, the year 2010 has broken all the previous records of terrorism since 9/11 in terms of the death toll.

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 14, 2010

What Maulana Fazlur Rehman has on the cards – by Ali Arqam

by admin

Maulana Fazlur Rehman to the press, Courtesy ET

In a dramatic set of events on the very fateful day of 14th December, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) broke away from the federal coalition over the government’s decision to sack the Federal Science and Technology Minister Azam Swati without taking the JUI-F into confidence.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman had some more charges against the federal government. But all the charges before the recent one did not make him part ways with the government.(source)

The Maulana has in the past opposed the PPP government’s decision of military operations against the militant outfits as they have considerably strong influence in various militant outfits of the Deobandi sect. Maulana Fazlur Rehman also offered mediation between the Government and the Taliban, although it seems far-fetched as both parties, Taliban in particular, are skeptical of Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

The Pakistani Taliban (TTP) is a loosely bonded group of various splinter cells of militants. They pose as united for their fierce image, impact and also to attract new recruits. Maulana is not popular among all of them, as leaders of the TTP Swat chapter, Fazlullah and Shah Doran, had shown their disgust for him in their propaganda speeches on the infamous FM radio.

In early 2008, a rocket was fired on Maulana’s residence in DI Khan, and intelligence agencies have reported threats to his life.

Another leader of the JUI, Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani (recently appointed chairman CII), has narrowly escaped at least two attacks by the Taliban.

JUI knows it better. Therefore while they always issued statements against the military operations to appease the conservative voters they never put significant steps in opposing the military operations.

Maulana on various occasions has expressed his displeasure over the government’s ‘evading tactics’ on Islamic laws. It seems strange that an anti-secular party is expecting PPP to make Islamic laws. However, everything is fair in the game of political alliances or smart politics.

JUI strongly protested on the death of Maulana Ameen in an Air Strike by Pakistan armed forces on a Madrassah at Orakzai while they have targeted militant hideouts in the agency. Though it was not an enough reason to break up with the Government to record protest.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman had strong reservations on the recent debate over blasphemy laws by various sections of society, PPP representatives, Governor Punjab and social activists. But he was waiting for the issue to be unfolded, and refrained from overstepping the issue.

Here comes the Hajj Scam (as media has given it the title), the unpleasant exchange of public remarks between two member of the federal cabinet, Azam Swati of JUI(F) and Hamid Saeed Kazmi of PPP, resulting in sacking of both by the Prime Minister.

And Maulana came with a harsh reaction to say good bye to the coalition. The decision is surprising for all, from politicians to media TV anchors. It has fuelled the rumour mills and boosted the morale of the analysts who were tired of issuing forecasts for the fall of the government and renewing the deadlines every time.

Maulana got a relatively sizeable chunk of attractive posts and ministries in the Government compared to his strength in the Parliament; recently the long awaited CII chairmanship demand has been fulfilled.

Then what does the Maulana want?

-Image building exercise after the WikiLeaks

– Evading support of the RGST in the parliament, though it does not seem a big deal

– Getting some more undisclosed demands to be fulfilled as the previous record shows

– Winds of change from the holy land, Tehrik Nizam-e-Mustafa 3.0

–  Revival of MMA 2.0

Let us wait and see, or you are free to draw conclusions of your own…

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

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 6, 2010

Tariq Ali's "Pushtun nationalists" kill tribal elders: At least 50 Pushtuns butchered by extremist Deobandis in Mohmand agency

by admin

Related articles:

The Taliban is NOT an expression of Pushtun Nationalism – By Qudsia Siddiqi

Pakistan’s left towards rights- Tariq Ali praises Taliban and Hezbollah

MOHMAND AGENCY: At least 40 people were killed and 70 others wounded when a suicide bomber attacked the office of a political agent in Ghalnai on Monday.

The bomber hit the office at about 2:00pm, killing 40 people including two journalists. About 30 injured have been shifted to Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. An emergency has been imposed at Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar. Two bodies have also been taken to Peshawar’s hospital.

The political administration of Mohmand Agency told SAMAA that several injured people are in critical condition.

While talking to the media after visiting the injured in Lady Reading Hospital, provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that the government was taking all possible measures to curb the menace of terrorism from the country. But, he added, peace in Pakistan is linked to peace in Afghanistan. He bitterly condemned the suicide blast and directed the hospital administration to provide better facilities to the injured. Mian Iftikhar Hussain was of the view that this situation will continue in the country for the next 14 years if proper steps are not taken against terrorism. (Source)

مہمند ایجنسی کی انتظامیہ کا کہنا ہے کہ یہ دھماکے مہمند ایجنسی کے علاقے غلنئی میں واقع پولیٹیکل انتظامیہ کے دفتر کے باہر ہوئے ہیں۔

حکام نے بتایا کہ دو حملہ آوروں میں سے ایک نے اسسٹنٹ پولیٹیکل ایجنٹ کے دفتر کے باہر اپنے آپ کو دھماکے سے اڑا دیا ہے جبکہ دوسرے کو سکیورٹی اہلکاروں نے گیٹ پر روکا جہاں اس نے اپنے آپ کو دھماکے سے اڑا دیا۔

کلِک مہمند میں خودکش دھماکے: تصاویر

ہمارے نامہ نگار عزیز اللہ خان نے بتایا کہ پولیٹیکل ایجنٹ مہمند ایجنسی امجد علی خان نے صحافیوں کو بتایا کہ دونوں حملہ آوروں نے خاصہ داروں کی یونیفارم پہنی ہوئی تھی۔ انہوں نے مزید کہا کہ اس مرتبہ بارودی مواد کے ساتھ چھروں کی بجائے گولیاں ڈالی گئی تھیں اور یہ گولی جس کو لگی ہے وہ موقع پر ہلاک ہوا ہے۔

دونوں حملہ آوروں نے خاصہ داروں کی یونیفارم پہنی ہوئی تھی۔ انہوں نے مزید کہا کہ اس مرتبہ بارودی مواد کے ساتھ چھروں کی بجائے گولیاں ڈالی گئی تھیں اور یہ گولی جس کو لگی ہے وہ موقع پر ہلاک ہوا ہے۔
مہمند پولیٹیکل ایجنٹ
انھوں نے کہا کہ یہ حملہ دوپہر دو بجے کیا گیا ہے اور اس وقت مقامی قبائل کا ایک جرگہ ہو رہا تھا۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ یہاں روایات کے مطابق ہر ایک کی جامہ تلاشی لینا مشکل کام ہے ۔

مقامی لوگوں نے بتایا ہے کہ اس حملے میں ہلاک ہونے والوں میں دو صحافی اور دو قبائلی رہنما شامل ہیں جبکہ ایک اسسٹنٹ پولیٹیکل ایجنٹ زخمی ہوئے ہیں۔

دریں اثنا تحریک طالبان پاکستان کے مہمند ایجنسی کے سربراہ عمر خالد نے نامعلوم مقام سے ٹیلیفون پر اس حملے کی ذمہ داری قبول کی ہے اور کہا ہے کہ یہ کارروائی چند ماہ پہلے ان کے عرب ساتھیوں کے خلاف سکیورٹی فورسز کے آپریشن اور ان کی گرفتاری کے خلاف کی گئی ہے۔

یاد رہے چند روز پہلے مہمند ایجنسی کی تحصیل صافی میں سکیورٹی فورسز پر حملے کی ذمہ داری بھی اسی تنظیم نے قبول کی تھی اور کہا تھا کہ ان کے حملے جاری رہیں گے۔

Source: BBC Urdu

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 4, 2010

Adeyzai lashkar ends cooperation with govt – by Farhat Taj

by admin

What is becoming of the Adeyzai lashkar is precisely the story of almost all anti-Taliban lashkars in FATA. The lashkars were encouraged by the authorities with promises of help. The promises never materialised

Leaders of the anti-Taliban lashkar in Adeyzai, a Peshawar village on the border with FATA, are preparing to hold a press conference in Peshawar to announce the termination of their cooperation with the provincial Awami National Party (ANP) government and the security forces of Pakistan in the war on terror. Following the press conference, the lashkar leaders will approach the Taliban for an agreement whereby they (the Taliban) will assure no attacks on the people of Adeyzai inside the village or outside, and the villagers would allow the Taliban to peacefully pass through Adeyzai for any attacks on civil, military or police targets in any part of Peshawar.

What has made the Adezai lashkar change its anti-Taliban stance? The lashkar courageously stood up to the Taliban for two years despite great human and material losses. The reason is that the government as well as the military have extended the lashkar almost no moral and material support since it was formed in 2008. Without the state’s support, their anti-Taliban stance has cost them heavily. The Taliban have punished the entire village through repeated bomb attacks. The lashkar people, their family members and supporters have been killed and their small businesses burnt down by the Taliban.

Despite no state support, the lashkar volunteers continued to cooperate with the government and security forces in the war on terror. They have been providing actionable intelligence to the authorities about the Taliban. They established the writ of the state in Adeyzai that helped the ANP government rebuild girls’ schools bombed by the Taliban, and the police came back on normal duty. Prior to the formation of the lashkar, the people had stopped sending girls to schools due to Taliban threats and the police could not come out of the police station following the beheading of some policemen in the area. Upon the request of the military authorities, 50 volunteers from the lashkar participated in the military operation against the Taliban in Bora-Prastavana, the FATA area adjacent to Adeyzai in September 2010.

The lashkar leaders have a long list of complaints against the government and the military. The authorities have not been promptly responding to the actionable intelligence against the Taliban provided by the lashkar leaders. The lashkar volunteers who participated in the Bora-Prastavana operation for five days used their own weapons. The lashkar was never compensated in cash or kind by the military authorities for the weapons and ammunition they used in the operation. The lashkar men were even kept hungry and thirsty during the operation. Over 40 villagers have died in clashes with the Taliban and suicide and rocket attacks by the Taliban, including lashkar leaders, volunteers and their relatives, village elders and other villagers, including women and children. The Taliban have bombed shops and other small businesses belonging to the villagers. No compensation whatsoever has been provided by the government for the human and material losses suffered by the people of Adeyzai for their anti-Taliban stance. The villagers wonder why the government never compensates them whereas the victims of terrorism all over the country are compensated to some extent. Despite pledges made by the governor and chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, no weapons or cash have been given to the lashkar to support its stance against the Taliban.

Amid attacks, the Taliban have also been sending messages to the lashkar leaders to give up their pro-government stance in return for compensation for the human and material losses suffered by everyone in the village, including the lashkar volunteers. The lashkar and people of Adeyzai have been turning down such offers for two years. They, however, argue that without state support, they cannot continue their armed struggle against the well financed and organised Taliban anymore.

Most people in Adeyzai, including the lashkar leaders, are farmers and drivers or run small businesses related with transport or grocery shops. It has become increasingly difficult for them to provide weapons, ammunition and rations for their 300 armed volunteers. Hence the lashkar’s decision to strike a deal with the Taliban out of sheer helplessness due to the absence of state support.

What is becoming of the Adeyzai lashkar is precisely the story of almost all anti-Taliban lashkars in FATA. Taliban gangs were unleashed on peaceful civilians and they were left to fend for themselves. Out of sheer desperation, they formed anti-Taliban lashkars. The lashkars were encouraged by the authorities with promises of help. The promises never materialised. The Taliban were given a free hand to slaughter the lashkars. Some anti-Taliban people were killed, others were made to run away and the remaining were forced to make deals with the Taliban or join them as fighters and commanders. This is how the ‘popular support’ of the fiercely autonomous tribesmen has been engineered in FATA. Through acute insecurity, the region has been rendered inaccessible for outsiders so that no free scholarly or journalistic investigation is able to question the authenticity of this popular support for the Taliban in FATA. All this is in pursuit of strategic depth in Afghanistan.

Adeyzai, however, is not a part of FATA – the unfortunate area under the absolute control of the intelligence agencies who use it as strategic space for strategic depth in Afghanistan. Adeyzai is part of Peshawar, under the Pakhtun nationalist ANP government. The Pakistani state in FATA has already lost its legitimacy to the tribesmen. The state there means nothing but death and destruction because of the state’s collusion with the Taliban and al Qaeda. Now the people of Peshawar may be drawing the same conclusion. It is no wonder that I keep hearing from the people of Adeyzai that the state has no will to eliminate the Taliban. What will become of the legitimacy of the state in this situation in Peshawar, an important garrison town? The most unfortunate aspect is that all this is happening under the ANP government.

There is an urgent need for the sake of legitimacy of the state that the lashkar and people in Adeyzai are provided some state support. The government may start by providing immediate compensation to all the people in Adeyzai for their human and material losses. This must be followed by targeted operations in the FATA areas around Adeyzai so that the village drivers and farmers have no need to make anti-Taliban lashkars. If that is not doable on an urgent basis, the lashkar must be provided with necessary support so that the Adeyzai villagers and other people in Peshawar can live in peace.

The writer is a PhD Research Fellow with the University of Oslo and currently writing a book, Taliban and Anti-Taliban