Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Paul » 05 Sep 2008 02:32

Karzai can never win.

The next task for Taliban after consolidating it's hold on the western banks of the indus will to oust karzai's secular state. We all know what the inevitable result is when hardline islam comes into conflict with a more mellowed and tolerant ideology which allows women to go to colleges.

Pakiban will have a tougher time coming to power in the pakjab as till now pakiban have used to attack hostile interests outside pakjab. it is different when the same happens in lahore or pindi.

pakjabi public opinion is too divided to allow pakjabis to come to power and significant sections may prefer to switch to punjabi nationalism. Thus undoing partition.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby ramana » 05 Sep 2008 02:55

So its a short term US problem and a long term Indian problem. How long is the time there? Five to ten years or shorter is the TSPA collapses.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Paul » 05 Sep 2008 03:08

5 - 10 years is reasonable. Very imp Question IMO is : Wht about northern area of POK?

I think breaking away J&K from india and join it with POK as a separate state is gaining more urgency. If the west did not want Northern areas to come to India in 1947, why should they want it to happen now.

Recall ralph peters maps of redrawn middle east show J&K as a separate state from India.

This could be the co-relation between the detirioriating health of Pakistan and the pressure on GOI to settle J&K that we keep hearing about.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby ramana » 05 Sep 2008 03:17

We need to get that map thread going.

Can you locate the Ralph Peters map again? thanks, ramana

PS: We need to develop subject matter experts and not this generalists who are in all the threads like the IAs and not know enough in depth of anything.

Once you post here I will post it in the J&K thread.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Paul » 05 Sep 2008 03:36

Google threw up this map:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/56241129@N00/178710868/

could mean Afghanistan is the new poodle....the idiots think they can control the nascent amirate

but I recall other maps showing J&K as a separate state.

+++++++++
added later: This map could be the first iteration. The thinking on South asia may not be completely ossified and may modified results of south asia.

Here is what he had to say on Iran-pakistan-afghanistan


Iran, a state with madcap boundaries, would lose a great deal of territory to Unified Azerbaijan, Free Kurdistan, the Arab Shia State and Free Baluchistan, but would gain the provinces around Herat in today’s Afghanistan — a region with a historical and linguistic affinity for Persia. Iran would, in effect, become an ethnic Persian state again, with the most difficult question being whether or not it should keep the port of Bandar Abbas or surrender it to the Arab Shia State.

What Afghanistan would lose to Persia in the west, it would gain in the east, as Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier tribes would be reunited with their Afghan brethren (the point of this exercise is not to draw maps as we would like them but as local populations would prefer them). Pakistan, another unnatural state, would also lose its Baluch territory to Free Baluchistan. The remaining “natural” Pakistan would lie entirely east of the Indus, except for a westward spur near Karachi.



http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2006/06/1833899/

The similarity to the vicroy's study group displayed in these writings is very striking....

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby SSridhar » 08 Sep 2008 21:30

X-Posting from the TSP Global Terror thread:
Avinash R wrote:



Avinash R, thanks for posting. Very revealing and it confirms some of the tactics that we have discussed here, especially how the PA attack is a farce, how a listless clan without maliks is taken over by the Taliban, the Taliban's image of a Robinhood etc.

Relevant extracts.

So here was Namdar — Taliban chieftain, enforcer of Islamic law, usurper of the Pakistani government and trainer and facilitator of suicide bombers in Afghanistan — sitting at home, not three miles from Peshawar, untouched by the Pakistani military operation that was supposedly unfolding around us.

What’s going on? I asked the warlord. Why aren’t they coming for you?

“I cannot lie to you,” Namdar said, smiling at last. “The army comes in, and they fire at empty buildings. It is a drama — it is just to entertain.

Entertain whom? I asked.

“America,” he said.

The idea that Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies could simultaneously be aiding the Taliban and like-minded militants while taking money from the United States is not as far-fetched as it may seem.


In 2006, a senior ISI official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told a New York Times reporter that he regarded Serajuddin Haqqani as one of the ISI’s intelligence assets. “We are not apologetic about this,” the ISI official said.


“Pakistan is dependent on the American money that these games with the Taliban generate,” the official told me. “The Pakistani economy would collapse without it. This is how the game works.This is the way the game works. The Taliban is attacked, but it is never destroyed. "


As an example, he cited the Pakistan Army’s first invasion of the tribal areas — of South Waziristan in 2004. Called Operation Shakai, the offensive was ostensibly aimed at ridding the area of Taliban militants. From an American perspective, the operation was a total failure. The army invaded, fought and then made a deal with one of the militant commanders, Nek Mohammed.


The rise of the Taliban and Al Qaeda has come at the expense of the maliks, who have been systematically murdered and marginalized in a campaign to destroy the old order.The Taliban have not achieved this by violence alone. They have capitalized on the resentment many Pakistanis feel toward the hereditary maliks and the government they represent.


I met impoverished Pakistanis who told me Robin Hood-like stories about how the Taliban had challenged the wealthy and powerful people on behalf of the little guys.


Indeed, in some cases the distinction between tribe and Taliban has vanished altogether. Baitullah Mehsud, for instance, comes from the Mehsud tribe, one of the two largest clans of South Waziristan. (“The Taliban is the Mehsud tribe,” Jan said. “They are one and the same now.” )


While most of the Taliban chieftains do share a basic ideology, they appear to be divided into two distinct groups: those who send fighters into Afghanistan to fight the Americans and those who do not. And that is an important distinction for the Pakistanis, as well as for the Americans.


Inside the FATA, Mehsud was forming Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella party of some 40 Taliban groups that claimed as its goal the domination of Pakistan. Suddenly, the Taliban was not merely a group of militants who were useful in extending Pakistan’s influence into Afghanistan. They were a threat to Pakistan itself.


IN JANUARY OF THIS YEAR, Pakistan opened an offensive into South Waziristan that was far fiercer than any that had come before. It inflicted hundreds of casualties on Mehsud’s forces and caused at least 15,000 families to flee. Then, after just three weeks, the operation ended. As they had before, Pakistani commanders and Mehsud struck a deal.According to the agreement, members of the Mehsud tribe agreed to refrain from attacking the Pakistani state and from setting up a parallel government. They agreed to accept the rule of law.

But sending fighters into Afghanistan? About that, the agreement says nothing at all.

And that appears to be the essence of the new Pakistani game. As long as the militants refrain from attacking the state, they are free to do what they want inside the tribal areas — and across the border in Afghanistan.


The real purpose of the government’s Khyber operation became clear: to tame Manghal Bagh, the warlord who does not send men into Afghanistan and who was encroaching on Peshawar. Indeed, after more than a week of enduring the brunt of the army’s assault, Bagh agreed to respect the Pakistani state. Namdar had been left alone by government troops all the while.


If channeling the Taliban into Afghanistan and against NATO and the Americans is indeed the new Pakistani game, then one more thing is also clear: the leaders of the Pakistan Army and the ISI must still be confident they can manage the militants. And it is certainly the military and ISI officers who are doing the managing — not the country’s elected leaders. When I asked Jan, the tribal elder, about the negotiations that Ghani had described for me — talks between the country’s new civilian leaders and FATA’s tribal elders — Jan laughed. “The only negotiations are between the army and the Taliban, between the army and Baitullah Mehsud,” he said. “There are no government officials taking part in any negotiations. There are no tribal elders taking part. I’m a tribal elder. I think I would know.”


“It’s a very close relationship,” Jan said, describing the meetings between the Pakistan Army and the Taliban. “The army and the Taliban are friends. Whenever a Taliban fighter is killed, army officers go to his funeral. They bring money to the family.”


None of the men, Abu Omar said, were particularly worried about what would happen if they were spotted by Pakistani troops. “They are Muslims,” he told me. “They support what we are doing.”Their attack successful, Abu Omar and his comrades trekked back across the Pakistani border. The sun was just rising. The fighters saw a Pakistani checkpoint and headed straight for it.

“They gave us some water,” he said of the Pakistani border guards. “And then we continued on our way.”

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Lalmohan » 08 Sep 2008 21:38

I wonder why the americans are not interdicting the taliban logistics chain?

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby ramana » 08 Sep 2008 22:05

Lalmohan wrote:I wonder why the americans are not interdicting the taliban logistics chain?


Which Taliban? They will have to attack their ally TSPA as they provide the logistics chain.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby ramana » 09 Sep 2008 00:53

Op-Ed in Pioneer, 8 Sept., 2008

Chinese face Pashtun heat

B Raman

Beijing blamed for attack on Lal Masjid

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has not forgotten the role of China in exercising pressure on then President Pervez Musharraf to order commando action inside Lal Masjid in Islamabad on July 10-13, 2007. The commando action had led to the death of Abdul Rashid, a cleric popular with the Pashtun tribals, and a large number of tribal girls from the Pashtun tribal belt studying in a girls' madarsa attached to the masjid. The madarsa was destroyed during the commando action.

Before the commando action, there was an incident in Islamabad in which students studying in this girls' madarsa - some of them Uighurs - kidnapped six Chinese women working in a massage parlour in Islamabad and accused them of "working as prostitutes". They were subsequently released. It was after this incident that the Chinese authorities strongly took up with Gen Musharraf the question of taking action against the madarsa students who were responsible for the kidnapping. Unnerved by the strong Chinese reaction, Gen Musharraf ordered the commando action.

The commando action led to a wave of suicide terrorism by tribals, hailing from the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas and the North-West Frontier Province, in tribal as well as non-tribal areas, including Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Two of the retaliatory attacks after the commando action were directed against Chinese nationals working in Pakistan. In the first attack in Peshawar, three Chinese working for a company importing meat and skin from Pakistan were killed. Chinese engineers travelling to work in a bus at Hub in Baluchistan escaped unhurt when a suicide bomber blew himself, killing a large number of policemen and civilians. Following these incidents, the Pakistan Government tightened security for Chinese nationals.

There was a campaign of slander against single Chinese women working in massage and beauty parlours by the clerics of Lal Masjid and their Uighur students, which led to the kidnapping of some of them working in Islamabad. While the clerics were describing them as 'prostitutes' corrupting the morals of Muslims, the Uighur students studying in the Lal Masjid madarsa were accusing them of being agents of the Chinese intelligence agencies sent to Pakistan to monitor the activities of the Uighurs before the Beijing Olympics.

Taken aback by the Pashtun anger, the Chinese Embassy tried to reassure the Pakistani religious elements denying Beijing's hand in the episode. The China Daily quoted China's Ambassador to Pakistan Luo Zhaohui, on July 18, 2007: "China did not push Pakistan for operations against the Red Mosque. I have no knowledge why Chinese nationals are being targeted." He said if the Chinese continued to be targeted, cooperation between the two countries could suffer. To protect the 3,000 Chinese working in Pakistan, Beijing and Pakistan have decided to set up a Joint Task Force, Mr Luo added.

Following these initiatives, the anger against the Chinese seemed to have subsided. The fact that this was really not so became evident on August 29, 2008, when two Chinese engineers - Zhanggua and Lung - along with their security guard Imranullah and driver Khalil, went missing in the Khall area of the Dir Lower district of the NWFP. They were working for the Zong mobile company. Following this incident, the Chinese Embassy advised 15 other Chinese engineers working in the area to leave the place.

Subsequently, Muslim Khan, who described himself as a spokesperson of the TTP in the Swat Valley, claimed that the Chinese engineers were in the custody of the TTP, which would shortly announce its demands for their release. On September 4, 2008, The News reported: "The militants' spokesman was critical of the 'Chinese role' in launching Operation Silence on the Lal Masjid in which hundreds of students and their teachers were reportedly killed."

-- The writer is Director of the Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai.


Something else is going on here.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby ramana » 09 Sep 2008 02:16

X-posted...
Rahul Shukla wrote:
Singha wrote:...does anyone have a population estimate of the NWFP + tribal agencies?...

AOA!

Demographic Indicators, 1998-Census:
Area, Population, Density and Urban Proportion by Administrative Units
Population by Sex, Sex Ratio, Average Household Size and Growth Rate
Population Size and Growth of Major Cities
Population by Province/Region since 1951
Population by Religion
Population by Mother Tongue
Population by 5 Year Age Groups
Population by Selective Age Groups
Population by Marital Status
Population by Level of Education and Sex
Population by Level of Education and Rural/Urban
Literacy Ratio by Sex
Migrant Population by Place of Birth
Migrant Population by Reason of Migration
Labour Force Participation Rates
Un-Employment Rates
Disabled Population by Nature of Disability

Administrative Units of Pakistan by Provinces/Region:
List of Administrative Units of Pakistan (by districts)
List of Administrative Units of Pakistan (by tehsils)

Housing Indicators, 1998-Census
Housing Units by Number of Rooms and Type
Housing Units by Construction Material
Housing Units by Source of Drinking Water, Lighting and Cooking Fuel Used
Housing Units by Kitchen, Bathroom and Latrine Facilities

All right, I'll do the mad-math for you...

In 1998, total population of NWFP+FATA was 17,747,176 out of which approx. 50% were males between the age of 15-65. Assuming an average per annum population growth rate of 2.5% for NWFP, the current population estimate is approx. 22,740,059. And if even 35% of the population (Age 15-50) actively participates in jeehad, the number comes to a whopping 79 lakh 59 thousand onlee... :twisted:

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby ramana » 11 Sep 2008 23:53

X-posted...
NRao wrote:Uncle has no options but to break up TSP as we know it. Stability will be imposed by a higher force.

and
Rahul Shukla wrote:
NRao wrote:Uncle has no options but to break up TSP as we know it. Stability will be imposed by a higher force.


The situation is getting to a point where what the US wants is fast becoming irrelevant. TSP is breaking up and even Dubya doesn't have the $$$'s its going to cost to continue to finance it's survival for any significant amount of time.

Ameri-khan's cannot leave Afghanistan because that will be an invitation to 9-11 pard deux and they can't win the GOAT until they truly dismantle the ISI and allah's useless (paki) army. Sooner or later Khan will come to its senses and do the right thing - after having pursued and exhausted all the incorrect courses of action, of course! That's Dubya-101 for you infidels...

O/T but Iran is going to have to be dealt with by surrogates (our beeloved yahudi birathars). Uncle is busy...

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Paul » 15 Sep 2008 06:27

X-post from Delhi blasts thread....time to combine ISI,Taliban, Pakiban and now the SIMI and IM as one entity.


BRFite


Joined: 25 Jun 1999 06:01 am
Posts: 662 These blasts are the first advance warning of the horrendous carnage that will come to our cities when the islamic emirate is formalized along the banks of the indus.

SIMI, Indian Mujahideen etc. will be for the taliban what the rohillas were for Ahmed Shah Abdali. The similarities are too striking to be ignored. They are the al-ansars for the islamic ghazis.

India needs to beef up it's paramiltary and state intelligence capabilties to meet the fast approaching threat. Over time this threat will converge with the EJ and naxal menace in the east to form the perfect storm.


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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby ramana » 19 Sep 2008 23:19

X-posted....
Book Review from The Telegraph, 19 Sept 2008

Ahmed Rashid's Descent into Chaos

CHRONICLE OF A BLUNDER FORETOLD


Descent Into Chaos By Ahmed Rashid,
Allen Lane, Rs 495

In 1968, with a degree in political science from Cambridge, Ahmed Rashid began his career at the unlikeliest of places: the Balochistan Liberation Front. He could have been profitably engaged in reporting the war between the peasants on the tribal belt and the Pakistani army. Instead, he reinvented himself as a guerrilla rebel and a political strategist for an oppressed people. In the late Sixties, revolution was in the air: student riots in France, race riots in America, the Russian debacle of the Prague Spring. Rashid, swept along by a heady Marxism, spent years travelling and fighting in Central Asia until he harnessed his energies into a more meaningful form of activism: once he relinquished the sword and picked up the pen, he became one of the pre-eminent South Asian journalists to report from the region.

Given Rashid’s intimate knowledge of Central Asia and its people, it is not without reason that one feels slightly let down by Descent into Chaos. With no intention of undermining his achievements — because they are formidable indeed — one feels somewhat dazed by the plethora of facts and figures in this book. Rashid may be justified in calling this work “history in the making” — but it turns out to be a diplomatic history of the region. The result, however valuable, can, at best, be called history without a credible human face.

Rashid’s thesis is not exactly original. The invasion of Afghanistan by the United States of America was motivated by the worst form of short-sightedness. After 9/11, the US had only short-term agendas — hounding out Osama bin Laden, destroying the Taliban and exterminating al Qaida — never taking any longer perspective beyond its scheme of revenge. There was a stubborn resistance to any form of nation-building — Rashid uses it interchangeably with State-building — leaving too many loose ends by the time the US took on Iraq. As a member of an experts group, appointed by Lakhdar Brahimi (former United Nations representative to Afghanistan), Rashid tried his best to persuade the US to assume a nuanced and holistic approach to the war in Afghanistan. But the US blundered its way into the region, putting its trust on the troika of the president, army and the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan.

Anything wiser was unexpected of the George W. Bush administration. (During his presidential campaign of 2000, Bush did not know the name of the Pakistani president and thought that the Taliban was an all-girl pop band.) The neocons also brazenly undermined every international safeguard that Clinton had signed towards the end of his term. Bush did not send Clinton’s treaty to create the International Criminal Court for ratification to the Senate. He refused to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty or to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, and also rejected the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Is it any wonder then that Bush’s cowboy regime would be in denial regarding nation-building in Afghanistan?

Rashid gives a painstaking inventory of the astronomical sums that were wasted on funding Pervez Musharraf in the hope that he would hand over the Taliban insurgents hiding in Pakistan. An internally divided ISI made good use of the US bounty — one half of the ISI funded Islamic extremism, while the rest filled their own coffers. Rashid’s narrative ties one unforeseen disaster with another in a prophetic sweep of history. He makes dour predictions about the rise of the Taliban in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the bane of warlordism, the flourishing of the poppy trade and widespread corruption in the US reconstruction teams. Most of his prophecies are Cassandra-like — potent, but nobody pays the slightest attention to them. (In an otherwise densely argued book, Rashid’s account of the conflict in Kashmir seems rather flippant. He treats it summarily, as if the whole situation amounts to little more than a military problem between India and Pakistan.)

It is evident from the profusion of facts (often repetitive) and the endless details (not all of which is strictly relevant) that telling a story is not the greatest strength of this book. Rashid has no sense of how to keep ordinary readers with him — and cramming the narrative with too much detail makes this a needlessly difficult book for non-experts. (For Barack Obama, though, it is compulsory reading.)

Ahmed Rashid certainly does not let his frustration with America dissolve into bleak scepticism. He is prudently hopeful that once the US starts focusing on nation-building — by ushering in democracy — things will start looking up again for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia. Is this a very sound theory after all? US nation-building in Pakistan involved plucking out one thorn (Musharraf) and putting back another (Asif Ali Zardari). Rashid’s evident faith in the Pakistan People’s Party is also somewhat misplaced. And isn’t it a bit lopsided to expect America to lead the way for change, with the UN and Nato thrown in as afterthoughts? Surely Rashid must be aware that America is not merely a symptom of the ills afflicting Central Asia, but one of the ills itself.

SOMAK GHOSHAL


What exactly does Ghoshal mean that Ahmed Rashid as a member of BLF travelled and fought in Central Asia? Who was funding the BLF?

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Paul » 20 Sep 2008 00:08

Always figured that was something more behind the scenes. Ahmed Rashid’s writings on Afghanistan and Central Asia displays insightful information not seen in a career diplomat’s writings.

Ramana:
Tariq Ali is another one of these leftist RAPES. Most leftist RAPES got their initiation in the anti-ayub movement.

It is possible that Ahmed Rashid, Najam Sethi, Khaled Ahmed etc. are all ex-marxists intellectuals espousing a highly nuanced secular ideology. They have to be discreet lest they get on ISI’s wrong side. At least this seems to be the average abdul’s perception. It is possible that he may have been trained in Central asia by the soviets during the balochistan liberation heydays in the 1970s. This could be what Ghishal could be referring to. Lots of disaffecte Balochs were trained by the USSR through their Afghan surrogates in the 70s.

These ex-marxist intellectuals seem to be getting more bold in voicing their opinion as they perceive pakistan as getting weaker. Their behaviour needs to be watched closely as well as they will be the first segments of the pakjabi population to reach out to their brethren across the border.

To understand these so called intellectuals, we need to go back to the days of Kishen Chander. Both Pakjabi and Punjabi marxists are displaying eerily similar thought processes. Punjabi marxists should be encouraged to help their pakjabi marxist brethren gain more strength as they will be our surrogates in taking on the pakiban and their taliban masters.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby ramana » 20 Sep 2008 00:35

Where is Hari Kishen Surjeet when you need him?

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby SSridhar » 20 Sep 2008 07:48

Paul wrote: It is possible that Ahmed Rashid, Najam Sethi, Khaled Ahmed etc. are all ex-marxists intellectuals espousing a highly nuanced secular ideology. They have to be discreet lest they get on ISI’s wrong side. At least this seems to be the average abdul’s perception. It is possible that he may have been trained in Central asia by the soviets during the balochistan liberation heydays in the 1970s. This could be what Ghishal could be referring to. Lots of disaffecte Balochs were trained by the USSR through their Afghan surrogates in the 70s.

These ex-marxist intellectuals seem to be getting more bold in voicing their opinion as they perceive pakistan as getting weaker. Their behaviour needs to be watched closely as well as they will be the first segments of the pakjabi population to reach out to their brethren across the border.


Paul, a very insightful post that. For more understanding of Ahmed Rashid, read these interviews with him. He seems to come across as a secular person and see his reference to his mother as an Indian Muslim. He claims in that interview that Pakistanis were radicalized between 1968-1970 because of Bangladesh. That is not strictly true. During that period, Balochistan insurgency (and riots against Ayub) were the prominent events. He says that this period had a traumatic effect on the leftists. Though he is not saying this about himself, the meaning is obvious. He also claims to have been in Paris in circa 1968, a time of leftist uprising there. Ahmed Rashid is not a Balochi himself. This link confirms his ex-guerilla fighter status and says
FRESH out of Cambridge University in the late 1960s, and steeped in the era’s favorites — Marx, Mao and Che — Ahmed Rashid took off for the hills of Baluchistan, a dry, tough patch of western Pakistan. He stayed for 10 years.

He was a guerrilla fighter and political organizer, and with a couple of like-minded Pakistani pals, led peasants seeking autonomy against the Pakistani Army. He emerged, after bouts of hepatitis, malaria and lost teeth, not exactly disillusioned but defeated, he recalled recently from the comfort of his study overlooking a garden of palms.


As for Najam Sethi, he was arrested in 1975 and was in solitary confinement for a long time for his purported 'connection' with the Balochis. I have been carefully reading his editorials both in DT and TFT and he certainly fits your description. He certainly is not bogged down by the baggage of Islam.

Info about Khaled Ahmed here. No definitive clues though he doesn't come out as a leftist.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby JE Menon » 20 Sep 2008 15:26

Ahmed Rashid, Najam Sethi and another figure Rashid Rehman (former editor of the Frontier Post IIRC) were all RAPE, and were more idealist than leftist per se... See the below link to get a feel for the times... just out of college, full of ideas to reform their country, coming from privileged families... you know the type. In time, they fell into their slots - and their personal relationships are said to be a trifle strained for various reasons (read Ethan Casey's Alive and Well in Pakistan - A Human Journey in a Dangerous Time to get a view on these chaps from another perspective). Rashid Rehman's brother Asad falls into the same category as well, as does Rahimullah Yusufzai - the reporter for time and reasonably well known commentator. Yusufzai, although nominally rape, could be viewed as less "Rapish" than the others - a fairly detailed profile of Yusufzai is in Naipaul's Among the Believers or Beyond Belief, I can't remember which.

Added later: Claims by the three (Rashid, Sethi and Rahman) to have been guerrilla "fighters" must be taken with at least a pinch of salt... From what I've read about them in bits and pieces here and there, it appears they were more hangers-on, sort of experiencing the difficulties without actually fighting in the conventional sense. They travelled along with guerrilla bands for sure and endured the associated hardships... I distinctly remember reading of one incident where Ahmed Rashid lost his glasses (apparently he wears high-powered lenses) due to the concussive effects of a bomb or something and was scrambling around in the dust looking for them...

Added still later: And don't forget that Zardari is of Baloch origin :twisted:



http://www.othermalaysia.org/content/view/18/53/

Fashion models and Liberal Intellectuals.

“You could not imagine what it was like – We were being roasted alive during the day and at night our butts were freezing. Worse of all, all of us ended up suffering from piles as a result of having to take a dump in the mountains!”

Najam Sethi laughs out loud as he recounts his days as a guerrilla fighter in the mountains of Baluchistan. Seated next to him are Ahmed Rashid, the world-famous journalist who wrote the first study of the Taliban, and Rashid Rehman, former editor of the Frontier Post (until the office of the paper was burnt down by a mob of Islamists a few years ago). All three of them were students at Oxbridge in England in the late 1960s. When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto came to power in the 1970s, one of the first things he did was to extend his grip on the country and sack thousands of bureaucrats (including judges) whom he though were obstacles on his path to power. In time the region of Baluchistan rose up in revolt and Western-educated Pakistani students like Najam Sethi, Rashid Rehman and Ahmed Rashid smuggled themselves back to Pakistan (abandoning their studies along the way) to join in the Baluch uprising on the side of the tribesmen who declared themselves to be Marxists revolutionaries.

With the helping hand of America and an arsenal of American-made weapons including attack helicopters, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto put down the Baluchistan revolt. Tens of thousands of Baluchistanis were killed or displaced as a result of the fighting, and those who took sides with them were declared enemies of the state. The end might not have been far away for Najam Sethi, Ahmed Rashid and Rashid Rehman, had it not been for the untimely fall and subsequent execution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at the hands of General Zia ‘ul Haq who came to power through a coup. Following the killing of Bhutto, General Zia (then a favoured ally of the West and a close friend of Washington) pardoned the men and allowed them to re-enter Pakistani society. Today all three are noted public intellectuals and writers, Najam Sethi being the editor of the Pakistan Daily Times while Ahmed Rashid making a name for himself as the world’s foremost expert on the Taliban.

All three remain progressive, modern, rational liberals and democrats at heart. Through their writing – most of it courageous and polemical – they have fought to defend the civil liberties of Pakistanis for the past 30 years. Yet little has changed and today the army is still the de facto rulers of the country. What went wrong and where has the idealism gone?

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby ramana » 23 Sep 2008 22:11

Not to mention Tariq Ali who was at forefront of the TSP student politics and is now a scholar in UK.

Emma Duncan writes in her "Breaking the Curfew" about meeting some Leftists in Karachi who want to change TSP but they are a very miniscule portion of the thinkers.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Paul » 23 Sep 2008 22:19

Tariq ALi was bundled off to ENgland by his parents during the Ayub Khan agitation. They were worried he would become shaheed.

BTW...He has a new book out. Read it lastweekend in B&N.

He claims he wrote a book called "Can Pakistan Survive?" in 1972. So now the "I told you so attitude" smirk on his face.

I would be interested to hear from BRF Paki watchers what they think of his attitude towards India judging from his book. It may be come across a surprise to most of us Hawks.
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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Paul » 23 Sep 2008 22:21

and another figure Rashid Rehman (former editor of the Frontier Post IIRC)


Wasn't Rehman Rashid tried in a court for Blasphemy a few years ago. Frontier Post was shut down for some time if I remember correctly.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby ramana » 23 Sep 2008 23:47

X-posted...

From Paul,

Ramana wrote:The big picture is Pakiban have arrived earlier than anticipated into Pakjab.

This is why I had said this in the Pakiban thread

Most leftist RAPES got their initiation in the anti-ayub movement.

It is possible that Ahmed Rashid, Najam Sethi, Khaled Ahmed etc. are all ex-marxists intellectuals espousing a highly nuanced secular ideology. They have to be discreet lest they get on ISI’s wrong side. At least this seems to be the average abdul’s perception. It is possible that he may have been trained in Central asia by the soviets during the balochistan liberation heydays in the 1970s. This could be what Ghoshal could be referring to. Lots of disaffected Balochs were trained by the USSR through their Afghan surrogates in the 70s.

These ex-marxist intellectuals seem to be getting more bold in voicing their opinion as they perceive pakistan as getting weaker. Their behaviour needs to be watched closely as well as they will be the first segments of the pakjabi population to reach out to their brethren across the border.

To understand these so called intellectuals, we need to go back to the days of Kishen Chander. Both Pakjabi and Punjabi marxists are displaying eerily similar thought processes. Punjabi marxists should be encouraged to help their pakjabi marxist brethren gain more strength as they will be our surrogates in taking on the pakiban and their taliban masters.
…..Judging from the response in BRF,

Rye wrote:
Paul wrote:

Quote:
Rashid is calling for India to be brought into this as an equal stakeholder. It is for our policy makers to decide when and how they want to enter this game. These regions belong to the Indic civilization...no other way around it.



That sounds like an Indian version of the CCP's claim to Tibet, Sikkim Arunachal Pradesh, Malaysia and vietnam.

It would be more than a little stupid to get in the "game" now, when all the dirty work needed to reverse american/western policies in Pakistan is required. All of the above can be considered once the rest of the countries in Afghanisthan clean up the place or give India sovereign command of its troops to operate in the region (no Indian troops under foreign command). The Indian army is NOT some mop-up crew to clean up after other people's messes.


We are too preoccupied with the military aspects and have given a go-by to the tap dance going for the last 10 years between the Indian RAPES and their Pakjabi counterparts. My post in the Pashtun civil war thread was the reason I posted above was related to this.

I will post more on this later...


looks like it will take some time for this idea to gain acceptance.

The liberal/leftist RAPES form the outermost core of the onion. They have already opened lines of communication with their counterparts across the border from the days when IKGujral was the PM. India needs to start working through it’s RAPES to influence the events in Pakistan to ensure there we have our own surrogates when the Radcliff line starts getting softer. This could take anywhere between 3 – 10 years at the most.

The other segments that India could work with are:
1. The pakjabi politicos like the PML-N would be the next group to work on as they are part of Pakistani civil society. They would not averse to breaking away from the strangle hold of the Army/Allah combo.
2. The PPP could be even easier as they have their base in the Sindh and are percived as the party of the masses. The liberal RAPES see this party as the great hope to usher in democracy in Pakistan
3. MQM will be even more willing to be an Indian surrogate as Althaf Hussain has already gone on record regretting partition. They are keen to rejoin thir IM brothers.
4. The PA army and Pakiban will be the hardest nuts to crack. Military option for them onlee. Other segments need to be softened through diplomatic, cultural, and economic incentives.

The snowball will get bigger and gather speed as it starts rolling downhill. Let India not be caught napping as happened with the Berlin wall collapse. When TSP failing health gethers speed, not even the combined efforts Unkil, Saudi, or PRC can be of much use.

Point is:
A strategy similar to the used being used by the west wherin left wing thought( naxalism/marxism) is being used to wean Indic civilization away from it’s roots can be crafted to wean Pakistan away from the disease that we know all about.

and

I know Paul. I was sure you would respond to the one liner for it holds a lot of info in it.

I think you should put together an opinion piece using what you already said in above post. N^3 has been asking for an op-ed for a long time.

I think its 5 years at most.

As to members not being upto speed, thats the problem . The subject is too vast and quite complex to understand the dynamics. Even long time students of TSP are led astray and RAPE are good at deflecting the vision.

the key resistance will be the kabila guards. They have been always depited as monolith institution but they have their fissures- modernist vs jihadist, pakjabi vs rest und so weiter.

Action against Pakiban will test their monolith image and we can see the houbara.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Paul » 24 Sep 2008 00:11

Will do Ramana...give me some time. My bad for the spelling mistakes. Accessing BRF from work is not easy.

SHQ at home and the Boss at work. :((

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby ramana » 24 Sep 2008 01:21

Look at the Ralph Peters re-map of Middle East while looking at things. Right now the TSPA and the govmt are the obstacle to the corridor to Central Asia. Factor in Putin resurgence and imapct on future plans. Add the WS meltdown. Looks like India will have to carry the burden whether they are ready or not.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Paul » 24 Sep 2008 23:28

My hunch is future generations will look at the implementation of Gujral Doctrine (not 9/11) as the catalyst which caused Pakistan to unravel. The cross-LOC trade and traffic taking place now which is attributed to JN Dixit is actually a continuation of this doctrine....as are our future efforts to get more transit points in Kokhrapar-Munnabao in Rajasthan or the ferry beween Karachi and Mumbai.


Gujral doctrine was ridiculed a lot when during it's inception, but in it's other versions it has gained acceptance across the spectrum.

History will probably judge IK Gujral a lot favorably than BRF
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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby fanne » 24 Sep 2008 23:41

Naah I would put the unraveling of TSP on one PM who literally had Knees of steel. One find day TSP thought that attacking Indian parliament was OK. Then PM of India, in response amassed the whole army at the boundary. TSP had to come with solemn assurance that it will cut cross border terrorism and rein in anti-Indian Militancy on its soil. US had backed that offer. Now TSP had no intention of really doing it, it was just for show. But also for show, they had to house arrest top leaders of its anti-India terrorist group, stop incursions into JK. The incursion part has held until now (full six years), thanks also to the Indian army. That house arrest and stopping of activity (however fake) had dynamism of its own, the lower ranks (at least some of them) saw this as a betrayel. That would go as the first day when rift between the Army and All** faction came into being. Subsequent actions, like fake battles in NWFP to honor similar agreements with US further alienated the All** ranks. I guess the biggest turning point was lal masjid. There the break was total. Now some ISI handlers think or pretend to think they would just order the boys and Jennie will be back in the bottle, not happening. Now the war and pain that the TSP establishment had planned for others has come to visit them. LET’S SIT BACK AND ENJOY.
rgds,
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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Johann » 25 Sep 2008 01:14

Paul,

There is a Cold War analogy.

There are people who argue that Ford's success in getting the Soviets to sign the Helsinki Accords in 1975 was the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union as it existed, and that Reagan did nothing more than accelarate the process.

The Accords produced far greater levels of contact between Soviet society and the West - the result of that contact was that more and more Soviets were forced to admit that not only was the quality of life better in the West, but that the Soviets were falling behind rather than catching up. The political pressure over the demand to improve standards of living inevitably fell on the military-industrial complex that always had the first claim on all soviet resources. In order to cut down military spending, foreign policy had to be altered, and in order to do that ideological assumptions had to be challenged.

Something similar has happened in Kashmir, which the EU Parliamentary rapporteur's Kashmir report captured; cross-border contact between Muzzafarabad and Srinagar has created far more dissatisfaction with the centre in 'Azad Kashmir' than in J&K.

The Pakistani elite is no more immune than the Soviet elite to envy and dissatisfaction. But just like post-Soviet Russia, there will be people amongst the ruling classes who may have given up ideologically driven expansion, but who still demand their sphere of influence. A Pakjab that is a 'normal' Muslim country instead of the 'sword arm Islam' will less dangerous, but still often very difficult to deal with, even when they face threats common to the Indian republic.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Paul » 25 Sep 2008 01:55

Johann, the same analogy was precisely in my mind. This is why the USSR elites erected the Iron curtain and held families of soviet citizens hostage when their family members were visiting the west.

The Gujral doctrine helped break the consenus between civil society, the military, and the clergy against India and in the future will help in peeling of the onion. Zardari cannot expect to liberlize the visa process and simultaneiously have the military identify India as the chief adversary. Pigs will fly before this shift in Pakistani thinking takes place.

Remember reading some time ago - The starting point is in theSAARC charter wherein it is specified that "eminent citizens" do not need a visa to visit other SAARC countries. This was dicovered accidentally in the 90s by a bright spark in MEA and the rest is history.

Rest assured the Indic mind will keep finding a way to circumvent the bet efforts of her enemies and short sighted wellwishers to undercut it’s interests.

Will keep posting as my thoughts evolve on this subject.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby yvijay » 25 Sep 2008 02:26

This dated rediff article has an interview of Arundhati Ghose. Interestingly, her opinion about Gujral matches with that of Paul.
Arundhati Ghose Interview

Yet, there is no denying the fact that internationally, Islamabad has forced the world to see India and Pakistan as two equals. Who is to blame? "Pakistan sought parity to earn global recognition," said Ghose, "and managed to trap India in that. Till Gujral came along, India was unable to break away."

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby shaardula » 25 Sep 2008 08:04

folks thanks for all the gnyaana.

ahmed rashid on youtube

some samples from that list...
"Descent into Chaos"
Recorded June 12, 2008
Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Pakistani Journalist Ahmed Rashid for a discussion of United States foreign policy and the failure of nation building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.

Ahmed Rashid @ Carnegie Council
"Almost every single important extremist leader is living on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan," says Ahmed Rashid. Compared to this threat, Iraq is a sideshow.
This is an excerpt from a Carnegie Council talk on June 3, 2008. For the full video, audio, and transcript, go to http://www.carnegiecouncil.org

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Johann » 25 Sep 2008 21:34

Hi Paul,

One thing to keep an eye on throughout is economic and governance factors. The harder the times, and the weaker a regime's ability to ride out those hard times, the more discontent.

Pakistan made two key promises- that Muslims would be better off than in India, and that Pakistan would help lead the Muslim world.

The Soviet analogy was that Soviet citizens would live better than everyone else, and that the oppressed of the world would follow the Soviets.

The Soviet economic crisis was felt by citizens through food shortages, housing shortages, and to a certain extent energy shortages. Nothing the authorities did changed the overall decline in living standards felt by citizens, and as Soviet diplomatic isolation grew, that was just the icing on the cake.

Today the growing costs of energy, food, fertiliser, etc are going to put tremendous strains on the Pakistani population, and given the quality of Pakistani governance, we know what to expect.

Information is the key. Travel between India and Pakistan helps Pakistanis evaluate promise no.1, and the failure of promise no.2 is evident through the news as well as travel.

It is also important to recognise that Pakistan's stoking of communal violence in India is not simply about dragging India down. It is about serving as propaganda warfare in propping up Pakistan's ideological raisin deiter within Pakistan. Whenever Pakistani citizens are at their lowest, looking at economic failure, non-existant governance, deteriorating physical safety and wondering whether partition was the right move, hearing any news about Muslims killed in communal violence India acts like a jolt. Pakistan may be bad, but I'd be dead in India, or stripped of my dignity as a Muslim.

India really, really needs the equivalent of RFE/RFL and BBC World Service, which had a tremendous impact on communist areas by giving people access to information and entertainment they were otherwise denied in the language they are most comfortable in. Indian channels give a window in to India that is very attractive, but they dont give Pakistanis suffificient reportage on Pakistan itself. Secondly although TV penetration is increasing, radio still remains very powerful in rural Pakistan.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby ramana » 27 Sep 2008 05:32

Wonder by thunder. Tariq Ali was on local radio promoting his latest book The Duel about TSP and US. Essentially it has all the confirmation of the facts developed on BRF. Wish we had the writing skills to document the TSP threads and we would have best sellers.

He was on Gil Gross show at 3:00 pm

here is the archive

Archives

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby SSridhar » 27 Sep 2008 15:38

On how TTP and Pakiban work in synch

Some more info on the same

LJ Sindh Ameer Rahimullah, during investigations, disclosed that a few months ago he, along with the killed accomplices who were all trained in Waziristan for suicide bombings, came to Karachi to achieve their targets, assigned to them by their leader Qari Zafar. He further disclosed that they were funded by Abid Mehsud, a commander of Baitullah Mehsud group, for the purchase of arms, explosives and vehicles.


Also, they are targetting specific top police officers to terrorize them. A few days back, Ayesha Siddiqa had written that the police were abdicating responsibilities for fear of targetted killing.
Regarding the attack on SSP Raja Omer Khataab, LJ Ameer Ali Hasan disclosed that he had personally manufactured the bomb and fixed it in a bicycle and later went to the Saddar area and parked it near a petrol pump. It was further disclosed that Waseem Bengali was assigned to kill SSP Khurram Waris and before Eid they were ready to make a suicide attempt on SSP Waris. They had also on their hit list two Shia Ulema and the task was assigned to deceased Saddiq Mehsud and Sultan Omer.

They were planning target killings of SSP Mohammed Fayyaz Khan, SSP Farooq Awan and other officers who had conducted operations against their group. These directives were issued to them by their leader Qari Zafar.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby SSridhar » 28 Sep 2008 10:37

Another one on the collusion between Taliban & Pakistani jihadis

The MQM had warned a month ago that Al Qaeda had decided to send its attackers to Karachi. The government thought the statement was exaggerated. And what followed instead were two shows of “terrorist” strength in the city, one by Sipah Sahaba and the other by Lashkar-e Tayba, while the intelligence agencies stood aside and watched. The Lashkar-e Jhangvi has now become a Pakistani branch of Al Qaeda, so has Jaish-e Muhammad in Swat. All these were once the protégées of our intelligence establishment. Today they are killing innocent Pakistanis and the agencies have no clue what is happening.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby SSridhar » 03 Oct 2008 08:04


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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby SSridhar » 05 Oct 2008 12:57

Pakistani Taliban

The Pakistani Taliban is a post-2001 phenomenon. After the capture of Kabul by American and Northern Alliance troops in November 2001, most of the original Taliban and Al Qaeda elements initially disappeared in mountainous regions like Tora Bora. Later, they moved into FATA and parts of Balochistan adjacent to Afghanistan. A good number of them already had links in Pakistan though the madrassa system. Their entry and stay in the area were also facilitated by shared ethnicity, religious outlook and the desire to free Afghanistan from American occupation.

The continued presence of the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda mobilised local Pashtuns, some of whom had fought with the Afghan Taliban first against the Northern Alliance and then against the Americans. These local Pashtuns began to organise themselves under inspiration and support from the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda, later naming themselves the Pakistan Taliban.

Three factors facilitated their growth. First, the initial target of both sets of Taliban was Afghanistan. As they did not challenge Pakistani authorities, the latter did not generally interfere with their activities unless they got involved in local feuds and disturbed the law and order situation.

Second, the Musharraf government pursued a dual policy of confronting and arresting some Al Qaeda and Taliban elements but not pushing security action against them to dislodge them completely. Local civilian and intelligence authorities had enough discretion to give some space to these elements. This helped the Musharraf government get the MMA’s backing and consolidate itself. It was only after the Red Mosque incident in July 2007 that the MMA began to distance itself from the government.

Third, local authorities under the MMA government in the NWFP did not try to stop the Taliban march from the tribal areas to adjoining settled districts because they shared their worldview. By the time the MMA government left office in 2007, the Pakistani Taliban had reached several rural and urban centres of the province. Further, the MMA opposed the federal government’s military operations in the tribal areas.

The Pakistani Taliban (backed by their Afghan counterparts and Al Qaeda) decided to challenge the Pakistani government openly in settled areas after the Red Mosque incident because they viewed it as the beginning of the government’s new policy of subduing their Pakistani allies. A series of suicide bombings hit Pakistan in 2007-2008.

The recent spurt of violence is a Taliban reaction to the present PPP-led government’s unambiguous policy of countering terrorism. The latest military action has also hit them hard in Bajaur and Swat. A significant development in the tribal belt is that non-Taliban tribesmen have started supporting military action against the Pakistani Taliban. They have been taking action against militants and protecting Pakistani forces’ supply lines. The Pakistani Taliban have increased suicide attacks in order to force the government to stop these military operations.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby SSridhar » 07 Oct 2008 08:06

Rs. 15.5 million robbed from Karachi bank

Such robberies are feeding the Taliban and they take place in and around Karachi.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby Nayak » 07 Oct 2008 08:16

Taliban, al-Qaida headed for a split?

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Worl ... 567522.cms

LONDON: Taliban leaders are holding talks with the Afghan government to end the country's bloody conflict — and are severing their ties with al-Qaida, sources said. ( Watch )

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia hosted meetings between the Afghan government and the Taliban, said a source.
The militia, which has been intensifying its attacks on the US-led coalition that toppled it from power in 2001 for harboring Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, has been involved four days of talks hosted by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah.

The talks mark a significant move by the Saudi leadership to take a direct role in Afghanistan, hosting delegates who have until recently been their enemies. They also mark a sidestepping of key "war on terror" ally Pakistan, frequently accused of not doing enough to tackle militants sheltering on its territory, which has previously been a conduit for talks between the Saudis and Afghanistan.

According to the source, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar was not present, but his representatives were keen to stress the reclusive cleric is no longer allied to al-Qaida.

Details of the Taliban leader's split with al-Qaida have never been made public before, but the new claims confirm what another source with an intimate knowledge of the militia and Mullah Omar has said in the past.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby ramana » 07 Oct 2008 22:16

UK/US is helping create the Pakiban state. The US financial crisis and being duped by TSP in their war on terror has led to this. At the root of teh Kunduz airlift am sure there will be UK advice. I think Karzai and the Durrani type Pashtuns are history. What we are seeing is the slow and orderly transition to the Islamist Pastuns and the end of sarkari Pashtuns. Expect the Northern Alliance to get hit hard by the new Pakiban and the Durrani type Pashtuns totally marginalized. The Great Game is still going on.

A fatal flaw in Afghan peace process by M K Bhadrakumar: Asia Times Online

With the reported intra-Afghan talks under the mediation of Saudi Arabia in Mecca on September 24-27, attention inevitably shifts to the hidden aspects of the "war on terror" in Afghanistan - the geopolitics of the war. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has committed to pulling out Canadian troops from Afghanistan in 2011, let the cat out of the bag last week when he said that some Western leaders wrongly believed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops could stay there forever.

"One of the things I disagree with some other Western leaders is that our [NATO] plan can be somehow to stay in Afghanistan militarily indefinitely," Harper said during a televised election campaign debate in Ottawa. What lends particular importance to Harper's statement is that he has shifted from his earlier position that Canada wouldn't leave Afghanistan until that country was able to cope for itself.

He stressed the importance of a timeline for the NATO presence in Afghanistan, "If we are to truly pacify that country and see its evolution ... we won't achieve such a target unless we actually set a deadline and work to meet it ... If we never leave, will the job ever get done?" Harper revealed he had made this point to both US presidential candidates, Democratic Senator Barack Obama and Republican Senator John McCain.

The Saudi role in mediating the intra-Afghan talks will bring to the fore the geopolitics of the Afghan war. This is already evident from the contradictory reports regarding the talks in Mecca.

There is acute embarrassment in Kabul that any premature leak may only help undercut further the credibility of the political edifice housing President Hamid Karzai. Kabul took the easy route by refusing to acknowledge that any talks took place during the Iftar in Mecca.

CNN broke the story in a London datelined report on Monday quoting authoritative sources that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia hosted high-level talks in Mecca between the Afghan government and Taliban who "are severing their ties with al-Qaeda".

The quibbling by the Kabul spokesman is typically Afghan. Can a get-together in the nature of the Iftar, the meal that breaks the fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, be construed as "peace talks"? The answer is "yes" and "no". On one plane, the gathering was a "guest celebration", as explained by the colorful former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan and a Guantanamo Bay detainee, Abdul Salam Zaeef, who sat in the important religious meal in Mecca.

But on the other hand, the hard facts are the following. Saudi Arabia is a leader of the Sunni Muslim world. It was one of the handful of countries to have recognized the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. It was the Saudi king who hosted the religious meal, which was attended by Taliban representatives, Afghan government officials and a representative of the powerful mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Former Afghan Supreme Court chief justice, Fazel Hadi Shinwari, was among the government representatives at the Iftar. The Afghan army chief of general staff, General Bismillah Khan, also "happened" to be in Saudi Arabia at this time.

Furthermore, as CNN put it, quoting sources, the meal in Mecca took two years of "intense behind-the-scenes negotiations" to come to fruition and "US-and-Europe-friendly Saudi Arabia's involvement has been propelled by a mounting death toll among coalition troops amid a worsening violence that has also claimed many civilian casualties".

Besides, media reports have spotted that behind the Saudi move lingers the recognizable shadows of the controversial former Saudi spy chief and nephew of the king, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who is an old "Afghan hand", having headed Saudi Arabia's al-Mukhabarat al A'amah (General Intelligence Directorate) during the 25-year period from 1977 until shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US. Some even say Turki secretly negotiated with Taliban leader Mullah Omar in 1998 in a vain attempt to have Osama bin Laden extradited to Saudi Arabia.

Above all, there has been a spate of statements in recent days underscoring the futility of the war in Afghanistan. Karzai himself has invited Mullah Omar to step forward as a presidential hopeful in elections slated for next year.

Britain's military commander in Afghanistan, Brigadier General Mark Carleton-Smith told the Sunday Times newspaper of London that the war against the Taliban cannot be won. He specifically advised the British public not to expect a "decisive military victory", but to prepare for a possible deal with the Taliban. "We're not going to win this war. It's about reducing it to a manageable level of insurgency that's not a strategic threat and can be managed by the Afghan army," the British commander said.

The British army top brass is not known to speak out of turn. His stark assessment followed the leaking of a memo detailing a gloomy statement attributed to the British ambassador in Kabul, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, that the current war strategy was "doomed to fail". To say the least, the timing of these statements is highly significant. According to the influential Saudi newspaper Asharq Alawsat, British intelligence is ably assisting the Saudi efforts at mediation.

Longtime observers of the Afghan civil war will recollect the tortuous diplomatic and political peregrinations culminating in the Geneva Accords in April 1988 that led to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. Informal negotiations began as early as 1982. That is to say, claims and counter-claims, constant streams of denials, statements attributed to faceless or anonymous sources, even stony silence if not outright falsification - all this promises to be the fare in the Afghan bazaar in the coming weeks.

However, what is beyond doubt is that inter-Afghan peace talks have finally begun. There is a readiness to admit that the legacy of the Bonn conference in December 2001 must be exorcised from Afghanistan's body politic and stowed away in history books. The recognition seems to have dawned that peace is indivisible and victors must learn to share it with the vanquished. :?:

Several factors have contributed to this realization. One, the seven-year war is in a stalemate and time favors the Taliban. Two, the US is increasingly focused on the bailout of its economy, which leaves little scope both in terms of time and resources for Washington to indulge in the extravaganza of undertaking on its own open-ended wars in faraway badlands. Three, the US is having a hard time persuading its allies to provide troops for the war effort and even faithful allies like Britain seem fatigued and appear uneasy about the US's war strategy. Four, whatever little popular support the puppet regime in Kabul headed by Karzai enjoyed so far is fast declining, which makes the current setup unsustainable. Five, the Taliban have gained habitation and name on the Afghan landscape and no amount of allegations regarding Pakistan's dubious role can hide the reality that the Taliban's support base is rapidly widening. Six, the regional climate - growing instability in Pakistan, tensions in US-Russia relations, NATO's role, Iran's new assertiveness, including possible future support of the Afghan resistance - is steadily worsening and the need arises for the US to recalibrate the prevailing geopolitical alignments and shore up its political and strategic assets created during the 2001-2008 period from being eroded.

Against such a complex backdrop, Washington could - and perhaps should - have logically turned to the United Nations or the international community to initiate an inter-Afghan peace process. Instead, it has almost instinctively turned to its old ally in the Hindu Kush - Saudi Arabia.

The US and Saudi Arabia went a long way in nurturing al-Qaeda and the Taliban in their infancy in the late 1980s and almost up to the second half of the 1990s. Al-Qaeda turned hostile in the early 1990s, but the US's dalliance with the Taliban continued up to the beginning of the first term of George W Bush as US president in 2000. {I guess Leila Helms cant be too far behind!}

It is possible to say that Washington has no real choice at the present juncture but to turn to the Saudis for a helping hand. The Saudis precisely know the Taliban's anatomy, how its muscles and nerves interplay, where it is at its tender-most, where it tickles. The Saudis undoubtedly know how to engage the Taliban. Now, they can almost do what Pakistan, which had similar skills, was capable of doing until it began losing its grip and its self-confidence and became increasingly worn out. Islamabad tended to linger in the shade and watch as the Taliban began taking its performance seriously and didn't seem to need mentors.

Washington is also unsure to what degree Islamabad can be trusted with the central role in any such sensitive mission to finesse or harness the Taliban. All said, while President Asif Ali Zardari is a predictable figure who can be trusted to dance to just about any American tune, far too many imponderables remain in the post-Pervez Musharraf power structure in Islamabad for the US to be confident that it holds all the controlling strings.

Arguably, the Saudis, too, would have their own sub-plots in the Hindu Kush, given the al-Qaeda factor and al-Qaeda's unfinished business in the Middle East, but, on balance, Washington has to pitch to a mediator whom the Taliban leadership and mujahideen leaders like Hekmatyar and sundry other commanders will listen. A final clincher is that the Saudis have no dearth of resources to bankroll an intra-Afghan peace process and money is power in today's impoverished Afghanistan.

Beyond all these considerations, from the US perspective, a big gain out of the Saudi involvement would also be that Iran's efforts to build bridges with the Afghan resistance would be checkmated.

Afghanistan has always been in the cockpit of great power rivalry. The backdrop of US-Russia tensions is of great significance. On October 10, NATO defense ministers are scheduled to gather in Budapest, Hungary, and they are expected to take stock of the souring NATO-Russia ties. The US is advancing the idea of a NATO "defense plan" against Russia.

Any such plan invoking the centrality of Article 5 of the NATO charter regarding collective security for the newly inducted countries of Central Europe and the Balkans will need to be based on threat perceptions to the alliance emanating from post-Soviet Russia. In other words, the US is trying to propel NATO into an adversarial stance with regard to Russia on lines similar to the Cold War era.

But there is a catch. Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is not peddling any pernicious ideology of "expansionism" threatening Western security. On the contrary, Russia is allowing NATO to transport its supplies for Afghanistan via its airspace and territory. Despite tensions in the Caucasus, Moscow has not called off such cooperation, especially involving NATO countries like Germany and France, which are skeptical about the US strategy of pitting the trans-Atlantic alliance against Russia. The US dislikes the prospect of Moscow using its equations with Germany or France within an overall NATO framework as a trump card in its relations with Washington.

Paradoxically, Washington will be relieved if Russia-NATO cooperation over Afghanistan altogether ceases. There is simply no other way that NATO can cast Russia as an adversary. But Russia is not obliging. Russian officials have recently alleged that Washington has prevailed on Karzai to freeze all cooperation with the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on the vital front of combating drug trafficking. But Russia has failed to react and instead has began fortifying its own mechanism within the framework of CSTO (and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization) to counter drug-trafficking.

The main challenge for NATO is that its dependence on Moscow for logistical support in the Afghan war cannot be terminated as long as there is uncertainty about the supply routes via Pakistan. Here the Saudis can be of help. Their involvement in the Afghan peace process will discourage the Taliban from seriously disrupting the supply routes through Pakistan.

From the US perspective, the immediate political advantage of the Saudi involvement will be two-fold: its impact on Pakistani public opinion and, secondly, in countering expanding Iranian influence within Afghanistan. The Saudi role will hopefully temper the stridency of "anti-Americanism" in Pakistan. The US can learn to live with the Pakistani people's "anti-Americanism" provided it remains at an acceptable level and in the realm of political rhetoric. This is where the Saudis can be of help, given their considerable influence on the Islamic parties in Pakistan, especially the Jammat-i-Islami, which makes political capital out of anti-American rhetoric, and a range of Pakistani leaders, both civilian and military.

Interestingly, CNN has quoted Saudi sources to the effect that "perceived Iranian expansionism is one of Saudi Arabia's biggest concerns" in Afghanistan, which is what motivates them to mediate a peace process involving the Taliban.

It is worth recalling that one of the attractions underlying the US-Saudi sponsorship of the Taliban in the early and mid-1990s was the movement's manifestly anti-Shi'ite stance and its infinite potential to be pitted against Iran on the geopolitical chessboard.

The Taliban had killed nine Iranian diplomats in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif in August 1998. The Iranian Foreign Ministry said at that time that "the consequences of the Taliban action is on the shoulders of the Taliban and their supporters". Then-Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani viewed the incident as part of "a very deep conspiracy to occupy Iran at its eastern borders".

Given the ebb and flow of the US-Saudi-Pakistani role in promoting the Taliban in the 1990s, Tehran and Moscow are bound to sit up and take note of the current trends. On the face of it, neither Tehran nor Moscow can take exception to the Saudi role in Afghanistan as that would run against the grain of their recent years of sustained efforts to foster relations with Saudi Arabia at the bilateral level. Tehran, in particular, will be keen to maintain the current semblance of cordiality in its complicated, multi-layered ties with Riyadh and will be averse to playing into the hands of the US to turn Afghanistan into yet another turf of Sunni-Shi'ite (Iran-Saudi) antipathy like Lebanon or Iraq.

But Iran and Russia will be deeply concerned about the US strategic designs. What will perturb the two countries most will be the US's continued plan to keep the Afghan peace process within a tiny, exclusive, charmed circle of friends and allies, which betrays Washington's resolve not to let Afghanistan go out of its tight grip any time in the foreseeable future. Clearly, they would take note that the US strategy, as it is unfolding, is only to make the war in Afghanistan "cost-effective" and not to cut and run.

A Pentagon official was recently quoted as suggesting that "[NATO] countries that have had a reluctance to contribute forces, in particular combat forces, may be able to take part in this mission through a financial contribution". As the official put it, there are "those who fight and those who write checks". The NATO meet in Budapest on Thursday will be discussing these issues of the alliance's mission in Afghanistan.

Apart from the cost-effective methods that ensure the war doesn't tax the US financially, the new head of the US Central Command, General David Petraeus, can also be expected to make the war more "efficient". He followed a somewhat similar strategy in Iraq with what he labeled a policy of "awakening" Sunni tribes. The strategy's Afghan variant, which Petraeus will now spearhead in his new capacity as the head of the Central Command, can be expected to involve hiring Pashtun mercenaries to fight the war so that Western casualties are reduced and NATO's continuance in Afghanistan doesn't get imperiled due to adverse public opinion in the West.

The strategy requires making inroads into the Taliban camp and playing havoc with its unity. In the US military jargon in Iraq, this was called "non-kinetic activities", which helped reverse the spiral of violence for the US troops. It may bring "new hope" to NATO's war in Afghanistan.

Evidently, Washington expects that a clever operator like Prince Turki acting with the blessing of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques will do a neat job in regard to splitting the Taliban and separating them from al-Qaeda. (Turki also served as the Saudi ambassador in Washington.) Turki's brief will contain an almost near-optimal mix of the godly and the worldly, which is useful for finessing a movement like the Taliban that crisscrosses religion and politics.

The Saudi involvement is a desperate gamble by the Bush administration in its dying months. In immediate terms, if Turki makes headway, Taliban violence against Western troops may diminish, which would give an impression that Afghanistan is finally coming right for the US.

But it will not remain so for long. Afghanistan is far more fragmented ethnically than Iraq. The Saudis with all their sovereign wealth funds out of petrodollars cannot bridge the hopelessly ruptured Afghan divides. At the very least, much time is needed to heal the deep wounds. Saudi involvement will almost certainly be resented by several Afghan groups, which viscerally oppose the Taliban, such as the Hazara Shi'ite groups. As it is, things were poised to come to a boil in 2009, which is an election year in Afghanistan.

Petraeus beat his war drum and claimed victory in Iraq, but that is not the final word. Political events are seldom what they seem. The heart of the matter is that Iran's cooperation made Petraeus' "victory" in Iraq possible. A peace process predicated on the exclusion of Iran and Russia - leave alone any "Islamization" of Afghanistan on Wahhabi lines - will not succeed.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.



In one way the West hedged against the Indian Muslims(Deobandi/Wahabi) of the UP variety by winning the Arab Islamist fort in Saudi Arabia under their tutelage.

and

Look who came to dinner ... by Syed Saleem Shahzad: Asia Times Online

KARACHI - Although the Taliban and al-Qaeda have consistently rejected overtures to make peace with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces until they leave Afghanistan, the latest initiative led by Saudi Arabia, and approved by Washington and London, is on track.

Reports emerged this week that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia recently hosted high-level talks in Mecca between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban. If a middle road is found, next year's elections in Afghanistan could be held under the supervision of peacekeeping forces from Islamic countries, rather than those of NATO.

The first move in the peace process was made by Saudi Arabia last year when a Saudi consul based in Islamabad secretly visited the North Waziristan tribal area and met the al-Qaeda leadership. His mission was to convince them of the necessity of a peace process in Afghanistan and provide them with assurances of an amnesty. (See Military brains plot Pakistan's downfall Asia Times Online, September 26, 2007.) Al-Qaeda refused the consul access to its senior leaders, and anyway rejected the initiative.

Undeterred, Riyadh pitched the idea to the Taliban rank and file that if the forces of Islamic countries were involved in peacekeeping operations for the elections, it would create a climate of reconciliation in which both the Taliban and NATO would not lose face. The Taliban also did not accept this idea, but the proposal did generate low-profile debate and in this sense a peace process had begun.

Like the Taliban, the Western coalition was divided over peace formulas but decided to at least initiate a political process to resolve the seven-year conflict in Afghanistan. The British Embassy in Kabul sent some people to Helmand province to initiate talks with the Taliban, but the procedure backfired as the Taliban dismissed their commanders involved in the negotiations. And the Afghan government, under instructions from the US Embassy in Kabul, expelled European Union officials from Afghanistan for their involvement in the dialogue process.

Pakistan, meanwhile, despite American pressure, kept open channels of communication with the Taliban. All the while, the conflict in Afghanistan escalated, reaching new heights this year.

Kabul is virtually under siege and the Taliban have established pockets in Wardak (30 kilometers from Kabul) and Sarobi (50 km from Kabul) as well as in neighboring Kapisa and Parwan provinces. More ominously, the Taliban-led insurgency has spread to Pakistani territory where vast areas have been brought under its control, especially in the tribal areas that border Afghanistan. From a military standpoint, this is particularly worrying for NATO as most of its supplies pass through this area.

Against this backdrop of a seemingly unwinnable war, as Britain's senior commander in Afghanistan has commented, the stalled pace process was revived.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan was used as a cover for revived backchannel diplomacy in the Saudi holy city of Mecca. Afghan officials, former Taliban leaders and leaders of mujid Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan shared an Iftar fast-breaking meal with King Abdullah. Separate meetings were held with other top Saudi officials, including Saudi intelligence chief Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz.

One person who was present at the king's table was former Taliban foreign minister Wakeel Ahmed Muttawakil. He spoke to Asia Times Online by telephone from Kabul.

Asia Times Online: Did you meet King Abdullah?

Wakeel Ahmed Muttawakil: I traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform umra [pilgrimage] in the holy month of Ramadan ... and it is true [I met King Abdullah]. You know, the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan [as the Taliban's regime was known from 1996 to 2001] had good relations with Saudi Arabia and therefore I know everybody over there.

ATol: Your meeting with Saudi intelligence chief Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz is believed to be the real beginning of a dialogue process between the Taliban and Saudi Arabia over a truce between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

WAM: As I said, I met with many people during my stay in Saudi Arabia, but it had nothing to do with politics. Our reason to travel was to perform pilgrimage and prayers in Ramadan. Since I am known to the Saudi government, they invited me for Iftar.

ATol: Then was it a coincidence that immediately after your visit, Afghan President Hamid Karzai stepped up efforts to engage the Taliban and mentioned a Saudi role in that regard?

WAM: I said earlier that Saudi Arabia had very good relations with the Taliban in the past, therefore the Afghan government expects the Saudi government to play a role. Not only with the Taliban, Saudi Arabia had very good relations with Sheikh Osama bin Laden and other jihadi movements. So its role would be very effective.

ATol: Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan has also been approached by the Saudis. Do you have any knowledge in this regard?

WAM: I don't know anything in this regard, but I can guess that since the Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami are both part of the present insurgency, but still keep separate commands, Hekmatyar would have been approached separately. Like the Taliban, Hekmatyar also keeps very good relations with Saudi Arabia and with his connections with the Ikwanul Muslemeen [Muslim Brotherhood] he is even closer to the Saudis.

An earlier Taliban statement said:

The mainstream media is reporting about a "peace process" between the Taliban and the Kabul puppet administration which is being sponsored by Saudi Arabia and supported by Britain, and that there are "unprecedented talks" involving a senior ex-Taliban member who is traveling between Kabul and the alleged bases of the Taliban senior leadership in Pakistan. The Afghanistan Islamic Emirate leadership council considers such as baseless rumors and as failed attempts of the enemy to create mistrust and concerns among Afghans and other nations and mujahideen.

No official member of the Taliban is currently or has in the past negotiated with the US or the puppet Afghan government. A few former officials of the Taliban who are under house arrest [Mullah Zaeef, former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan] or have surrendered [Wakeel Ahmed Muttawakil] do not represent the Islamic Emirate.

The Taliban's denial and Muttawakil's reticence apart, it cannot be denied that something is afoot. This is no better illustrated than by Washington-backed Karzai at the weekend asking "terrorist" Mullah Omar to join the political process and saying that he would convince the international community about him.

Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief. He can be reached at saleem_shahzad2002@yahoo.com

The Great Game begins anew! Will post there too

What we are seeing is the Wahabization of Afghanistani Pashtuns. A new fortress of Isalm is being created by a number of events that were ennumerated above.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby SSridhar » 09 Oct 2008 09:49

PA informs Parliamentarians on Taliban tactics

Parliamentarians were told in an in-camera session on Wednesday that the Taliban pose a serious threat to Pakistan’s security.

Sources familiar with the proceedings told Daily Times that newly-appointed ISI Director General Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha briefed the parliamentarians on the gravity of the threat with the help of slides, charts and films.

He told the parliament that the Taliban had gained complete control over certain districts, including Swat and Shangla, and that the armed forces were trying to contain their influence. The military was capable of dealing with the threat, he said, but also told the public representatives about the difficulties it was facing in the operation.

Gen Pasha explained the methods the Taliban and terrorists employ to brainwash and train young people and use them against Pakistan’s military. He also told the parliament about the torture methods they used on abducted soldiers that included throwing acid in their faces.

The sources said the participants were disturbed by the grim details and most of them remained silent during and after the briefing. Gen Pasha said 1,368 troops had died in the fight since 2001, and the military had killed 2,825 Taliban and terrorists including 581 foreigners.

Some of them were crossing into Pakistan from Afghanistan to fight Pakistani troops in Bajaur, Gen Pasha said, adding that the US and Afghan authorities had been informed.

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Re: Pakiban- Origins, Composition, Tactics and Leadership-1

Postby gandharva » 10 Oct 2008 05:11

Afghanistan conflict rapidly worsening: US report: US special forces and CIA active in western Pakistan

* Report says reconstituted Al Qaeda, resurgent Taliban collaborate with terrorist groups to complicate counterinsurgency war

By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: Special operations forces of the United States military and CIA operatives are now conducting regular secret incursions into western Pakistan, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

A review of the Afghanistan policy – and as it affects Pakistan – is said to be in hand and expected to be completed in weeks, while presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain are unlikely to question a major new US commitment; both having called for an increase in US troops. And unlike Iraq, there is bipartisan backing for doing more, and doing it quickly, in Afghanistan.
Intelligence officials warn of a rapidly worsening situation on the ground. The nearly completed National Intelligence Estimate on Afghanistan and the Pakistan-based extremists fighting has concluded that reconstituted elements of Al Qaeda and the resurgent Taliban are collaborating with an expanding network of terrorist groups, making the counterinsurgency war infinitely more complicated.
It turns out that when urgent US appeals to the Pakistani military and government failed and the coalition moved to oust former president Pervez Musharraf, those who had long advocated stronger US action inside Pakistan finally prevailed with Bush. Bush is said to have given his assent to such action in July this year.
“The administration concluded that the ground raids were legal under the self-defence provisions of the United Nations charter, an interpretation that a UN official said was questionable,” according to the Post.
US officials are said to describe the Pakistan-based extremist network, which the Pentagon calls ‘the syndicate’, as a loose alliance of three elements.
Kashmiri militants, constrained by recent agreements between Pakistan and India have ‘leaned over’ to assist a domestic terrorist campaign launched by homegrown extremists often referred to as the ‘Pakistani Taliban’.
The Afghan Taliban are based in Pakistan but focused on Afghanistan, as are the forces led by Jalaluddin Haqqani, his son Siraj and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, among others.
Traditional tribal groups in FATA are a third element and are believed to be focused primarily on keeping the Pakistan army and government out of their areas, and assisting the Afghan-oriented parts of the network.
Al Qaeda, composed largely of Arabs and, increasingly, Uzbeks, Chechens and other Central Asians, is described as sitting atop the structure, providing money and training to the others in exchange for sanctuary. “They are oriented to just keeping the Pakistani military and government out of their areas,” a US intelligence official told the newspaper.
“They help the groups who are interested in Afghanistan.” There is competition between and among them,” another US counterterrorism official said, but their interests increasingly overlap and “they understand the need to support one another.”
President Bush’s senior military adviser on Afghanistan and Iraq has told the Pentagon, intelligence and State Department officials to return to basic questions: What are US objectives in Afghanistan? What can the US hope to achieve? What are its resources? What is its allies’ role? What does the US know about the enemy? How likely is it that weak Afghan and Pakistani governments will rise to the occasion?
US policymakers are convinced that the war in Afghanistan is heading downhill. US military deaths and enemy attacks this year have risen to the highest levels of the nearly seven-year war. Hopes have faded that a new Pakistani government would seize the initiative against extremist sanctuaries, and that a new UN co-ordinator would bring order to the chaos of the multibillion-dollar Afghan reconstruction programme. Defence Secretary Robert Gates has already determined that the United States must take a more forceful lead in strategy and combat from NATO forces in Afghanistan.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008\10\10\story_10-10-2008_pg7_1


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