Pashtun Civil War

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Johann » 29 Oct 2009 23:07

Ramana,

Daud aggressively pursued territorial claims to Pakistan whether in power as Prime Minister in the 1950s, or as President after the coup in 1973.

In order to build up the Afghan armed forces to a level that could sustain such confrontation he turned to the Soviets. The price was allowing the local communist party to flourish and recruit/place people within the government.

This was the context of the confrontation between Daud and Bhutto in the 1970s. Daud encouraged Pashtun militancy in the NWFP, and Bhutto encouraged Islamist militancy in Kabul and SE Afghanistan. Both Ahmad Shah Massoud and Gulbudin Hekmatyar were trained by the Pakistanis at this time, although the Paks favoured Hekmatyar.

However, the new factor in the region was the Shah's oil-fuelled Iran which had superpower ambitions.

By the mid-1970s Pahlavi Iran had turned both Daud's Afghanistan and Bhutto's Pakistan in to client states, and pushed them in to reconciliation by 1977.

Daud's drift away from the USSR towards pro-American Iran was taken as a huge affront by Brezhnev's Kremlin which was riding high from victories in South Vietnam and Angola.

The further Daud got from them, the more support Moscow threw behind the Afghan communist party (PDPA), which itself had split in to factions that were roughly Ghilzai vs. Durrani - in fact the Communist Party of India was used by Moscow to negotiate the reunification of the Parcham and Khalq factions.

Inevitably the tensions between the PDPA and Daud got stronger. The PDPA was particularly strong in the Soviet trained Afghan military's officer corps, and the result was the communist coup of April 1978, the 'Saur Revolution'.

Islamist militancy up until this point had *very little* appeal to ordinary Afghans - it was mostly conducted by university educated Afghans. Unfortunately the communist government, particularly the radical Khalq faction (the more Ghilzai, army centric faction) launched a very brutal program of radical change that alienated the entire countryside, regardless of tribe and ethnicity.

The Khalq naturally turned to the Soviets for arms and advisors to Pakistan. The Soviets at this point saw the Afghan insurgency as an extension of the Iranian revolution, since the first rebellion was by led by Captain Ismail Khan (who is still an Iranian ally) in Herat. The Soviets were very worried of the potential of the Iranian revolution to spread to Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, etc in the USSR.

This is the point at which the Chinese got very actively involved, sending arms and trainers to Pakistan, seeing this as part of Soviet encirclement in Mongolia and Vietnam.

Brzezinski wanted the US to get at least as deeply involved, but Carter was only willing to agree to 'non-lethal assistance' and a very modest amount of money.

Moscow was closer to the Parcham faction, seeing the Khalqis as reckless and self-defeating. They were particularly upset at the way that Khalq policies were whipping up insurgency, which Khalq then expected the Soviets to help contain. Meanwhile Khalq was busy first purging and massacring the Parchamis despite Moscow's order to desist.

The Politburo plan in 1979 was to intervene by overthrowing the Khalq, and replacing them with the Parchamis, who would be able to defeat the insurgency through sticks and carrots, while the Soviets gave them top cover. The rest is history.

This is why Brzezinski's grandiose claims are pure self-inflating nonsense. It is the Khalq faction of the PDPA, more than any other that turned the conflict in to a broad based civil war, and drove the USSR in to intervention. Without Khalq's radical policies, Pakistan's Islamists had no appeal for 95% of Afghans.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby ramana » 30 Oct 2009 00:24

Looks like a very good case study for the "Thinking in Time" methodolgy of Neustadt and May.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby ramana » 30 Oct 2009 03:26

And in final analysis boils down to Ghilzai-Durrani fight still with new ideologies and weapons.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Prem » 30 Oct 2009 03:49

ramana wrote:And in final analysis boils down to Ghilzai-Durrani fight still with new ideologies and weapons.


We need to support both as well prepare NA for any eventuality while Iran protects Hajara Shias.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby ramana » 30 Oct 2009 04:02

From the books posted by Airavat, there are three major ethnic groups in Afghanistan: Hazaras, Tajiks and Pasthuns. Hazaras are left over from chegez Khan and are Shias. Tajiks are the old Huns and are more settled/urbanised. Pashtuns claim to be Abrahamic but are really closer to old Vedic tribes. Pashtuns are Sunni except in some pockets.
Pashtuns have two main groups: Ghilzai and Durrani. Ghilzai are the former rulers like the Lodis etc. Durranis took advantage of the turmoil of the Persain invasion and sided with Nadir Shah to gain ascendency.


My comments:
TSP has transformed the Ghilzais into Taliban in the 90s'. However the point to note is even when they were ruling Afghanistan, they did not want to settle Durand Line and disputed it. So thats the rallying line for the Pashtuns of all tribes.
And if their energies are directed to erasing that they will get primacy over the other two ethnic groups. Any way you look a final settlement needs to consolidate Pashtuns into one land, and remerge the Tajik and Hazars (Herat) region to their adjacent regions. Unless if they all can rally behind a Afghan leader who can subsume the many ethnic identities. Massod was one such leader who got killed too early. Ahmed Shah Abdali/Durrani did that in past.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby SSridhar » 30 Oct 2009 14:52

ramana wrote:Can we have this on ppt format?


You have mail Ramana.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Singha » 30 Oct 2009 20:31

if anyone has noticed, Sindh police has been busy arresting 100s of unregistered afghans in karachi and bus routes in the hinterland to contain the risk of pakiban doing specutacular attacks and keep them on the run.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby ramana » 30 Oct 2009 22:16

Slowly dawing on folks that its a Pashtun Civil War!

Nightwatch, 29 Oct, 2009

Afghanistan: The Taliban in Afghanistan plan to intensify their attacks to disrupt the upcoming runoff presidential election, Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi said 29 October, according to Agence France-Presse.

If the Taliban do as Ahmadi said, a Tajik is likely to be the next president of Afghanistan. No Pashtun wants that. A more likely strategy is for the Pashtuns to vote for their favorite son, Hamid Karzai. If the voter turnout is as this note expects – Karzai wins easily -- it will tend to be the strongest proof yet that the fight is a civil war featuring a Pashtun uprising.


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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Paul » 30 Oct 2009 23:53

Glad to see this thread getting some recognition finally.

Rather than the Tajiks, it is the Uzbegs who held Northern Afghanistan for the longest time. Looking again to the past to provide us the answers, It will be interesting to recall that the bonhomie between the early Mughals and the Persians was because of their common antipathy towards the Uzbegs.

It is the Uzbegs who are the dark horse in Central Asia and Afghanistan. Among AQ’s fiercest fighters in FATA are the Uzbeg band led by Tahir Yuldashev. The JouzJani militia of Dostam are the fiercest fighters in Afghanistan. It will be unwise to count them out. Seeing the pashtuns success in erasing the Durand line riding the Islam bandwagon, They could also throw their lot with the AQ to regain their traditional dominance over central asia and north Afghanistan.

As for the Tajiks, The Samanid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samanid) dynasty was the earliest Tajik group but faded into oblivion for many centuries. After this time, there was a Tajik claimant to Kabul by name Baccha Sakao ( derisively referred to as water carrier by the Pakhtuns) who tried to overthrow the monarchy in Kabul but was executed. The Kambojas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kambojas) who were in combat with Arjuna the day Abhimanyu was killed could be their ancestors.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Johann » 31 Oct 2009 01:36

+ Uzbekistan is very different from the Pashtun areas in Af-Pak. The population is overwhelmingly literate, and far more urban and industrialised. The leading Islamists (as opposed to the Salafi jihadis) are not clerics or soldiers, but merchants. Like Algeria, Syria and Turkey Islamism here is at least as much about class and economics as anything else. Just like those three the state remains strong enough to crush its opponents.

This is not Afghanistan, or Somalia, or Yemen or Iraq, where huge areas remain essentially tribal societies, and where state power is fragile or non-extant. In Uzbekistan the jihadis may have temporary upsurges, but its hard to see them taking over. What is more likely is a gradual pragmatic Islamisation seen in Turkey.

+ The real tinderbox in Uzbekistan is the Fergana Valley, which is shared with Tajikistan and Kyrgystan. That is the area with the greatest Islamist activism, but also with the greatest ethnic tensions between Tajiks, Kyrgyz and Uzbeks.

+ The Uzbeks are very closely linguistically related to the Uyghurs of China, and the Af-Pak region forms a radicalising corridor between the two.

Right now the Fergana Uzbek and Uyghur jihadis are tied down fighting the Americans and the Pakistanis under American pressure, although this is still dangerous since it provides training, experience and connections to the wide global jihad. But should the Americans withdraw, the next line of defence is the Northern Alliance, and, then it spills over.

This is one of the key reasons Russia and China form the core of the security element of the Shanghai Cooperative Organisation, and why the SCO has characterised its military exercises (Peace Mission 2005 onwards to 2009) as 'anti-terrorist' and 'anti-separatist' and 'anti-extremist'.

The Russians and Chinese intend to intervene in Uzbekistan if the government is ever overwhelmed, with or without the Uzbek government's permission. Of course the other scenario they're preparing in these exercises for (the ones with naval components) is an intervention in the case of North Korean collapse to pre-empt the US, but that's a different story.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby a_kumar » 31 Oct 2009 02:13

Gurus,

I have frequently tried to find references that counter the claim that "US used Pakistan in Afghan war".

A few see this the other way, "Pakistan used US for its objectives". For example, in Charlie Wilson's War, this best dipicts the situation. Zia and his gang pretty much diss and extort arms out of US. Its pretty much like Zia pulled a willing backer into the conflict.

But, I can't find a good reference that nails this. Any pointers?

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Paul » 31 Oct 2009 11:57

Johann,

Like most westerners you are overestimating the extent to which the west and by extension nation states like Russia/China can influence events in Central Asia. This is why you westerners are unable to grasp the tide of history influencing events in Asia. The west came to Asia only for the last 400 years or so. The tide of history is rolling back the power of the west to influence events in other parts of the world.

Now that the Pakhtuns are fully on board the Islam bandwagon, the west is belatedly realizing the forces that are coming to fore…. The combined power of the anglo saxon west, Russia, Iran and to some extent India is not enough to prevent them from asserting their influence in the regions comprising of Afghanistan.

Other ethnic identities that have lost out in the power struggles since Russia and Britain divided up Asia in the great game and are watching this experiement in great detail. Should this exercise succeed they will clamber on the bandwagon to reassert their interests.

We are overestimating the power of Russia and China in their ability to hold the surge in the ambitions of these groups when they have the momentum.

I wrote the following in the new game thread in Aug10,2009

I think Islam will make a strong comeback in CA. The ex-USSR satraps Karimov, Nazarbayev, etc. are lording it over with the acquiscence of a populace which is still under the influence of the USSR and it's benefits. As a new generation grows up, I expect them to begin the search for their roots. and this arrangement will wither away. It is a matter of time.

I expect Russia, Iran, China,and India (to lesser extent as we are already pushed back) to foot the bill for this.

It will start with the Good taliban coming to power in Afghania....then the snowball keeps getting bigger.


This raises a more somber question…to be pondered by all Indians, Iranians, Chinese, Russians and the west…..After learning the lessons from the successful Pakhtun experiment in realizing their aims by getting on the Islam bandwagon, which ethnic group in CA will get on the train next???

My money is on the Uzbegs….

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Johann » 01 Nov 2009 00:36

Paul,

Long before Islam dominated it Central Asia was the great churn of the world of human affairs.

Some new tribal confederation would emerge from the steppes displacing other tribes, who would then invade the kingdoms on their periphery, and so on.

The key to wealth was expanding along the Silk Road, until they conquered the great producing areas in India, China, and even the Mediterranean.

The key was that they could generate vastly larger numbers of trained and armed cavalry. Once field artillery was introduced the military advantage of cavalry went away, and the shift to maritime trade Central Asia was reduced to the esoteric obscurity of the great game.

Uzbekistan today is the most populous state in Central Asia, with a large youth bulge. Right now one estimate is that *a quarter* of the Uzbek working population works abroad in Kazkhstan, Russia, South Korea (not Saudi Arabia luckily!).

I fully expect instability, and I expect some of that instability to manifest itself as jihadi violence.

I also expect the Uzbek state to continue to clamp down on the jihadis, while permitting some space for cultural and political Islamism, while working to expand middle class economic opportunities.

The Islamism of a literate, secularised, urban, de-tribalised, industrialised society is not going to be the same as the Islamism of a tribal, agrarian, and often illiterate society. Its the difference between the Islamism of Turkey and the Islamism of Pakistan. Uzbekistan is far closer to Turkey than Pakistan in its literacy, its industrialisation, and the place of Islam in society.

I cant count the number of outsiders, especially Westerners, who wrote off Algeria, Egypt, Syria, etc when they faced massive jihadi upsurges in the late 1980s through mid 1990s. These were the same people who predicted that Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, etc were all going to be fall to the jihadis by 1992 or 1995 at the latest. They were wrong, because they underestimated the strength of these states, the depth of modernisation of these societies, and the impact of strong economic/security/political backing from allies and neighbours.

The economies of Russia, East Asia, Central Asia, Iran and India are re-integrating through energy, transportation links and investments. I believe this is going to be a stabilising factor, just as the integration of Mediterranean Arab economies with the EU helped stabilise those states.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby A_Gupta » 01 Nov 2009 04:20

From the Soviet archives

Introductory:
Recently declassified documents from archives in the former Soviet Union and memoirs of senior Soviet military and political leaders present the complex and tragic story of the ten years of the Soviet military involvement in Afghanistan. Most observers agree that the last war of the Soviet Union created or aggravated the internal dynamics that eventually culminated in the dissolution of the country itself. The documents presented here shed light on the most important moments in the history of the Soviet war in Afghanistan—the Afghan government’s requests for assistance, the Soviet Union’s initial refusal of troops, the reversal of this policy by a small group of the Politburo and the Soviet decision to invade; the expansion of the initial mission to include combat operations against the Afghan resistance; early criticism of the Soviet policy and of the People’s Democratic party of Afghanistan (PDPA) regime; and the decision to withdraw the troops. Taken together, these materials suggest some lessons that might be drawn from the Soviet experience of fighting a war in Afghanistan.

The decision to send troops was made after a long deliberation and repeated requests from the leadership of the PDPA, Prime Minister Hafizullah Amin and President Nur Mohammad Taraki. The Politburo discussions show that the Soviet leaders were very reluctant to send troops, and responded to the Afghan requests with shipments of military equipment, but not troops, throughout the spring and summer of 1979. However, the overthrow of Taraki by Amin in September just after Taraki’s return from Moscow heightened Soviet paranoia about the possibility that Amin would become another Sadat and turn towards the U.S. The actual decision to invade was made in secret by a very small group of Politburo members, against the strong and openly expressed opposition of the military, and only then rubber-stamped by the other Politburo members. Both Chief of USSR General Staff Marshal Ogarkov and his Deputy General of the Army Akhromeev voiced strong objections to introducing troops on the grounds that the proposed limited contingent of forces would not be able to fulfill its objectives.

The decision to send troops was made on the basis of limited information. According to Soviet veterans of the events, KGB sources were trusted over the military intelligence (GRU) sources. This partly reflected the growing influence of the KGB Chairman Yu. V. Andropov, who controlled the flow of information to General Secretary Brezhnev, who was partially incapacitated and ill for most of 1979. KGB reports from Afghanistan created a picture of urgency and strongly emphasized the possibility of Amin’s links to the CIA and U.S. subversive activities in the region. (President Carter had already signed a secret “finding” in July 1979 authorizing covert aid to the Afghani opponents of the Taraki-Amin regime.)

Afghanistan did not fit into the mental maps and ideological constructs of the Soviet leaders. Their analysis of internal social processes in Afghanistan was done through the conceptual lens of Marxist-Leninist doctrine, which blinded the leadership to the realities of traditional tribal society. Believing that there was no single country in the world, which was not ripe for socialism, party ideologues like Mikhail Suslov and Boris Ponomarev saw Afghanistan as a “second Mongolia.” Such conceptualization of the situation led to the attempts to impose alien social and economic practices on Afghan society, such as the forced land reform.

The Soviet decision makers did not anticipate the influential role of Islam in the Afghan society. There were very few experts on Islam in the Soviet government and the academic institutions. The highest leadership was poorly informed about the strength of religious beliefs among the masses of the Afghan population. Political and military leaders were surprised to find that rather than being perceived as a progressive anti-imperialist force, the Afghanis as foreign invaders, and “infidels.” Reports from Afghanistan show the growing awareness of the “Islamic factor” on the part of Soviet military and political personnel.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby A_Gupta » 01 Nov 2009 04:58

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB57/essay.html

Good essay.

after ousting the royal family, Daud initiated some of the progressive reforms which his leftist supporters had demanded. His commitment to a reformist program and to his early backers was shortlived, however. Over time, Daud consolidated his personal power by purging the government of leftists, replacing them with members of his own powerful Mohammadzai clan. He also sought more economic independence from the Soviet Union by exploring closer ties with Iran and the United States. He was careful, however, never completely to shun the Soviet Union. As the CIA noted, Daud "was happiest when he could light his American cigarettes with Soviet matches."(7)

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul observed that Daud, in his changes, was leaning neither left nor right, but "Daudward." In pursuit of personal power and a more independent foreign policy, Daud managed to alienate Afghanistan’s socialists, moderates and religious fundamentalists. It was the latter which initially proved to be Daud’s most militant opponents.


Further down

In 1982, the CIA predicted that the presence of Afghan refugees in Pakistan would help "generate political unrest and retard economic development until the end of the century."(19) While many Pakistanis demonstrated great hospitality and tolerance for the refugees, others despised their presence. Cables from Pakistan reveal violent clashes between Pakistani border tribes and Afghan refugees over scarce resources and political, religious and personal differences. Some disgruntled tribes even took weapons and money from the Afghan government to disrupt rebel supply lines into Afghanistan.

In fact, the Afghan government’s infiltration of Pakistan and the rebel parties was extensive and proved key to its survival. The government’s ministry of state security, known as KHAD, sought to buy or rent the loyalty of Pashtun tribes who inhabited the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area (the tribes often inhabited both sides of the border). Weapons and money were doled out to tribal militia who in turn interdicted rebel supply operations based in Pakistan. Some tribal leaders responded to Kabul’s material aid with political support, attending government jirgahs (assemblies) and other PDPA-sponsored activities. President Zia tried to undercut the Pakistan-based tribes’ support for the Afghan government by, among other means, conducting selective anti-narcotics sweeps through their home areas. Kabul’s strategy, however, continued to be successful, and ultimately contributed to the rise of Najibullah, the KHAD’s director and the man responsible for this counterinsurgency campaign, to the leader of the DRA in 1986.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Muppalla » 01 Nov 2009 08:02

If not posted already:

The Ethnic Split

Selig S. Harrison
The Nation
October 21, 2009


Alexander the Great, the British Raj and the Red Army all learned the hard way that the Pashtuns, Afghanistan's largest and historically dominant ethnic group, will unite to fight a foreign occupation force simply because it is foreign. As Howard Hart, a former CIA station chief in Pakistan, recently told the New York Times, "The very presence of our forces in the Pashtun areas is the problem. The more troops we put in, the greater the opposition."

The tenacity of the Taliban insurgency is rooted in opposition to an occupation that is, in this case, a particularly distasteful one to the Pashtuns. The US infidel is hated for Persian Gulf and Middle East policies--especially unconditional US support for Israel--that are perceived as anti-Muslim. But there are other factors that explain the strength of the Taliban. Some are widely written about, like drug money, popular anger at corrupt warlords and support from Pakistani intelligence agencies.
One factor of special sensitivity and importance that receives almost no attention either in the public debate about Afghanistan or in the internal policy battles of the Obama administration may well be the most important of all: the domination of the Afghan armed forces, police, secret police and intelligence agencies by leaders of the Tajik ethnic minority, who use their US-backed power in Kabul to lord it over their historic Pashtun rivals.

Pashtun kings ruled Afghanistan from its inception in 1747 until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1973. Initially limited to the Pashtun heartland in the south and east, the Afghan state gradually conquered the neighboring Tajik, Hazara and Uzbek areas to the north and west. Today the Pashtuns make up an estimated 42 percent of a population of 28 million; the Tajiks make up 27 percent. Yet Tajik generals hold the key levers of power in Kabul because they happened to be in the right place at the right time during the confused months when US forces overthrew the Taliban in 2001.

During the struggle against the Soviet occupation, the Tajiks built up a militia in the Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul, that had close CIA ties. Later it acquired allies in neighboring areas and became the Northern Alliance, which fought the Pashtun-based Taliban government that ruled from 1996 until 2001. When the victorious US forces marched into Kabul, the Northern Alliance was there, too, and with US help a clique of Tajik generals seized the key security posts in the new government.

The Bush administration, wanting to give a Pashtun face to the initial interim government, installed Hamid Karzai as president. He, too, had longstanding CIA ties and was the only Pashtun leader acceptable to the Tajik in-group headed by Gen. Muhammad Fahim. Fahim vetoed other more popular Pashtun figures identified with the last Pashtun king, Zahir Shah, notably Abdul Sattar Sirat. The United States later blocked Pashtun efforts to make Zahir Shah president of the second transitional government, which ruled from 2002 until a constitution was adopted and Karzai was elected president in 2004.

Now the Tajiks are riding high. In Karzai's recent bid for a second term (in elections widely regarded as rigged), Fahim was his running mate as first vice president. Army chief of staff Bismillah Khan has made fellow Tajiks his key corps commanders, and some 70 percent of his battalion commanders are Tajiks, making it difficult to enlist Pashtuns. The Tajik-dominated National Security Directorate, a sprawling network of intelligence and secret police agencies, systematically harasses Pashtun leaders who seek to challenge Tajik control. And if Karzai's challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, a half-Tajik and longtime Northern Alliance insider, shares power in a coalition government or wins a runoff, Tajik dominance would be strengthened.

The United States has painted itself into a corner in Afghanistan from which there can be no graceful escape. If it seeks to end Tajik dominance and shifts to a pro-Pashtun policy, there could well be a Tajik backlash and an uncontrollable, ethnically defined civil war. Yet a continuation of the status quo will only deepen Pashtun discontent.

What can be done now?

First, set a timetable for the gradual withdrawal of US and NATO forces during the next three years, limiting their role to the protection of major cities and of communications arteries critical to the defense of Kabul. This is the necessary condition for identifying the Taliban factions prepared to negotiate peace agreements at the local level with Pashtun tribal leaders.

Second, to offset Pakistan's support for the Taliban, replace the present "Af-Pak" strategy with a broader regional strategy that encourages India, Iran, Russia, China and Tajikistan--all of which oppose a Taliban takeover--to play a more active role in shaping Afghanistan's economic and political future and in setting the terms for a gradual US-NATO withdrawal.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby V_Raman » 01 Nov 2009 14:12

yudhabhyas it is

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby raghava » 01 Nov 2009 15:42

Muppalla wrote:If not posted already:

The Ethnic Split

Selig S. Harrison
The Nation
October 21, 2009


Alexander the Great, the British Raj and the Red Army all learned the hard way that the Pashtuns, .....


Lending more credence to the article above - Abdullah Abdullah now withdraws from the presidential runoff.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/world/asia/02afghan.html?hp

Hats off to BR - for seeing this 2.5 years ago itself as a Pashtun Civil War!

I wonder what other ingredients will be added to this soup now when the Tajiks dominate the forces but a resurgent Pashtun tries to reassert himself at the helm for the next 5 years.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Muppalla » 01 Nov 2009 19:23

If Karzai is removed at this time, then it will be soft Taliban takeover of Afghanistan that US may be planning. Post Najibullah government of Taliban is the most happiest times for both US and Pakistan. I believe US thinks that is the optimum solution to get out of the mess. However, for PR purposes they have to handover Osama and others so that US can announce we installed a Taliban minus Al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Even if this planned arrangement is succesful two things will remain (1) What happens to other ethnic groups of Afghanistan and (2) Taliban in Pakistan accepting the Punjabi+Mohajir leadership. This nonsense will backfire and there will be pile of mess there.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Muppalla » 02 Nov 2009 00:57

Meet The Press: Jim Miklaszewski says the Taliban controls more territory today (80%) than they did before the Afghan War.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Lilo » 05 Nov 2009 14:36



Beginning with a statement from Mullah Omar in September, the Afghan Taliban’s Quetta-based leadership has been emphasizing the “nationalist” character of their movement, and has sent several communications to Afghanistan’s neighbors expressing an intent to establish positive international relations.


But one thing is clear: the recent shift in the Quetta Shura’s strategic communications is not to al-Qa’ida’s liking, and it is raising serious concerns among the broader Salafi jihadi movement about the religio-political legitimacy of the Afghan Taliban’s leadership.


Nirupama Rao :"India would support the process of “reintegrating individuals with the national mainstream”, code for dialogue with the moderate Taliban

Karzai:Taliban are lost "Brothers"

Taliban:"We are a nationalistic movement"

USA: Bless you all

^^^Is this for real :eek:
what can any good come out of this upcoming deal with taliban?

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Paul » 07 Nov 2009 11:59

Johann wrote:
Some new tribal confederation would emerge from the steppes displacing other tribes, who would then invade the kingdoms on their periphery, and so on.

The key to wealth was expanding along the Silk Road, until they conquered the great producing areas in India, China, and even the Mediterranean.

The key was that they could generate vastly larger numbers of trained and armed cavalry. Once field artillery was introduced the military advantage of cavalry went away, and the shift to maritime trade Central Asia was reduced to the esoteric obscurity of the great game.


Agreed, the mamelukes in Egypt lost to Selim the Grim due superior Ottoman musketry and cannon. Much later the Persians were able to defeat the Uzbeg threat as and for all for the same reason.


The Islamism of a literate, secularised, urban, de-tribalised, industrialised society is not going to be the same as the Islamism of a tribal, agrarian, and often illiterate society. Its the difference between the Islamism of Turkey and the Islamism of Pakistan. Uzbekistan is far closer to Turkey than Pakistan in its literacy, its industrialisation, and the place of Islam in society.


It may be too early to consider this a settled issue. Turkish secularism is undergoing a major churning. The downfall in the fortunes of the west will definitely impact their ability to project their image in the middle east. It is already obvious to us Kaffirs.

The basic thumb rule is if you have to chose between a fundamentalist and so called whiskey Islam…there are no guesses to who will win.

I have already indicated that after the present generation of secularized Uzbegs or other turkestani educated class pass on, the search for their roots will lead the post soviet generation to get on the vehicle of fundamentalist Islam. How and when this will happen is what needs to be figured out.

Western education has never been a hurdle to prevent the educated Islamic class to yearn for a return to their roots. If Algeria and EGypt were able to prevent the afghan arabs from taking overthrowing the hukumat, the financial and logistical support provided by the west was the key factor. With the west losing it financial clout, their ability to support these regimes will continue to diminish with time.
Last edited by Paul on 07 Nov 2009 12:08, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Paul » 07 Nov 2009 12:04

ramana wrote:
"The loss of military prestige led to the defiance by tribal chiefs in the North West Punjab. This area is strategic as it links Afghanistan and Mughal India and its loss could dissolve the Empire. Throughout the medieval period, the frontiers of Mughal Empire were in Afghanistan and not in Peshawar. In the long run the failure of military activities in the North West region sportended a great disaster."

In a way it did. In the long run it cutoff the hordes of tribals who poured thru the passes and reinforced the dying Muslim rulers time and again after second battle of Terrain. Yes the EIC won at Plassey in 1757 but it won against an already dead regime or society whihc was still to recover from the death blow of 1652.


The Ghorids were able to get to Tarain in 1172 for the same reason. The outer defences were breached when the hardfighting HinduShahis had to give way in Kabul and this enabled the Turkics to set up their camp in Ghazni.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Paul » 07 Nov 2009 12:06

a_kumar wrote:Gurus,

I have frequently tried to find references that counter the claim that "US used Pakistan in Afghan war".

A few see this the other way, "Pakistan used US for its objectives". For example, in Charlie Wilson's War, this best dipicts the situation. Zia and his gang pretty much diss and extort arms out of US. Its pretty much like Zia pulled a willing backer into the conflict.

But, I can't find a good reference that nails this. Any pointers?



They both had orgasms. One at the local level and the other at the global level. Hope that explains it.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Pranav » 07 Nov 2009 12:16

Lilo wrote:Nirupama Rao :"India would support the process of “reintegrating individuals with the national mainstream”, code for dialogue with the moderate Taliban

Karzai:Taliban are lost "Brothers"

Taliban:"We are a nationalistic movement"

USA: Bless you all

^^^Is this for real :eek:
what can any good come out of this upcoming deal with taliban?


Good for the Paks, and good for the US, who desperately need to appease the Paks. India will basically have to put a brave face and bear it. What the people want is nobody's concern.
Last edited by Pranav on 07 Nov 2009 12:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby SSridhar » 07 Nov 2009 12:27

Paul wrote:
a_kumar wrote:Gurus,

I have frequently tried to find references that counter the claim that "US used Pakistan in Afghan war".

A few see this the other way, "Pakistan used US for its objectives". For example, in Charlie Wilson's War, this best dipicts the situation. Zia and his gang pretty much diss and extort arms out of US. Its pretty much like Zia pulled a willing backer into the conflict.

But, I can't find a good reference that nails this. Any pointers?



They both had orgasms. One at the local level and the other at the global level. Hope that explains it.


a_kumar, I think Paul's post sums it the best. Both gained and both lost it too subsequently big time proving that if you sow wind you reap whirlwind.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Paul » 07 Nov 2009 21:01

One got Syphlis but returned the compliment by passing on AIDS. :D But it was good for them while it lasted.

No wonder they keep getting nostalgic about the good old days.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby a_kumar » 07 Nov 2009 22:37

Paul/SSridhar,

All the antics in that relationship (Now that I am enlightened, I should call it "love affair") make a lot of sense now. Thanks for the clarity, that too in so few words!!!!

And may I add, neither of them seem to realize or remember the sequence well (affair-->honeymmon-->medical bills). Pakistan is obsessed with "affair->honeymoon", Uncle just wants another "honeymoon" at any price. Neither of them remember the "medical bills"!!!

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby ramana » 07 Nov 2009 23:56

They want India to pick up the medical bills.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Paul » 08 Nov 2009 06:08

Paul wrote:Now that the Pakhtuns are fully on board the Islam bandwagon, the west is belatedly realizing the forces that are coming to fore…. The combined power of the anglo saxon west, Russia, Iran and to some extent India is not enough to prevent them from asserting their influence in the regions comprising of Afghanistan.

Other ethnic identities that have lost out in the power struggles since Russia and Britain divided up Asia in the great game and are watching this experiement in great detail.Watch the video in Baluchistan thread where the Khan of Kalat's descendents is lamenting about their party being one of the losers of WWII. Should this exercise succeed they will clamber on the bandwagon to reassert their interests.
This raises a more somber question…to be pondered by all Indians, Iranians, Chinese, Russians and the west…..After learning the lessons from the successful Pakhtun experiment in realizing their aims by getting on the Islam bandwagon, which ethnic group in CA will get on the train next???

My money is on the Uzbegs….



Answering my own question...Baloch are getting ready to board the vehicle while the Uzbegs wait for their turn. The Pakistan Iran border is their Durand line. The Jundullah will start re-executing the Taliban formula soon.
Bilateral troublemaker

There are fears that Jundallah could become a role model for the Baloch youth -- transforming their ethnic movement into a religious one
By Raza Khan

Traditionally Pakistan and Iran have had friendly relations but in recent years certain international players and non-state actors have complicated the bilateral ties. The biggest source of acrimony between Iran and Pakistan of late has been an esoteric militant-terrorist group Jundallah. The relations were further damaged when the Iranian leadership accused Pakistan based-Jundallah for the suicide attack in Iranian Sistan that killed around 50 people. The attack was made on October 18 at a meeting of senior Iranian military officers of the elite Revolutionary Guards Corps. Jundallah took the responsibility. Subsequently, the Iranian government called upon Pakistan to take effective steps to bring to justice Jundallah and other anti-Iranian elements operating from Pakistan's soil.

It may be remembered that Jundallah after a lull of several months started attacks in Iran in May 2009. On May 28 a bomb attack on a Shiite mosque in the South Eastern city of Zahidan, on border with Pakistan, killed 20 people and wounded 50. On the following day gunmen attacked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Zahidan election office.

Ayatollah Sayyid Ahmad Khatami, a member of the Iranian Assembly, after the May attacks had said that he believed the US and Israel had a hand in the attack. He specifically accused the US of supporting Sunni rebels operating on the border with Pakistan, who have close links with al-Qaeda. Khatami said, "Although those who planted the bomb are malicious and non-believer Wahabbis and Salafis, (referring to Saudis and al Qaeda) the real masterminds are others. Those who planned the crime wanted to undermine the Supreme Leader's (Khamenei) move to help build closer bonds between Shiites and Sunnis."

Saudi Arabia and Iran have competed for swaying political influence in Pakistan and both historically supported Wahabi and Shia Pakistani groups, which led to large-scale sectarian violence particularly in 1990s.

The recent attacks by Jundallah also precipitated another wave of criticism by Iranian leadership of US accusing it of harbouring terrorists. Moreover, the attacks in Iran brought to limelight Jundallah -- also known as "Army of God", or "God's Brigade", or the new name Popular Iranian Resistance Movement. The organisation comprises members of the Baluch tribe, Rigi and operates out of the Balochistan province in Pakistan. It has been active since 2003 and has staged several militant attacks including suicide assaults inside Iran.

Iran considers Jundallah as a group connected to Taliban and their opium revenues, getting financial as well as ideological support directly from Saudi Arabia in coalition with certain Pakistani officials and other hard-line anti-Shiite, Sunni groups within Pakistan like the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba. There is a sort of discrepancy in Iran's accusations against Jundallah; on one hand it charges the Americans for supporting Jundallah and on the other calls Taliban and al-Qaeda behind the militant outfit.

Quetta-based analyst and writer, Malik Siraj Akbar told TNS, "Jundallah was headed by 27-year-old ruthless Abdul Malik (Abdolmalek) Rigi, who belonged to Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan and has studied at various Pakistani madrassas including one in Karachi. Most of the Afghan Taliban top leadership also studied at Karachi madrassas particularly Jamia Banoria. This could have been the common ground for initial contacts."

About Jundallah militants it is believed that they mostly move in the border areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan and then into Iran. The Jundallah militants usually use Pakistani border towns of Taftan, Turbat, and Pajgoor for their activities.

Siraj said, "According to the self-declared agenda of Jundallah, Regi himself has said that it does not aim at killing Shiites. He has been demanding that Iranian Baluchs, mostly Sunnis, should be given equal rights like Shiites. Regi believes that his movement is not purely religious and blames Shiite Iranian state of keeping them politically and educationally backward and should appoint Iranian Baluchs to key government positions and the deliberate policy. Regi also contends that his Baloch outfit does not have any link with Pakistani Baloch militant separatist organisations like Baloch Liberation Army, Baloch Liberation Front, Baloch People's Liberation Front, Balochistan Republican Army. Because they have a nationalist agenda while Jundallah does not subscribe to ethnic ideology per se."

The ideology of Jundallah could be described as based on three main tenets i.e. quasi Baluch nationalism, Islamism and religious conservatism. This is indeed strange that a Baloch group has Islamist underpinnings because the traditional Pakistani Baloch nationalists groups have been completely irreligious and profoundly secular.

Whereas, the nationalist cause of Jundallah is also strange as it does not demand or struggle for Greater Balochistan i.e. carving up of a new Baloch state combining Iranian and Pakistani Baloch areas as espoused by Pakistani Balochs, which means Jundallah does not want either dismemberment of Iran or Pakistan. When Iran and Iraq were engaged in a war (1980-88) the latter had used hundreds of Iranian Baluch against their native country. In this era the relationship between Iranian government and Baloch population become strained. Since then Iran has seen its Baloch population apart from Kurds as a big threat to the state.

The potential danger that Pakistani authorities fear is that Jundallah could become a role model for the Baloch youth, transforming their ethnic movement into a religious one. Thus making Balochistan another Waziristan or for that matter NWFP where clerical militancy has wreaked havoc.

Professor Dr Mansur Kundi, teacher of political science at University of Balochistan told TNS that although nobody has concrete evidence, from a theoretical standpoint, accusations by Iran of American support to Jundallah sound correct. "In international politics bilateralism is always important and under zero-sum game it is considered that enemy of my enemy is my friend and friend of my enemy is my enemy. On this basis Jundallah's links with US being anti-Shiite and Iran are somewhat natural."

Kundi believes that no one can deny that Iran has emerged, as a real nation-state however, there is hostility in Baloch areas of Iran. There is a religioethnic factor to this disaffection. The religious factor is that dominant majority of Baluchs are Sunnis in a Shiite state. In Iranian state structure, being a Sunni fundamentalist outfit is considered an anathema. For instance, you would find scores of Shiite mosques in Sunni dominated Zahidan city of Iran. But in Tehran (national capital of Shiite state) you would hardly find any Sunni mosque.

About Iran's threat perception of Pakistan-based terrorist groups Dr Kundi said, "On Iranian side of the border with Pakistan there is a black-topped road after every three kilometres linking the border posts with the rest of the country and all posts have been supplied with electricity. This is not the case on Pakistani side. The reason is Iran perceives the threat from Pakistan while we don't."

The writer is a political analyst.

Email razamzai@gmail.com


This is a game changer......You heard this here first.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby enqyoob » 10 Nov 2009 08:34

A-ho-A! We are getting there...

http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KK06Df01.html



UNDER THE AFPAK VOLCANO, Part 1
Welcome to Pashtunistan
By Pepe Escobar

There must be some way out of here
Said the joker to the thief
There's too much confusion
I can't get no relief - Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower

PARIS - Something's happening in AfPak, but you don't know what it is, do you Mr Beltway think-tanker?

As Washington mashes up the "Taliban" - be they Afghan neo-Taliban or Pakistani Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) - in Empire of Chaos logic to justify perennial United States/North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops stationed in AfPak, an increasing number of Pashtuns living on both sides of the border have seized the
opportunity and started to look to the Taliban as a convenient facilitator for the emergence of Pashtunistan.

But the Pentagon, make no mistake, knows exactly how to play its New Great Game in Eurasia. Balkanization of AfPak - the break-up of both Afghanistan and Pakistan - will engineer, among other states, an independent Pashtunistan and an independent Balochistan. Empire of Chaos logic is still British imperial divide-and-rule, remixed; and, at least in theory, yields territories much easier to control.

Don't mess with Pashtun nationalism
Tribal Pashtuns (from eastern Afghanistan to western Pakistan) have never given up on being united again. Everyone familiar with AfPak knows the region is still paying the price for the fateful and - what else - divide-and-rule British imperial decision in 1897 to split tribal Pashtuns through the artificial Durand Line. The line remains the artificial border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Anyone who ever crossed it at, for instance, Torkham, at the foot of the Khyber pass, knows it is meaningless; people swarming on both sides are all cousins who never stopped dreaming of a pre-colonial, Afghan Durrani empire that straddled a great deal of contemporary Pakistan.

Few have noticed that Pashtuns were recently insisting on a very basic demand - that North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) in Pakistan have its name changed to Pakhtunkhwa ("Land of the Pashtuns"). The demand was shot down this past September by the dominant Punjabis in Pakistan. Pashtun nationalists protested en masse in fabled Peshawar, the NWFP capital. Pashtun national liberation is at fever pitch. Pashtun Guevaras are already issuing a call to arms.

But as much as Washington, now with a little help from its friend/client government of President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad, has been conducting essentially a war on Pashtuns since 2001, this is no monolithic movement. It all goes back to the early 21st-century maxim that virtually every Taliban is a Pashtun, but not every Pashtun is a Taliban. There are significant strands of secular Pashtuns that shun the TTP and its brand of Islamic fundamentalist dystopian dogma, even while the Pashtun masses may see in the TTP the ideal vehicle for the advent of Pashtunistan.

If we follow the money, we see that the TTP in Pakistan is now being financed mostly by wealthy, pious Gulf businessmen and not anymore by Islamabad. The financiers are more interested in jihad than in Pashtun nationalism, and that undermines the legitimacy of the Taliban as vehicles for Pashtun nationalism. At the same time, if the TTP and its Pashtun allies manage to establish full control over a strategic corridor straddling eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan, with or without jihadi support, and for example with a partial control of Peshawar thrown in, the public relations coup couldn't be bigger: that means an Islamic emirate for all practical purposes constituted as Pashtunistan.

Other factors apart from the TTP facilitate the drive towards Pashtunistan. The West's economic and aid packages to AfPak are pitiful and never trickle down to the average Pashtun. The "revelation" in the US of what was never a secret in Afghanistan, that Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of the "winner" of the soiled Afghan presidential election, has been on the Central Intelligence Agency's payroll for years, erased any possibility of Pashtuns believing in anything emanating from Kabul.

United States corporate media dabbles on the Afghan presidential election kabuki (with rice) while ignoring that what passes for US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) intelligence is bribing top warlords for on-the-ground "security" (a swell business for them) coupled with bribing the Taliban for a license not be killed by their explosive devices. And bribing itself just won't do; the Taliban, via their former foreign minister, Mullah Muttawakkil, have just refused an American offer of eight permanent NATO bases for six provincial Taliban governorships. They want their Kabuli rice - and eat it too.

Islamabad's military and security establishment, a state within a state, remains an annex of Washington's; Pashtuns see the current offensive in Waziristan as Zardari selling out to Washington - same as "Busharraf", president Pervez Musharraf, before. A Pakistani failed government, this one or any other one, has zero chance to control what are de facto Afghan lands on the Pakistan side of the Durand Line. In 2009 alone, more than two million Pashtuns have been forced to become refugees; there's ample talk of a "Pashtun genocide".

So it would be so much easier, and infinitely less bloody, for Washington to adopt the Pentagon line all the way: let's pull another Yugoslavia; let's Balkanize; let's restore the Afghan Durrani empire.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby ramana » 10 Nov 2009 09:11

X-Post...
shynee wrote:Welcome to Pashtunistan
But the Pentagon, make no mistake, knows exactly how to play its New Great Game in Eurasia. Balkanization of AfPak - the break-up of both Afghanistan and Pakistan - will engineer, among other states, an independent Pashtunistan and an independent Balochistan. Empire of Chaos logic is still British imperial divide-and-rule, remixed; and, at least in theory, yields territories much easier to control

The Pentagon as well as NATO will never be cheerleaders for a strong, stable and really independent Pakistan. Washington pressure over Islamabad will never be less than relentless. And then there's the return of the repressed: the chilling Pentagon fear that Islamabad might one day become a full Chinese client state.

Think-tankers in their comfy leather chairs do entertain the dream of the Pakistani state unraveling for good - victim of a clash within the military of Punjabis against Pashtuns. So what's in it for the US in terms of balkanization of AfPak? Quite some juicy prospects - chief of all neutralizing the also relentless Chinese drive for direct land access, from Xinjiang and across Pakistan, to the Arabian Sea (via the port of Gwadar, in Balochistan province).

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Muppalla » 10 Nov 2009 09:33

ramana wrote:Welcome to Pashtunistan
...
And then there's the return of the repressed: the chilling Pentagon fear that Islamabad might one day become a full Chinese client state.
...
Think-tankers in their comfy leather chairs do entertain the dream of the Pakistani state unraveling for good - victim of a clash within the military of Punjabis against Pashtuns. So what's in it for the US in terms of balkanization of AfPak? Quite some juicy prospects - chief of all neutralizing the also relentless Chinese drive for direct land access, from Xinjiang and across Pakistan, to the Arabian Sea (via the port of Gwadar, in Balochistan province).


It is scary for me as I explained this formation using rough maps to few folks here and then comes this article. However, I do not think it is Chinese dominance but it is what the west wants in such a scenario. Put any number of game theories, Indian domination means a possiblity of India+China+Russia in the new world order. The last thing that west would like to see such an eastern rise. Hence, the parting shot would be leaving it for Chinese dominace to pass the time. It is like creation of Pakistan + Kashmir problem before leaving India after the second world war.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby ramana » 10 Nov 2009 09:51

I agree Chinese dominance is bakwas. Its to stem Indian dominance by cutting of access to natural stomping grounds.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby ShyamSP » 10 Nov 2009 10:36

Muppalla wrote:...However, I do not think it is Chinese dominance but it is what the west wants in such a scenario. Put any number of game theories, Indian domination means a possiblity of India+China+Russia in the new world order. The last thing that west would like to see such an eastern rise. Hence, the parting shot would be leaving it for Chinese dominace to pass the time. It is like creation of Pakistan + Kashmir problem before leaving India after the second world war.

ramana wrote:I agree Chinese dominance is bakwas. Its to stem Indian dominance by cutting of access to natural stomping grounds.



I'm of the same opinion but from different angle. When the economic crisis started, I thought it was time China to flex its dragon muscle. It turned out China has neither its own economic nor social model to do so beyond its and Tibetan borders. It could not even change its currency value. So its muscle is as mythical as the dragon itself.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Paul » 10 Nov 2009 11:10

The prospect of China extending it's zone of influence into POK was discussed in the Great game thread last year ( See P10). I am glad this is finally being seen for what it is....a load of Bakwaas.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby SSridhar » 10 Nov 2009 11:40

Gagan, please add the born-again Muslim Javid Nasir to the notorious list of ISI Chiefs. Even Ummah countries had to request Pakistan to relieve him of the post. He was that good.

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby JE Menon » 10 Nov 2009 23:02

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby Muppalla » 11 Nov 2009 05:23

JE Menon wrote::rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:


Could you explain which of the above posts is making to laugh?

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Re: Pashtun Civil War

Postby JE Menon » 11 Nov 2009 20:06

SSridhar's ... "he was that good"!!! :D


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