Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby CRamS » 04 Jul 2013 19:47

abhishek_sharma wrote:The Doha portent: Bruce Riedel


This CIA honcho has the knack of saying the right things to please India interspersed with nuggets of falsehoods carefully designed to mask US machinations.

He throws up that Al Queda bogey when in fact its a non entity, and TSPA/ISI/Taliban will annihilate them if any remnants prop up. The real villains are TSPA/ISI/Taliban, and the CIA honcho knows they want to reign in AfPak, and TSPA/ISI want India's head on silver platter. Any policy predicated on anything else except this, is flawed.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby SSridhar » 05 Jul 2013 15:51

India turns down Afghan request for arms - The Hindu
India has turned down Afghanistan’s request for supply of lethal weapons, saying it was neither in a position nor willing to contribute lethal weapons right now, days after Afghan President Hamid Karzai raised the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“We are going to help with non-lethal equipment but I don’t think we are either in the position to or willing to contribute lethal weapons right now,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said here [in Singapore].

Noting that India already supplies important elements of supporting equipment, transportation, which includes helicopters, the minister said “...we think it is not advisable to go beyond that. It is a fragile area, there are stakeholders, there are other people. We don’t want to become part of the problem.”

During his recent visit to India, Mr. Karzai had handed a “wish list” to Indian leadership seeking greater military and civilian support in the wake of proposed withdrawal of US-led forces from Afghanistan in 2014.

Mr. Khurshid, in an interview to Straits Times, said there are lots of people who have perceptions about the future of Afghanistan and “if we can help Afghanistan without creating further problems for them, I think that would be a preferred way to do it.”

He said, “We are in touch with them constantly, and we are committed and have said very categorically... We are not looking at exit routes for ourselves which means we are there to stay for a long term. We are very comforted by the fact that Afghans have confidence in us. We won’t let them down.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 10 Jul 2013 04:11

US considering full withdrawl from Afghanistan

LINK

(Reuters) - The United States is considering pulling out all its troops from Afghanistan next year but is far from making a decision, White House and Pentagon officials said on Tuesday, but Afghan officials expressed skepticism that President Barack Obama would back a complete withdrawal.

Amid tensions between Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the path forward, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that a "zero option" of leaving no U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014 is among the policy possibilities under consideration.

"This is not a decision that is imminent," Carney said.

Obama is committed to winding down U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The United States has been talking with officials in Afghanistan about keeping a small residual force there of perhaps 8,000 troops after 2014.

At the Pentagon, spokesman George Little played down friction with Karzai and expressed confidence that there was still "plenty of time and space" to negotiate a bilateral security pact allowing for U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan.

Karzai suspended talks on that pact in June, accusing Washington of mixed messages regarding peace talks with the Taliban. It was among the latest signs of deep tensions between U.S. officials and the Afghan leader. :mrgreen: A June 27 video conference between Obama and Karzai aimed at lowering tensions was confrontational, officials said.

"I wouldn't say that we're frustrated. We continue to work through issues," Little said. "We realize that there are going to be points of contention from time to time. That's natural of any partnership. But we think we can get through them."

AFGHANS SKEPTICAL

Senior Afghan figures close to Karzai expressed skepticism that the United States would consider a complete withdrawal.

"Both sides understand how to pressure each other. But both the U.S. and Afghanistan fully understand the need for foreign troops, especially U.S. ones, to stay beyond 2014 and that it is vital for security here and in the wider region," a top palace official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"We don't think the U.S. will compromise on that, because past experience of abandoning Afghanistan was that the country descended into chaos," the official said, recalling the bitter civil war that raged after the 1989 Soviet withdrawal and subsequent toppling of the Soviet-backed government of Mohammad Najibullah in 1992.

Much of Kabul was gutted in the ensuing conflict between rival warlords until the Taliban seized control of the country in 1996 and introduced their austere Islamic regime.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman General Zahir Azimi said there had been no decisions on the pace and scale of a U.S. withdrawal, and similar scenarios had circulated in the past.

A former Karzai political adviser, Nasrullah Stanikzai, said the Afghan government must pursue its own strategic and political interests in negotiations with the United States, but tense relations between Obama and Karzai were not helping.

"But U.S. officials saying they are considering leaving no troops behind after 2014 is just propaganda to put pressure on (the) Afghan government so Washington can get an outcome it wants in a bilateral security pact," Stanikzai said.

The negotiations on the future U.S. role in Afghanistan that were suspended by Karzai will cover vital basing issues and whether reduced numbers of U.S. troops may be able to continue attacks against al Qaeda and other extremist groups, including in neighboring Pakistan.

The United States also considered keeping a small force in Iraq after the broad troop withdrawal from that country, but talks with Iraqi leaders failed to yield such a deal.

The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan — now around 63,000 — already is set to decline to 34,000 by February. The White House has said the great majority of American forces will be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

U.S. troops have been in Afghanistan since 2001. The United States invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban rulers who had harbored the al Qaeda network responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States weeks earlier.

(Additional reporting by Rob Taylor, Hamid Shalizi and Mirwais Harooni in Kabul; Editing by Will Dunham)



TSP will think its cut and run.


Could be pressure tactics on Karzai to give into the 'good' Taliban talks.

If US leaves, Karzai then will be forced to take steps to protect his country from TSP machinations.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby krishna_krishna » 10 Jul 2013 05:40

^^^ Pleasure tactics only. Please see my post below from the strategic news and discussion thread

"connect the dots with a old news of parking ac unit in BD and what is being done in the afg . I spoke to some people in massa land who were returning from their tour de france that they will for sure have presence there. That means massa is putting its own ring more tight than chini. They don't want to be complacent with desh since the chini will surely overtake them.

Now if I connect one more dot remember the pictures/videos of prab. family members came suddenly out of nowhere , I believe that was to force SL too. Massa has long been trying to seduce them with different tricks."

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby jash_p » 10 Jul 2013 07:31

TSP will think its cut and run.


Could be pressure tactics on Karzai to give into the 'good' Taliban talks.

If US leaves, Karzai then will be forced to take steps to protect his country from TSP machinations.



If unkil cut and run then Karzi fate will be like Nazibulla in hands of Paki passand Haquani with help of TSP.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Prem » 11 Jul 2013 06:24

Post-2014 Afghanistan: Another King Upon an Ant Hill
http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/po ... n-ant-hill
The withdrawal strategy cannot be based on what could be referred to as the Charlie Wilson complex. That is, where we are filled with guilt to the cries of ‘abandoning Afghanistan’ over deciding not to spend billions more of taxpayer’s money on a hop-scotch of social development programs. It should not be because we want to change the depraved acts of barbarism. That is a cultural and moral war that is beyond Western Government’s international fiduciary duty and perhaps more suited to multi-lateral organisations. This paper attempts to provide a snap-shot of lessons from previous foreign force withdrawals and offers a number of potential objectives that could form the basis of a decision to maintain a US-NATO presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014.Alexander the Great faced fierce resistance in the Afghan tribal areas where he is said to have commented that Afghanistan is "easy to march into, hard to march out of.” (Robson, 2002) Alexander the Great also launched his own surge with what would have been regarded at the time as superior weaponry and military training, (Pressfield, 2009). Genghis Khan had to apply perhaps the most brutal tactics during his invasion around 1220, which could not be remotely acceptable today, in order to overcome the ferocious and obstinate tribal resistance. The British experienced a disaster as they withdrew at the end of the first Anglo-Afghan War 1839-1842. During their retreat over the mountain passes outside Kabul 4,500 British soldiers and 12,500 civilians died. This colossal humiliation was captured by Elizabeth Butler in her painting depicting Dr William Brydon the sole survivor on horseback, as he reached the British fought in Jalalabad. ( This man have not heard and read about HAri Singh Nalwa)
The Soviet Retreat

According to Evgeny Malashenko, head of the International Institute for Political Expertise, Afghans perceive the US-NATO withdrawal in same manner as they did the Soviet one – as “defeat” of the enemy. The mindset behind this perception is seen as the result of what many of the fighters feel has been another successful guerilla war campaign against yet another foreign invader and nothing to do with terrorism. Ironically, with their similar complexion, vehicles and accents when the Polish first set up camp in Ghazni the locals thought the Russians had returned. It has been reported that NATO officials have made attempts to engage with the Russian Defense Ministry seeking lessons and analysis from the 1989 Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan (Pakistan Defence, 2013).

At its peak the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) numbered closed to 400,000 towards the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, with significant operational capabilities and equipment. This is close to the US-NATO target for ANSF post-2014. While recent reports question the readiness of the ANSF to take complete control, we must ask ourselves if we have an obligation, outside any mutual defence treaty that may be signed, to intervene if a civil war unfolds for control of Afghanistan. A large civil conflict in Afghanistan may not even result in the wholesale control of Afghanistan. The reason we need to ask ourselves this question is because it comes back to the original thrust of this paper around the objectives of the post-2014 strategy. If any serious civil conflict does not risk becoming a harbinger for international terrorist networks, then aren’t we faced with the same conundrum as we find ourselves in with respect to other fragile nations? Perhaps this scenario would require looking at how the French dealt with the recent crisis in Mali as a better comparison or the British “Butcher and Bolt” policy as mentioned earlier.

A recent assessment of the US efforts to develop the ANSF, by the Deputy Inspector General for the US Department of Defence found that to date, the ANA had only been effective in conducting offensive operations of short duration due to logistical shortfalls and limited organic enabler capacity, with heavy reliance on U.S. and Coalition support, (Inspector General Report 2013). That said, following the Soviet withdrawal late President Najibullah persisted for six or seven years before being defeated by the Taliban. Part of the reason for this was described in the January 2013 issue of The Atlantic setting out how 15,000 mujahedin were dealt a serious blow in 1989 by the ANA in a battle near Jalalabad, when they were defeated with 400 scud missiles and Soviet trained advisors. The other historically tried and true strategy in Afghanistan that sustained Najibullah was his effective patronage of warlords and tribal leaders. This is an aspect of doing politics in Afghanistan that many Westerners find hard to stomach; that is doing deals with very bad people. But that is a fact of life and survival in Afghanistan. It was a key component that underpinned TE Lawrence’s success with the Bedouin Arabs in World War I. As with the post-Soviet withdrawal, Najibullah was only able to sustain this strategy while the Soviet Union remain in one piece, following its collapse in 1991, the Najibullah regime quickly fell.
Withdrawals Usually Feature Pakistan

A common dynamic faced by nearly all foreign empires in relation to Afghanistan is Pakistan. Once again the future of Afghanistan rests more with Pakistan than almost any other outside influence. During the previous British wars in Afghanistan, subsequent agreements that crafted manufactured stability in Afghanistan were made through the tribal and political leaders in what is now Pakistan. Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were the only countries to formerly recognise the Taliban Government prior to their defeat in 2001.

Not only has Pakistan's support and safe havens for the Taliban stunted efforts to end the insurgency in Afghanistan, it is unlikely to allow itself to be sidelined in negotiating a strategic withdrawal with the Taliban. A 2008 RAND study Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, found that those insurgencies that received support from external states won more than 50 percent of the time, while those with no support won only 17 percent of the time. Insurgents have been successful approximately 43 percent of the time when they enjoyed a sanctuary. Former National Security Advisor and NATO Commander, Jim Jones identified that a "pivotal time" came in 2006, Jones argued, when the Pakistani military decided to "cut a deal" with tribal leaders that allowed the Taliban insurgents to cross freely from Afghanistan if they didn't attack Pakistani forces, Washington Post. There must be diplomatic phrase or term for when a country provides defence funding to another country who then uses a portion of this funding to support your enemy that leads to the death of the original donor country’s soldiers. There is a Pashtun proverb that says, “a man bitten by a snake, will be frightened of even a twisted rope,” this does not seem to fit with US foreign policy and the funding it provides to Pakistan.

Conclusion and Potential Objectives
It may be anachronistic to compare the current situation with events in history. We are not retreating in defeat and we will not be withdrawing on horseback and yet we need to depart with a clear set of objectives. Even before the complete withdrawal, the Taliban have shown their ability to disrupt our good work, as when they recently closed 40 schools in Zabul Province, Tolonews. While this may be utterly disappointing, it is questionable as to whether events like this are inextricably linked to one potential foreign policy objective of ensuring Afghanistan does not harbour trans-national terrorists to plan attacks on our shores.The important aspect of this objective is the focus on foreign terrorist networks and not the Taliban. While Afghans have fought and died with the Taliban, open source data suggests not a single Afghan or member of the Taliban has been implicated in a terrorist attack outside Afghanistan

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 11 Jul 2013 19:52

It is a retreat and a defeat if the Taleban is allowed to seize power in Afghanistan.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Samudragupta » 11 Jul 2013 20:13

There is a big story about Afghan Taliban, Lashkar Taiba and Ansarul Islam planning an attack on Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan in Mohmand. There may indeed be renewed war in Mohmand but the reported reasons that Afghan Taliban are angry at TTP for kidnapping and other crimes and this way bringing 'Taliban' a bad name; that Lashkar Taiba are long-time rivals just like Ansarul Islam so they are all planning a major strike against TTP together stink of a plan to re-start war in north-western Pakhtunkhwa.

1. First of all there is very little TTP in Mohmand. If anyone wants to hit TTP, they must go to Waziristan. Why choose Mohmand?

2. Afghan Taliban have enough pressure from the Afghan National Army (and NATO to a lesser extent because they are not doing that much fighting now). Afghan Talib is getting hunted more fiercely than ever before by the more confident Afghan Army (You saw their confidence in Gushta against Pakistan Army, didn't you?). Why would Afghan Talib want to open another war front and that too against TTP, a long-term friend, allly, classmate, war buddy? Because TTP kidnaps people? Afghan Taliban do not speak about Hakeem even killing innocent people, much less kidnapping. Afghan Taliban themselves are responsible for most civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

3. Lashkar Taiba, still under control of ISI, has always worked closely with Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. They have shared resources for long. LeT people go around mosques in Peshawar collecting your money and they take the skins of animals you sacrifice on ‘loy Akhtar’. But even if we believe that Lashkar Taiba will attack TTP, is Lahore/Punjab going to be safe from TTP suicide attacks? Punjabi generals are not stupid to invite a deadly battle between a Punjabi and a Pashtun militant group that will eventually reach Lahore. Never.

4. Ansarul Islam is also openly supported by the Pakistan Army. Pakistani soldiers and Ansarul Islam fought alongside each other against Mangal Bagh and TTP in Khyber until Ansar was defeated. So it's believable that Ansarul Islam wants to attack TTP but they have no presence in Mohmand. They do not have great presence in neighboring Orakzai and Kurram even. Even TTP is not so strong in Mohmand. Why won't Ansar regroup in Khyber, its home, and re-launch attacks? It will be easier.
The objectives of the reports on expected fighting in Mohmand must be different.

5. Wali Raman was killed in a drone attack to stop new PML-N government from starting negotiations. Renewed tensions in northern Pakhtunkhwa will once again expand the war which is now limited to Khyber and Kurram with sporadic attacks in Waziristan and Orakzai. So more trouble for the new government and even harder for it to start negotiations and easier for Pakistan to bleed the Afghan government nearby.

6. If Pakistan Army is depending on Lashakr e Taiba and Ansarul Islam to fight in order to expand the war, it shows the Army itself is coming close to a burn-out or it is simply out of excuses to start a war in Mohmand and Dir. War begun by militant groups saves Pakistan Army skin and at the same achieves its objectives. It will take a lot of effort to transport all LeT and Ansar fighters to settle in Mohmand and start a fight unless their camps are built close to Pakistan Army facilities providing roti, kapra, makan and guns.

7. Here is the conclusion. We have seen a big fight between Afghan and Pakistan Army in Gushtha, close to Mohmand. We have seen Pakistan throwing hundreds of rockets on Kunar, from Mohmand and Dir. The Durandline issue isn't discussed these days without mention of Nangarhar and Kunar. Pakistan's old tactic of using militant groups to create chaos is being replayed here for the above reasons but the most important factor is economic. You may or may not agree but the objective of continuation of war along the border with Nangarhar and Kunar are Afghanistan's plans for major water projects in these places. Afghanistan wants to use its water but if there is raging war near and in those two provinces, there is no chance of any water dam being built.
Thus water will continue to flow into Pakistan's Indus River. Pakhtunkhwa does not use it water so it will flow onto the great plains of Punjab and Sindh while war continues in in our mountains. So yes there may be renewed fighting in the north but the reports aren’t telling us who is doing the planning.


If we believe the above article then the general assumption that Taliban will march to Kabul and smash the Northerners is not happening...ala according to Saleh ANA is strong enough to take on the odd 20000 ragtag militia...

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby member_23692 » 11 Jul 2013 23:07

If we believe the above article then the general assumption that Taliban will march to Kabul and smash the Northerners is not happening...ala according to Saleh ANA is strong enough to take on the odd 20000 ragtag militia...


It is not a ragtag militia if it is backed, supplied, trained and sheltered by Paki and ISI. No one should understimate the Talibs. They are a forward Army of the 1 billion strong and very monied Islamic world.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby abhishek_sharma » 12 Jul 2013 07:46

What’s in it for Obama?

Book Review
The CIA, a Secret Army and a War at the Ends of the Earth by Mark Mazzetti
Penguin, 381 pp, £22.50, April, ISBN 978 1 59420 480 7

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby svinayak » 12 Jul 2013 10:01

http://news.rediff.com/commentary/2013/ ... e75b7c5b63

Live! 'Next Indo-Pak conflict could be in Afghanistan'
Write a comment
July 12, 2013 03:27
Asserting that there has been no change in the attitude and policy of Pakistani military towards India, a former American diplomat has said the next frontier of conflict between the two nations could be Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan is going to be in mess after we leave. India's equity are now deeply engaged in Afghanistan and danger is that the next frontier of India-Pak conflict is going to be in Afghanistan," said Robert Blackwill, the former US ambassador to India said.

Speaking at the "Ambassadors Roundtable" involving five American envoys to India in the last two decades, Blackwill said "there is no evidence that Pakistan military has changed its view" that its primary role is to prevent the rise of India nation.

The situation is not going to change until the Pakistani military changed the view that they have to be the prominent power in Afghanistan and India is the enemy in this war torn country, Blackwill said.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby paramu » 12 Jul 2013 21:26

abhishek_sharma wrote:
Book Review
The CIA, a Secret Army and a War at the Ends of the Earth by Mark Mazzetti
Penguin, 381 pp, £22.50, April, ISBN 978 1 59420 480 7

Obama parted company with Bush by abandoning hope of turning former state sponsors of terrorism into reliable American allies.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby SSridhar » 13 Jul 2013 05:23

US Exit: India Steps Up Afghan Army Training - ToI
India is stepping up training of Afghan National Army (ANA) in a major way, even as it also considers supply of military equipment to the fledgling force, in the backdrop of the US-led coalition preparing to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014.

Defence ministry sources say "a major Indian effort has been launched for capability enhancement of the ANA" to ensure it can handle the internal security of Afghanistan after the progressive exit of the 100,000 foreign soldiers from there by end-2014.

India is worried about the stability of the strategically-located Afghanistan after the withdrawal because it is likely to witness a concomitant surge in the activity of the Taliban and its deadly arms like the Haqqani network, which have long worked in league with the Pakistani Army against Indian interests.

Defence minister A K Antony, in fact, recently warned the Indian military brass to be on guard to tackle "any spillover effect" in Jammu & Kashmir and elsewhere due to Pakistan's continuing support to the Taliban and its inroads into Afghanistan.

Though India has worked largely on re-construction and developmental projects in the war-ravaged country over the last decade, it is now also boosting the "capacity-building" of ANA. If 574 ANA personnel were trained in different Indian Army establishments in 2012-13, for instance, the number will be "well over 1,000" in 2013-14.

The training includes counter-terrorism operations, military field-craft, signals, intelligence, counter-IED, information technology, battle-field nursing assistance and, of course, the English language. Afghan personnel are also being "attached" to the Infantry School at Mhow, Artillery School at Devlali and Mechanised Infantry Regimental Centre at Ahmednagar for specialized courses.

India has also posted some Army officers in the central Asian nation teach basic military and English skills as well as military doctors to help at hospitals in Kandahar and elsewhere. The training of Afghan pilots and technicians in operating Russian-origin Mi-35 helicopter gunships is also on the anvil.

A joint Indian military-civilian team had also gone to Kabul earlier this month after Afghan President Hamid Karzai submitted "a wish list" of military equipment to India during a visit here in May. The 17-page list includes armoured vehicles, 105mm artillery guns, utility helicopters, trucks, communication equipment and the like.

Sources said the visit of an ANA "Strategic Group", with 10 high-ranking officers, was also planned to India from September 1 to 13. The delegation will hold talks with the top military brass here, part from visiting military establishments in Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Johann » 13 Jul 2013 18:53

ramana wrote:
TSP will think its cut and run.


Could be pressure tactics on Karzai to give into the 'good' Taliban talks.

If US leaves, Karzai then will be forced to take steps to protect his country from TSP machinations.


They are pressure tactics but they are primarily about the 'Status of Forces Agreement' or SOFA.

There was exactly the same game of chicken played between the Maliki government and the Obama administration, and the result was complete instead of partial US military withdrawal from the bases in Iraq.

The problem for Maliki as well as Karzai is that a SOFA deprives the state of even fictional sovereignty over base areas, which makes any leader who signs them vulnerable to political attack. The Shah's signing of a SOFA in the 1960s came at huge political cost to him, and it was the same with the Saudis once US troops arrived in 1990.

In that sense this isn't about geopolitics as much as nationalism versus a pragmatic reading of national interests both for the Americans, and for every country that has to deal with the issue.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby jash_p » 13 Jul 2013 21:04

Quote:
If we believe the above article then the general assumption that Taliban will march to Kabul and smash the Northerners is not happening...ala according to Saleh ANA is strong enough to take on the odd 20000 ragtag militia...


It is not a ragtag militia if it is backed, supplied, trained and sheltered by Paki and ISI. No one should understimate the Talibs. They are a forward Army of the 1 billion strong and very monied Islamic world.




It is also half million strong Paki army as they will go in garb of Talib and smash ANA.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 14 Jul 2013 03:10

Johann, Once bitten twice shy.
Yet US still insists on Imperial Rome type of tactics even after knowing that it was Byzantium that survived the long duration.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Samudragupta » 14 Jul 2013 10:09

@rsangram,jash_p

The fundamental conflict in the Af-Pak region is not about religion,culture,ethinicity or economics but all about Geography...read KS what he has to say about the destiny of Punjab.....the fundamental conflict is between the people of the mountains and the people of the plains which is going on since millenniums and history tells us who will be the ultimate winner....Punjab cannot hold on to the Hindukush without the help of Gangetic plains....Pakis know its destiny...the whole concept of strategic depth is to stop this inevitable...


And regarding the smashing of the ANA by the Taliban...if the Afghan state does not fall from inside....Taliban or its backer the Pakis does not have the military capability to take over Kabul if the Afghans are prepared to pay the price to hold on in the face of Paki...

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Johann » 14 Jul 2013 13:53

From conversations my impression is that the Pakistani Army leadership believes that;

- The rank and file of the PA have stayed loyal despite many Deobandi (mostly Pashtun) clerics calling for mutiny and refusing to offer Muslim funerals to soldiers who died fighting the TTP. They're very pleased and relieved that nationalism and military discipline trumped the call of the movement. The loss of coherence and discipline within the armed forces was their greatest fear.

- The TTP's (i.e. the 'bad' Taliban) legitimacy will be severely weakened once the Americans leave Afghanistan. In particular they hope that the non-Pashtun elements will be less welcome in the tribal areas. They're back to hoping they can negotiate with them, backed by the stick of a PA that is now more confident in its frontier warfare capabilities.

- It is impossible to turn Afghanistan into an asset (the 'strategic depth' dreams of Beg and Gul), but that denying Afghanistan to its adversaries - the US and India in particular - is both realistic and a vital Pakistani national interest.

- They can negotiate with the Americans, offering assistance with an orderly withdrawal in exchange for a reduction in American pressure on them.

In short they seem confident that they can hold the line having seen the worst, and that the internal jihadi threat will soon start to wane. They are surprisingly conscious of the limits in their ability to project power (perhaps more so than any point in their history of over-reaching), but also more willing than ever to play a spoiler role in Afghanistan.

The real weakness in these assumptions is the second point, that the anti-state jihad will quieten down and go away. The drone strikes will continue, and the sectarian wars within Pakistan will supply footsoldiers and supporters for those who attack the state over its relationship with the US, not to mention the opportunists looking to set up their own little emirates.

The assumption that they can win lasting concessions from the Americans on the strength of the short term priority of orderly withdrawal is also perhaps a bit of optimism on their part.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby SSridhar » 14 Jul 2013 17:26

Johann wrote:- The rank and file of the PA have stayed loyal despite many Deobandi (mostly Pashtun) clerics calling for mutiny and refusing to offer Muslim funerals to soldiers who died fighting the TTP. They're very pleased and relieved that nationalism and military discipline trumped the call of the movement. The loss of coherence and discipline within the armed forces was their greatest fear.

Johann, those were the days [the bolded part above] when the PA was involved in hand-to-hand fight with the 'bad Taliban'. The soldiers refused to fight disobeying orders, or wantonly surrendered or simply ran away. We know of police officers inserting ads in local newspapers that they were no longer policemen etc. After 2009, the PA is not involved in any such direct operation, except in South Waziristan where the TTP strategically backed off. Hence, IMO, it is premature for PA officers to feel elated that the rank-and-file have not been swayed by Deobandi clerics. Time will tell and that is not too far away; within a decade perhaps.

The TTP's (i.e. the 'bad' Taliban) legitimacy will be severely weakened once the Americans leave Afghanistan. In particular they hope that the non-Pashtun elements will be less welcome in the tribal areas. They're back to hoping they can negotiate with them, backed by the stick of a PA that is now more confident in its frontier warfare capabilities.

Non-Pashtun elements have been welcomed and offered hospitality (though there were occasional flare-ups) by the Frontier people on either side at least since the mujahideen days, not counting the older wars et al. There is a price for everything in the Frontier culture except on some basic Pashtunwali stuff, even which could be bent at times though rarely. They have often found imaginative and innovative reasons for hosting non-Pashtun elements. I am surprised PA officers feel the other way, especially with the 'Cultural Revolution' of the last decade that saw systematic extermination of the jirga elders and opponents of the Taliban in these badlands. Now, Pashtunwali has simply disappeared, having been replaced by strict Shariat of the Wahhabi/Deobandi variety.
In short they seem confident that they can hold the line having seen the worst, and that the internal jihadi threat will soon start to wane. They are surprisingly conscious of the limits in their ability to project power (perhaps more so than any point in their history of over-reaching), but also more willing than ever to play a spoiler role in Afghanistan.

They have always been acutely aware of their gross mis-match with India, and that was why they became opportunists and liars to gate-crash into big league or have the support of the big players through treaties etc. But the over-reach was always due to bravado, swagger and miscalculations. If they feel desperate, they will go for large-scale terrorism because they know they could not afford a war or a war could provoke India into a more robust response next time around.
The real weakness in these assumptions is the second point, that the anti-state jihad will quieten down and go away. The drone strikes will continue, and the sectarian wars within Pakistan will supply footsoldiers and supporters for those who attack the state over its relationship with the US, not to mention the opportunists looking to set up their own little emirates.

True. Even if the CIA drones cease flying, the Islamist trajectory will not stop its violence and its ultimate objectives in Pakistan. Intra & inter sectarian wars, treatment of minorities, call for Shariat and taking over Ummah leadership etc. will only grow as economy gets into a tailspin in the years ahead. If PA officers think that the 'good Taliban' and 'bad Taliban' are separate entities and have different worldviews, then they have begun to believe their own lies which is extremely dangerous.
The assumption that they can win lasting concessions from the Americans on the strength of the short term priority of orderly withdrawal is also perhaps a bit of optimism on their part.

Not just a bit of optimism, Johann. It is downright foolishness, IMO. History has shown that every Mut'aa marriage between Pakistan and the US ended in divorce after a passionate period. This time, there was not even passion in the affair. It was only threat, blackmail, demand from the US side while Pakistan, as usual, was cheating on its lover the whole time. But, as they say, another situation will arise, matters will be contrived and the marriage will resurrect. India has to slay the monster to end this charade.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 14 Jul 2013 21:38

SSridhar wrote:India has to slay the monster to end this charade.


That is the only solution to the Af-Pak knot. And US wants to keep the knot to threaten India without understanding the ramafications!

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Johann » 15 Jul 2013 15:32

They have always been acutely aware of their gross mis-match with India, and that was why they became opportunists and liars to gate-crash into big league or have the support of the big players through treaties etc. But the over-reach was always due to bravado, swagger and miscalculations. If they feel desperate, they will go for large-scale terrorism because they know they could not afford a war or a war could provoke India into a more robust response next time around.


It is certainly true that the Pakistanis have been much more realistic about their position vis a vis India since the crises of 2001-02, and perhaps even more so since the Mumbai massacre and the departure of Musharraf.

What I meant realism in terms of their freedom of action and power projection capacity in Afghanistan. They seem much less euphoric following the US withdrawal than the Soviet one. The Soviets didn't have the same leverage on the Pakistanis, and they don't really think that US is about to crumble away as a global power.

Even if the CIA drones cease flying, the Islamist trajectory will not stop its violence and its ultimate objectives in Pakistan. Intra & inter sectarian wars, treatment of minorities, call for Shariat and taking over Ummah leadership etc. will only grow as economy gets into a tailspin in the years ahead. If PA officers think that the 'good Taliban' and 'bad Taliban' are separate entities and have different worldviews, then they have begun to believe their own lies which is extremely dangerous.


It is clear that the state doesn't fear all of the groups that Pakistan's educated classes fear, even though those two sets of tanzeems have a common background and close relationships.

The PA seem to classify the LeJ's attacks on Shi'a as a law and order or civil society problem that requires just enough policing to keep the public happy, while TTP attacks on Pakistani forces are an anti-state national security problem. This is roughly analogous to the differences between the way they generally treat the MQM and the Balochi groups. The MQM was useful in blunting the PPP in Karachi, and the LeJ is useful in blunting the BLA in Balochistan.

Ultimately the PA is going to have to do something about the LeJ murdering spree or risk looking weak and losing legitimacy, something they care about very much. Unlike 1972-74 the Deobandi parties just don't have the electoral clout to get the Shi'a declared kafirs, and the JI and Barelvis aren't ready to line up with them. Perhaps if there's another 20 years of concentrated Saudi funding to all the Islamist groups conditional upon taking a sectarian position....

Johann, those were the days [the bolded part above] when the PA was involved in hand-to-hand fight with the 'bad Taliban'. The soldiers refused to fight disobeying orders, or wantonly surrendered or simply ran away. We know of police officers inserting ads in local newspapers that they were no longer policemen etc. After 2009, the PA is not involved in any such direct operation, except in South Waziristan where the TTP strategically backed off. Hence, IMO, it is premature for PA officers to feel elated that the rank-and-file have not been swayed by Deobandi clerics. Time will tell and that is not too far away; within a decade perhaps.


The PA has been directly engaged in clearing operations in the Tirah Valley for much of 2013, and in Kurram and Orakzai in 2011. The Tirah operations are why we've seen an upswing in TTP bombings this year.

Typically in the major operations the PA's conventional forces commanded by XI Corps will be involved in retaking towns and key features. The job of policing those gains then falls to the Frontier Corps, 'peace committees', SSG, PAF, etc, supplied and supported by the PA regulars presence. That's not particularly unusual for counter insurgencies.

The PA has been stuck out there (ie in all of the agencies and districts it conducted offensive operations) because without their physical presence all gains will be reversed. Something like a third of the PA's combat forces are now deployed on their western front. Especially in FATA the army has more or less replaced the previous administration by the tribal agencies political officers. This is in part why the PA now supports the integration of FATA with KP, and why it likes Imran Khan's call for dialogue with the TTP.

Despite the TTP's best efforts it has been unable to wholesale subvert the PA, or seriously undermine discipline even though the PA is completely embedded in these areas. In a historical perspective this isn't surprising - the British Indian Army was on the whole able to maintain the loyalty of both regular Muslim troops and local levies fighting tough battles in exactly the same areas and in the face of exactly the same enticements and denunciations from mullahs and tribal leaders proclaiming jihad and urging mutiny. They managed to maintain discipline on the whole fighting the Ottoman Empire in WWI despite the Caliph's call to jihad, which was endorsed by many Deobandi and Pashtun ulema. A sense of regimental honour, decent pay, pensions, and strong attentive officer leadership kept the men fighting. In the longer run what mattered was the fact that the colonial state had more coherence than its militant opponents. Pakistani troops have an additional layer of nationalist sentiment the support of the majority of their countrymen.

To me what is notable is not that the PA has shown more coherence than the TTP and gained in confidence after several years of frontier warfare. The TTP after all is just as often in ferociously violent internal feuds as fighting the PA. What is notable is the level of doubt and fear that was present in the PA's officer corps back in 2003, and even worse in 2008. The return to a pre-1947, colonial orientation towards frontier warfare and border policing was ideologically extremely uncomfortable because they weren't sure if they could carry the country as a whole with them. They've just about managed it (mostly thanks to the TTP's politically ham-handed use of extreme violence, and its even lower levels of governance than the Pakistani state). Non-Pashtun officers have managed to overcome much of their fear of counter insurgency in Pashtun areas, and the PA seems much less nervous of fighting groups operating under an Islamic banner, but they're very much hoping that with the Americans leaving they won't have to do all of this much longer. I think they're going to be disappointed, especially if they continue to rely on Deobandi groups to play spoiler in Afghanistan, and to fight internal threats like the Baluchis.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby sohamn » 16 Jul 2013 13:34

a very good article, Must read. I don't know if this was posted here before..

http://www.brookings.edu/research/essay ... an-india-c

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby SSridhar » 16 Jul 2013 15:50

sohamn wrote:a very good article, Must read. I don't know if this was posted here before..

http://www.brookings.edu/research/essay ... an-india-c

Oh, it is Dalrymple. Let us see what it says to understand how good it is. It buttresses the American view point that the Afghanistan issue defies a solution because India and Pakistan are at war on the Afghan soil.

It goes on to claim that 'It is easy to understand why Pakistan might feel insecure. India’s population (1.2 billion) and its economy (GDP of $1.4 trillion) are about eight times the size of Pakistan’s (180 million Pakistanis generating an annual GDP of only $210 billion). . . . it’s not surprising that many Pakistanis see their massive neighbor as threatening the very existence of their state.' Are these the reasons that Pakistan feels 'insecure' ? An all-knowing British Dalrymple is woefully, pathetically and deliberately short of presenting facts here.

He talks of J&K thus: With its large Muslim majority, Kashmir was an obvious candidate to join Pakistan. But the pro-Indian sympathies of both its Hindu maharajah and its pre-eminent Muslim politician, Sheikh Abdullah, as well as the Kashmiri origins of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, led to the state’s remaining part of India, which Pakistan has always regarded as unacceptable.

He claims: With covert British assistance in the form of an airlift involving British transport planes, :shock: Indian troops eventually drove back the Pashtun tribesmen.

Does anyone need a more solid proof than the above to questions the credentials of this guy ? This is so blatantly a falsehood that we do not even need to point out holes in the above.

He forgets history when he says that it was Pakistan that brought India & Afghanistan together: Mutual antipathy to Pakistan quickly brought India and Afghanistan together as natural allies. Nonsense.

Since the attempt here is to paint India as a villain in Afghanistan, he writes: In the years that followed, India and Afghanistan both attempted to destabilize Pakistan, giving aid and shelter to discontented Pashtun and Baluchi nationalists.

One thing struck me though, Karzai supposedly telling Dalrymple, "Some of our so-called allies—the British in particular—tell me the Pakistanis have changed." This shows the deep rooted conspiracy. While Dalrymple talks of the mendacity of the Pakistanis, his own government is privately telling Karzai of an opposite view !

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 16 Jul 2013 19:31

sohamn wrote:a very good article, Must read. I don't know if this was posted here before..

http://www.brookings.edu/research/essay ... an-india-c



Yes it was posted on the previous page. and led to some discussion.

viewtopic.php?p=1475585#p1475585

Anyway SS has critiqued it again.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Johann » 16 Jul 2013 20:34

SSridhar wrote:He claims: With covert British assistance in the form of an airlift involving British transport planes, :shock: Indian troops eventually drove back the Pashtun tribesmen.

Does anyone need a more solid proof than the above to questions the credentials of this guy ? This is so blatantly a falsehood that we do not even need to point out holes in the above.


Actually, I am curious about this.

From Jagan's work here < http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Histo ... kotas.html > it appears that No. 12 Sqn was able to expand beyond its initial strength of 10 C-47s during the airlift. Some of these were civilian registered Dakotas but it looks like the rest had military registrations. It would be interesting to know how they were procured - according to the table all but one had RAF ID numbers, except for one. I don't know if this is what Dalrymple is referring to. It doesn't sound completely implausible - Indian accounts have not criticised the conduct of the RIAF commander, Chief of Air Staff Sir Thomas Elmhirst during the war in the same way as some of the senior British Indian Army officers.

Jagan, can you shed some more light on this?

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 16 Jul 2013 20:51

Johann, No 12 squadron was the only transport squadron with full complement of planes, ten (10) at the begining of the war. Of this three(3) were lost. These were augmented with civilian Dakotas from the various airlines.

The Pak propaganda even in 1948 was that over a 100 Dakotas were used. This is because No 12 was so efficient and operated without fear or regard to safety they appeared to be more numerous than their paper strength. Read the huge number of Vir Chakras awarded (13/19 awarded to IAF) to the squadron for bravery and operating under fire.

Dalrymple is no historian but a Paki propagandu.
His point of view is colored by an imagined glory of his ancestoress from the Hyderabad Nizam's harem.
He is adding to the Paki practice of others being responsible for their failures.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 16 Jul 2013 21:16

BTW the Official history also records 100 planes landed in Sirnagr air field everyday. However they mean sorites for it says:



Only the impromptu airlift to Srinagar in October 1947 saved the Kashmir Valley. A hundred planes landed every day on the improvised airfield at Srinagar, bringing in troops, ammunition and supplies and evacuating casualties and the refugees. The RIAF and civilian pilots of these Dakotas defied the mountains, the weather, and fatigue, to continue the airlift till the Valley was saved. Giving invaluable support to these were the fearless fighter pilots who accurately and repeatedly attacked vital enemy positions at Gurais, Zoji La, Pindras and Rajouri. Apart from the men in uniform, civilians played a crucial role in liberating the Valley. The dedication and skill of the civilian pilots who flew to Srinagar in October 1947 was no less than their counterparts in the RIAF.


and

Transport planes took care of the supply of troops, equipment and ration. Interestingly, apart from three RIAF planes, 33 civil Dakotas were used in these sorties. Many of them even did a double trip to Srinagar on a single day - a tribute to the morale of the pilots and crew. By November 6th, the critical phase for Srinagar was over.


So 3+33 planes doing 2-3 sorties a day easily make it 100 sorties a day into Srinagar airfield. From 24Oct thru 6 Nov 1947.

Link:

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/LAND-FORC ... shmir.html

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 16 Jul 2013 21:19

And for ref:

IAF prespective

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Johann » 16 Jul 2013 21:37

Hi Ramana,

Jagan's table on the BR page lists 17 Dakotas with military serial numbers used in the airlift.

You've listed a source with 33 civilian Daktoas pressed into service.

I'm not so much interested in the claims of Pakistani propaganda (100 a/c, etc) as the origin of these aircraft (who was operating these airlines?), especially the extra 7 military Dakotas.

That's the only way to evaluate Dalrymple's suggestion that British authorities in India at the time chose to quietly assist the airlift.

There were a lot of conflicting agendas and personalities at the time - it doesn't seem utterly impossible off the bat on the basis of politics. I'd rather look at the known details of the airlift.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby abhishek_sharma » 17 Jul 2013 05:13


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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby SSridhar » 17 Jul 2013 07:55

On the issue of the Dakotas, I had posted about four years back in the J&K thread the following piece:
There are various accounts that all dakotas that landed at Delhi were commandeered for this purpose. The nomenclature of Civilian or RIAF could have been according to where they took off from or who piloted them etc. Kuldip Singh bajwa says in his book, "Jammu and Kashmir War -1947-48" that "28 sorties were flown on Oct 27 itself" though the RIAF could muster only 4 Dakota a/c immediately but all civilian a/c based at Delhi or landing there were taken over by RIAF with 'unstinted response from the airlines and the civilian crew'. He goes on to say that 'thirty Dakotas were soon gathered and 50 to 60 sorties were flown each day'. Mountbatten had said later that in all his extensive experience as Supreme Allied Commander in SE Asia during WW II, he had not seen an airlift of this magnitude being successfully undertaken with such slender resources, and at such short notice.


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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Samudragupta » 19 Jul 2013 11:40

http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/arti ... w-pakistan


Strategic Posture Review: Pakistan

Given domestic economic weaknesses, security competition with India and an antagonistic relationship with Afghanistan, Pakistan has traditionally sought external alliances with strong powers and pursued an offensive security policy. Nevertheless, there has been a dawning realization in Islamabad that a new approach is necessary, and as a result, Pakistan’s foreign and defense policies are undergoing important transformations, including a normalization of relations with neighbors and a renewed focus on domestic security threats.

With a low growth rate, high inflation, budget deficits and unsustainable debt, economic weakness is the single biggest challenge for Pakistan. A major energy shortage, which both results from limited economic development and causes further economic losses, is another pressing problem. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s primary security threats now come from unconventional actors, such as insurgent and terrorist groups, who form a motley crew of tribal rebels, criminal groups and national and transnational Islamist militants. By extension, then, radicalization and extremism remain real risks within Pakistan. To a lesser extent, India also poses a security threat with the modernization and expansion of its nuclear capabilities, its Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) and its support for nationalist separatist forces within Pakistan.

Pakistan also has several opportunities that could be catalysts for growth and stabilization. First, its geostrategic location makes it a key land route linking Central and South Asia while offering China and landlocked Central Asia access to the Arabian Sea for maritime trade. A second opportunity is the growth in telecommunications in Pakistan and its contribution to commerce and the strengthening of civil society. While Internet connectivity has steadily increased, it remains limited to 9 percent of Pakistanis. By contrast, cellphone usage has doubled since 2006 to 62 percent. Finally, there is a shared interest among the world’s leading powers in ensuring Pakistan’s stability, which Islamabad can leverage to seek assistance with economic development.

Foreign Policy

Over its 67-year history, Pakistan’s foreign policy has undergone several significant and diametric shifts. From the beginning, Pakistani leaders sought great-power alliances to cope with domestic economic and infrastructural weakness and to provide security guarantees against its hostile neighbors, India and Afghanistan. Though Pakistan briefly flirted with the Soviet Union soon after independence, its orientation quickly became pro-Western when it joined the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization in 1954 and the Central Treaty Organization in 1955, embracing Washington’s anti-communist sphere of influence in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Simultaneously, however, Pakistani leaders also developed strong relations with communist China, despite Beijing’s international isolation at the time. This alliance helped Pakistan balance Indian power and also assured China’s support for Pakistan at the U.N. Security Council in the Kashmir dispute. With the restoration of civilian rule in 1971, Pakistan’s foreign policy shifted again, prioritizing nonalignment and bolstering pan-Islamic relations. While Pakistan remained officially nonaligned during the 1980s, it entered into an informal alliance with the U.S. to become the frontline state in efforts to expel Soviet forces from Afghanistan.

During the 1990s this posture evolved into Pakistan’s strategic depth policy, which aimed at installing the Taliban in Kabul as a client regime, denying India its historic alliance with Afghanistan and bringing Kabul under Pakistan’s influence. This policy was, of course, forcibly reversed after 9/11, when the U.S. recruited Pakistan as a critical partner in the global war on terror. Pakistan’s foreign policy then became focused on fighting al-Qaida and bolstering relations with the U.S. In the mid-2000s, while Pakistan’s foreign relations were dominated by the war on terror, another foreign policy doctrine, known as Vision East Asia (VEA), emerged, parts of which had been in effect since the mid-1990s. VEA focused on “economic diplomacy” (.pdf), with the objective of forging strong economic, cultural and security ties with countries of East and Southeast Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand.

A Regional Pivot

Since 2009, Pakistani policymakers have increasingly focused on the pursuit of economic diplomacy in South and Central Asia. Described by its architects as “Pakistan’s Regional Pivot,” the policy has four major objectives: normalization of political relations with India and Afghanistan, increased trade with India, access to Central Asian energy sources, and making Pakistan a land-bridge for trade and energy transportation from Central to South Asia.

India. Improving ties with India is a key pillar of the new policy and has support within Pakistan’s civilian and military establishments as well as the country’s major political parties. Since 2011 there has been an unparalleled focus in Islamabad on de-escalating tensions with New Delhi. In 2012 alone, a dozen visits took place between various Indian and Pakistani government officials, including three rounds of dialogue between parliamentarians (.pdf), reviving the dialogue process India had suspended after the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. Pakistani leaders want to make progress with India in several areas, including trade, travel, communications, water-sharing and energy cooperation.

Pakistan’s economic objectives regarding India include increasing direct bilateral trade, as opposed to relying on indirect transactions through Dubai or Singapore, as is often the case today. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, in fiscal year 2011-2012 bilateral trade between India and Pakistan stood at $1.65 billion. Both countries aim to increase this to $6 billion by 2015. Moreover, Pakistan is seeking the reduction of Indian nontariff barriers on Pakistani goods and permission to invest directly in India. The Pakistani government is also trying to finalize the granting to India of most-favored nation status, an initiative that, although opposed by Pakistan’s agricultural lobby, finds support within the business community.

Easing travel restrictions to boost cross-border trade and increase cultural contacts between Indians and Pakistanis is another major goal. A new visa agreement signed in 2012 was a first step in this direction. Moreover, Pakistani leaders are keen to cooperate with India on energy trade, for example through the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline and petroleum imports from India.

Despite this evidence of slow improvement in India-Pakistan ties, progress remains elusive on four major issues: resolution of the Kashmir conflict, Pakistani opposition to Indian damming and development projects on the Indus River, demilitarization of the Siachen Glacier and the Sir Creek dispute. Given the centrality of security to Indo-Pakistani relations, the failure to resolve these issues leaves the rapprochement on weak ground and vulnerable to collapse, as highlighted by recent tensions in the aftermath of skirmishes at the Kashmir border.

Afghanistan. The second-most important country in Pakistan’s regional strategic calculus is Afghanistan, where Islamabad seeks to achieve at least four major objectives. First, Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders do not want Afghanistan to plunge into another civil war. Such an outcome would exacerbate Pakistan’s Afghan refugee crisis. It would also force Pakistan to invest resources in backing the Afghan Taliban, hence distracting it from fighting anti-Pakistan militants. And it would potentially strengthen the Pakistani Taliban, some of whom are hostile to Islamabad.

Second, and notwithstanding the first objective, Pakistan wants to prevent a long-term American presence (.pdf) in Afghanistan, especially in light of the deepening partnership between the U.S. and India, which Islamabad fears could undermine its own security. Third, the Pakistani military also wants to limit India’s military presence in Afghanistan, which it claims New Delhi uses for espionage and covert support to Baluch separatists. And fourth, Islamabad wants its Taliban and non-Taliban Pashtun allies to have greater representation in the Afghan government. To achieve these objectives Pakistan has long advocated a negotiated settlement of the Afghan crisis, and Pakistani officials have increasingly emphasized the importance of a “responsible transition” of U.S. and NATO forces out of the country.

Lately Islamabad has sought to improve ties with Kabul and has committed to playing a more productive role in the stymied negotiation process through, for example, the release of Taliban leaders it has periodically arrested. In early 2012 it also allowed former Taliban diplomats living in Pakistan to relocate with their families to Doha, where the Taliban have a political office. Furthermore, Islamabad’s ambassador in Kabul has been pursuing dialogue with members of Afghanistan’s northern parties, many of which are antagonistic toward Pakistan. These are perhaps important signs of Pakistan’s desire to build trust among Afghanistan’s various stakeholders. The impact of these policies remains to be seen, however. Pakistan can hardly guarantee progress on talks with the Taliban, while many in Afghanistan’s north remain unsure of both whom to trust in Pakistan and the extent of civilian control over policy.

Central Asia. In the context of the regional pivot, Pakistan’s priorities in Central Asia are similar to what they were in the 1990s: gaining access to energy resources, positioning itself as a corridor for energy transport into South Asia, and increasing commercial trade. Central to the latter goal is Islamabad’s desire to extend the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement to Central Asian countries, in the hopes of connecting them to international markets through Pakistan’s ports. In recent years energy trade has received significantly more attention in the form of the TAPI and the Central Asia South Asia Regional Electricity Trade Project, known as CASA 1000, through which Pakistan seeks to import Turkmen gas and Kyrgyz and Tajik electricity respectively.

Some former officials and observers of regional politics agree that many of these regional trade and energy goals face severe obstacles, including security and governance issues in Afghanistan and Turkmenistan’s own production capacity challenges. Similarly, there is currently no focused investment and development policy in place to make Pakistan a transit corridor for energy into South Asia. In short, Pakistan’s Central Asian objectives are long-term and will not come to fruition soon.

Key Bilateral Relationships

Six countries that figure prominently in Pakistan’s foreign policy are China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and the U.S.

China. China is Pakistan’s closest international ally, with one Chinese diplomat having described Pakistan as “our Israel.” China-Pakistan relations span the political, economic, security and energy sectors. For example, China has historically supported Pakistan’s position on the Kashmir dispute, and Pakistan played a critical role in U.S. President Richard Nixon’s “opening” to China in 1971. In 2008, Pakistan and China signed a comprehensive free trade agreement, which strengthened trade relations. China is now Pakistan’s second-largest trading partner, with bilateral trade in fiscal year 2011-2012 standing at $8 billion, and also an important source of foreign direct investment. Since 2000, China’s net investment in Pakistan has reached $860 million, though this is still only a fraction of U.S. investment in Pakistan. China’s most notable project in Pakistan is the Gwadar port, which it now operates after having invested almost $200 million. China has helped develop other infrastructural projects as well, including highways and power generation plants.

China-Pakistan defense cooperation has included China providing equipment, technology and technical expertise to develop Pakistan’s nuclear program, and helping Pakistan develop medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs). Pakistan and China are also currently producing the JF-17 fighter jet and cooperating on civil nuclear technology.

The relationship does, however, have its limits and tensions. While balancing Indian power was traditionally a major objective of the partnership, China now prioritizes stability in South Asia. As a result, Beijing is now taking a more impartial stance on Kashmir and sees peace between India and Pakistan as being in its interest. Moreover, China is troubled by the safe havens that Uighur militants have enjoyed in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), as well as by the killing and kidnapping of Chinese workers in Pakistan. In both instances Chinese leaders have publicly told Pakistan to tackle the problem of Islamist militancy.

Japan. Japan is Pakistan’s other strong partner in East Asia, with the relationship dating to 1948, when the two signed a trade agreement. Pakistan was one of Japan’s largest trading partners during the 1950s and a major recipient of Japanese aid in the 1960s, which helped infrastructural and economic development projects. Though Japan enacted sanctions against Pakistan in 1998 after Islamabad’s nuclear test, from 2002 onward relations normalized again. Bilateral trade between the two was roughly $2 billion in fiscal year 2011-2012. Japan has also invested approximately $500 million in Pakistan since 2000, and carried out infrastructural development projects, such as the Indus Highway and Kohat Tunnel projects. Finally, Japan has again become an important source of foreign aid, having given almost $2.8 billion (.pdf) between 2000 and 2010, while also hosting international donor conferences for Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia. Within the Islamic world, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey have been important partners for Pakistan. With Saudi Arabia, ties are partly defined by a strong religious bond, as the kingdom is home to two of Islam’s holiest sites. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have traditionally been aligned on security issues, especially in Afghanistan, where both supported the Afghan mujahedeen against the Soviets and then the Taliban in the civil war that followed the Soviet withdrawal. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia was Pakistan’s third-largest trading partner in fiscal year 2011-2012 as well as a major net investor.

Nevertheless, ties have at times been complicated. Last year Riyadh turned down Islamabad’s request for oil on long-term credit. Simultaneously, Indian-Saudi cooperation has increased. Moreover, in its regional competition with Iran, Saudi Arabia has stoked the sectarian fire in Pakistan through its financial support for extremists and anti-Shiite militant groups. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia remains concerned by militancy in Pakistan, especially the presence of al-Qaida and its affiliates.

United Arab Emirates. Pakistan’s relations with the UAE are dominated by economic considerations. With a trade volume of $8.9 billion, the UAE was Pakistan’s largest trade partner in fiscal year 2011-2012, as well as an important investor. The Emirates are also home to more than 1 million Pakistanis, almost all of whom are migrant workers. Their presence there reduces employment pressures on Pakistan and also makes the UAE a leading source of remittances to Pakistan.

Turkey. Pakistan-Turkey relations date back to the Central Asian Treaty Organization. The two countries have also had close economic cooperation under the Economic Cooperation Organization and enjoy strong military coordination. Despite this, according a former Pakistani diplomat, Turkey has been uncomfortable with Pakistan’s support for Islamists, and both countries compete for influence in Central Asia. Nevertheless, Turkey has increasingly figured in Pakistan’s list of regional pivot countries, and both have been cooperating to improve Pakistan-Afghanistan relations and help reconciliation efforts with the Taliban.

United States. Pakistan’s relationship with the United States, however turbulent, remains key to its foreign policy. The U.S. is an important trade partner, the largest export market for Pakistan’s goods, and the country’s biggest foreign investor. In 2012 U.S.-Pakistan trade stood at $5.2 billion. The U.S. is, of course, also a major aid donor, having given roughly $6.9 billion in military aid and $7.8 billion in economic assistance since 2002. In addition, Pakistan has received nearly $10 billion in Coalition Support Funds for its role in the war on terror. Finally, the U.S. is also Pakistan’s leading supplier of military hardware.

U.S.-Pakistan relations are now at a critical juncture. In the short term, both sides are focused on the transition in Afghanistan, with Pakistan wanting the U.S. to withdraw having left a political settlement in place. In the context of the withdrawal, Pakistan is important to the U.S. for helping deliver political buy-in from the Taliban and also for logistical reasons. Furthermore, a total break in relations beyond 2014 seems unlikely. With a reduced force in Afghanistan, the U.S. will remain dependent on Pakistan to continue the fight against al-Qaida. Moreover, Washington’s strategic pivot to Asia and growing partnership with India will keep stability in South-Central Asia relevant to U.S. regional policy. Nevertheless, questions abound about the future of U.S. aid and military assistance to Pakistan.

In addition to these countries, Pakistan also enjoys strong relations with the United Kingdom and several European countries, especially Germany and France.

Transformations in Foreign Policy

In recent years Pakistan’s traditional foreign policy positions have undergone important changes with regard to three countries: India, Afghanistan and Russia.

India. With regard to India, Pakistan’s Kashmir policy has changed significantly and is drastically different today than at the beginning of the millennium. First, since 2002 Pakistan has suspended its sponsorship of an insurgency in Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir. Second, peace plans offered by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf between 2004 and 2006, which ranged from the redrawing of borders to demilitarization and mutual administration, illustrated Pakistan’s willingness not only to abandon its historical claims to all regions of Kashmir, but also to negotiate bilaterally rather than through the U.N., as it had previously wanted. Finally, since 2008 Pakistani leaders have tacitly agreed to delink talks on Kashmir from the broader normalization process, thus giving up on the long-held “Kashmir first” policy, under which Pakistan maintained that no issue could be resolved without first resolving the Kashmir dispute. Notably, in 2008 President Asif Ali Zardari declared that the “Kashmir issue should be left aside for future generations to solve.” Since then bilateral dialogue has focused on all issues but Kashmir.

Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, subtle policy changes have also come about. First, the concept of strategic depth in its 1990s form has been retired. Islamabad no longer wants the Taliban to control Kabul, but instead seeks a political accommodation through which Pakistan can count on allies within the Afghan government. Second, Islamabad wants to normalize relations with groups in Afghanistan’s north to strengthen the prospects of stability. Third, Pakistan is also ready to tolerate a limited Indian role in Afghanistan focused on trade and development.

Russia. Finally, after a troubled and hostile relationship through much of the Cold War, Islamabad has also begun a rapprochement with Moscow. Notwithstanding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s cancellation of a trip to Pakistan in 2012, several high-level bilateral visits took place between Russia and Pakistan in 2012. Zardari and Army Chief of Staff Ashfaq Kayani visited Russia separately, while a high-level Russian delegation led by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov traveled to Islamabad.

The thaw in relations is a product of geopolitical and economic factors. Russia wants a larger political and economic role in South Asia and also sees Pakistan as essential to stability in Central Asia. For Pakistan, Russia is an alternative to the U.S. for its defense needs. For example, Russia will provide RD-93 engines for JF-17 fighter jets to Pakistan, and joint military exercises have also been discussed. Moreover, Pakistan wants Russia’s assistance in infrastructural development, especially in expanding the Pakistan Steel Mills, which the Soviet Union helped establish, and improvement in its railways. Finally, energy politics is also a driver of closer ties. Islamabad wants Moscow’s assistance in coal mining projects, while Russia’s Gazprom has sought a financial role in the Iran-Pakistan and TAPI pipelines. Such projects would increase Russian influence in South Asia and make Pakistan central to Russia’s regional energy trade.

Defense Policy

The Pakistan armed forces remain the strongest state institution in Pakistan, and in addition to dominating national security, they exert control on key foreign and domestic policy issues. Pakistan’s traditional military posture has been conventional and India-focused. Over the past decade, however, the ability to meet unconventional threats has gained prominence.

Hard Power Capabilities. With 642,000 active duty personnel, Pakistan’s military ranks as the 11th-largest in the world, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IISS) “2012 Military Balance” report. The report also highlights other key statistics that illustrate Pakistan’s hard-power capabilities. Pakistan’s fast-expanding nuclear arsenal includes 100 warheads and 60 strategic missiles, including the “Ghaznavi” Hatf-3 and “Shaheen-1” Hatf-4 short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and “Ghauri” Hatf-5 and “Shaheen-2” Hatf-6 MRBMs. Pakistan has more than 100 tactical SRBMs with a range of up to 312 miles, while its MRBMs have a range of at least 932 miles. In 2012 Pakistan successfully tested the “Babur” Hatf-7 land-attack cruise missile and developed the Hatf-8 air-launched cruise missile, both capable of carrying nuclear and conventional weapons. It is now developing similar undersea capabilities.

Pakistan’s air force, equipped with 454 combat-capable aircraft, including F-16s and JF-17 Thunder multirole fighters, is now modernizing, with an increasing focus on improving precision strike and intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities. Pakistan has also developed an unmanned aerial vehicle for surveillance purposes, though it claims it currently lacks strike capabilities. Pakistan’s navy, though slow to modernize, increasingly boasts impressive hardware, which includes eight tactical submarines and at least four P-3C Orion aircraft that can be used in anti-submarine warfare. Pakistan is said to be building a nuclear submarine in response to India’s Arihant.

Furthermore, in 2011 Pakistan jointly conducted at least six major military exercises, three of which it hosted, with various countries, including China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The exercises focused on counterterrorism, air interoperability, anti-submarine warfare and low-intensity combat capabilities, among others.

Arms acquisition and intensification of defense capabilities are major goals for Pakistan. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), between 2001 and 2011 Pakistan purchased major conventional weapons worth $9.7 billion. Aircraft made up half that amount, followed by ships, missiles and armored vehicles. Moreover, according to the IISS, in 2010 Pakistan was one of the top three recipients of arms among developing countries, with a value of $2.2 billion.

Pakistan’s defense expenditures have traditionally been high in an attempt to close the gap in military capabilities with India. According to SIPRI, Pakistan ranked as the 33rd-highest defense spender in the world in 2012, despite being a low middle-income country. According to the IISS, in 2010-2011 Pakistan had the second-largest share of South Asia’s defense expenditure, though its budget was still one-sixth of India’s, which accounts for 78 percent of regional defense spending. In fiscal year 2012-2013, Pakistan’s defense budget was $5.6 billion, roughly 19 percent of the central government’s total budget. Despite the high defense spending, however, as World Bank data illustrates, Pakistan’s military expenditure as a percentage of GDP has been steadily decreasing since 2003, falling from 4.2 percent then to 3 percent in 2011.

Pakistan’s forces are primarily deployed on its eastern front. Nevertheless, over the past decade a significant portion of the armed forces has been redeployed to the west to fight al-Qaida and the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistan maintains a force of nearly 150,000 in FATA, which includes around 100,000 army and 50,000 Frontier Corps paramilitary personnel. Pakistan has also decided to create light commando battalions to aid the military in counterinsurgency efforts.

Conventional Doctrines. Pakistan’s military is primarily a conventional force trained to counter threats on its eastern front. Its conventional doctrine is informed by the reality that Pakistan’s major cities, industrial centers and lines of communication are located near India, and the need to defend a long and penetrable border from invasion. Pakistan’s defense strategies have included maintaining strategic deterrence against an Indian attack through a large force on the eastern border, relying on the concept of offensive defense and attempting to gain the first mover’s advantage, as well as arming and training insurgents.

Despite the military’s increasing focus on counterinsurgency, the ability to meet conventional threats from India has remained important. In recent years the Pakistani military undertook a set of exercises known as Azm-e-Nau III to respond to India’s Cold Start Doctrine (.pdf). The CSD envisions a rapid Indian response to a terrorist attack from Pakistani soil in which the Indian military will invade up to 50 miles of Pakistani territory, and within 72 to 96 hours use eight integrated battle groups, with air and naval support, to fix the Pakistani military through simultaneous tactical maneuvers in major cities, while destroying its northern and southern army reserve corps. India will then use the territorial gains to extract concessions from Pakistan.

In response, Pakistan’s Azm-e-Nau III exercises have featured anti-tank battalions that use dispersal tactics to rapidly regain occupied territory. Moreover, Pakistan has also tested a Hatf-4 SRBM, a high-accuracy tactical nuclear weapon with a 37-mile range that can target brigades and divisions attempting to move into Pakistani territory. Despite these developments, it is unclear how seriously Pakistan takes the CSD, since it was not put into effect after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and Pakistan’s own response was validated only in 2010, six years after CSD emerged.

Nuclear Doctrine. Since 1998, Pakistan has also had to define its nuclear doctrine and create a command and control system to ensure weapons safety. According to Brig. Feroz Khan, a former official of the Nuclear Command Authority and Bhumitra Chakma, an expert on South Asia’s nuclear weapons, Islamabad’s nuclear doctrine, which emerged slowly, is India-focused and based on four major principles: minimum credible deterrence, nuclear first use, massive retaliation and counter-value targeting.

Given its inability to match India’s conventional capabilities, Pakistan views nuclear weapons as an equalizer. Nevertheless, Pakistani leaders have often clarified that even within the nuclear realm Pakistan does not seek parity with India, but aims to maintain a minimum nuclear deterrence. How this concept is operationalized, however, remains unclear. Furthermore, Pakistan has traditionally listed four major Indian moves that could propel it to use its nuclear weapons: an Indian invasion, sizable destruction of Pakistan’s armed forces, political destabilization and economic strangulation. Beyond this, however, Pakistan’s “red-line risks” remain ambiguous.

Proliferation and the safety of nuclear weapons are major concerns associated with Pakistan’s nuclear program. Since 2000 the Nuclear Command Authority, composed of chief civilian and military leaders, has been responsible for decision-making on the program’s policy, planning, procurement and use. It was not until 1999, however, that Pakistan developed a command-and-control system through the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) that brought bureaucratic oversight and control over the program. The ability of Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan to proliferate nuclear technology has been attributed to this lack of oversight. In the aftermath of the Khan fiasco, Pakistan revised its export control laws. Furthermore, the SPD made two major reforms to buttress security: using assessment tools, such as Personnel and Human Reliability Programs, to screen personnel, and creating a security force with an intelligence unit to counter assaults, espionage and other threats against nuclear installations and weapons.

Counterinsurgency Doctrine. Over the past decade the Pakistani army has had to bring about fundamental doctrinal and capability changes to contend with the growing threat of irregular warfare. In 2013 these doctrinal evolutions became official. In its new “Green Book,” the army described internal threats as Pakistan’s greatest security risk, displacing India for the first time. Pakistan’s operational priorities have also changed, with an emphasis on tackling guerrilla warfare and sub-conventional threats, including the Pakistani Taliban insurgency and terrorist attacks in Pakistani cities.

The Pakistani army is no stranger to guerrilla warfare, having sponsored and countered multiple insurgencies. Yet until recently it lacked a counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine and traditionally relied on coercive tactics against rebels and civilians alike. Therefore, when it entered the mountainous tribal areas in 2004 to fight against al-Qaida and local Pashtun Taliban, it lacked the strategy, training and equipment to succeed. This resulted in battlefield losses, low troop morale and instances of soldiers surrendering to the Taliban. Moreover, use of heavy firepower and human rights abuses, such as collective punishment of tribes, alienated locals. This, coupled with popular opposition in Pakistan to such operations, resulted in the military signing several failed peace agreements with the Pakistani Taliban and withdrawing from the areas in which they operated.

As Haider Mullick explains, beginning in late-2008 during operations in Bajaur Agency, changes emerged in Pakistan’s COIN strategy. The new approach aimed at increasing collaboration with pro-government local tribes, elder councils and militias, and incorporated “hold” and “build” elements of COIN doctrine. After clearing operations, the military created small bases in civilian areas, enforced curfews and helped the local government regain power and legitimacy. Swat district, where the Pakistani army defeated the Taliban after two major operations in 2009, became the publicized model of this approach.

While Pakistan’s COIN strategy is the outcome of a “learning by doing” (.pdf) approach, in 2009 the army also began institutionalizing COIN training in its academies. U.S. military trainers have also been conducting training inside Pakistan. From 2009 onward, the military has launched operations in South Waziristan, Mohmand, Orakzai and the Kurram agencies of FATA. While Bajaur and Mohmand have been officially declared “clear” of militants, fighting continues in the remaining agencies of FATA, with particularly intense clashes in Kurram and Orakzai.

Strategic Priorities

In the mid-to-long term, Pakistan’s strategic priorities will include establishing domestic security, ensuring regional security and accessing energy resources.

With the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan in 2014, the major question facing Pakistan is whether it will continue COIN operations in FATA or cut a deal with the Pakistani Taliban. Despite offers of peace talks by the militants and some political parties’ support for negotiations, it presently seems unlikely that the military will negotiate peace. Its silence amid the recent clamoring on the issue is telling. Defeating al-Qaida and the Pakistani Taliban is a national security priority for the army, and it seems prepared for the long war. Nevertheless, Pakistan’s war will remain selective, and groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and most sectarian outfits will not be targeted. Moreover, low-intensity COIN operations will also continue against Baluch separatists.

While the military has continued to improve its counterinsurgency capabilities, Pakistan still lacks a national counterterror strategy and requisite improvements in its civilian law-enforcement capabilities. Pakistan must also improve its militant deradicalization programs (.pdf) and create a national counterradicalization strategy and disengagement programs.

Afghanistan is the other major strategic priority for Pakistan. Like all countries in the region, Pakistan’s principal goal is to avoid an outcome through which Afghanistan becomes a security threat. Despite Islamabad’s avowed noninterference (.pdf), it has already vigorously maneuvered so that its interests are not ignored. Moreover, it has also stressed the importance of an “intra-Afghan” dialogue process, hoping that American influence on Afghan leaders’ decision-making is limited. Barring radical changes, in the short term Pakistan will remain focused on delivering the Afghan Taliban to negotiations and ensuring that the process, still in its latent phase in Qatar, is sustained, with the medium-term goal of its Taliban and non-Taliban Pashtun allies gaining greater political representation in Kabul.

The search for energy resources has quickly become a major strategic priority for Pakistan. According to a recent study, at least 48 percent of Pakistanis cannot access electricity regularly. Massive power cuts have also adversely impacted the economy. In fiscal year 2011-2012, natural gas and energy shortages limited GDP growth by 2-4 percent, halving actual growth. Pakistan is pursuing the CASA 1000 project to cheaply access electricity and remains committed to building the TAPI and Iran-Pakistan oil and natural gas pipeline. While the Central Asian projects face uncertainties, Pakistan has moved forward on the Iranian front despite opposition from the U.S. and India’s retreat from the project. Construction of the $7.5 billion pipeline, which is due to begin functioning by December 2014, was officially inaugurated on March 11. China is partially financing the project through a $1 billion loan.

In addition to these areas of principal strategic focus, three other issues are key to Pakistan’s vital national interests. Primary among them is maintaining a credible minimum nuclear deterrence against India. Pakistan sees this as the optimal defense against India’s growing conventional and nuclear capabilities. Thus, Pakistan is making technological advancements through the induction of ballistic and cruise missiles and developing a second-strike capability. Nevertheless, it is unclear if Pakistan also interprets credible deterrence in terms of a static number of nuclear weapons, and if so, what the optimal size is.

Uninterrupted access to the Indus waters is also a vital national interest. India has launched various dam and development projects currently underway on the Indus River, such as the Wuller Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project, and the Kishenganga and Nimoo-Bazgo power projects, which Pakistan opposes. As a lower riparian, Pakistan fears that India will divert waters through these projects, which Islamabad claims violate the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). Pakistan will continue to challenge Indian projects on the Indus that Islamabad deems threatening to Pakistani water security. Nevertheless, such disputes have always been resolved peacefully through the multitiered dispute-resolution mechanisms created by the IWT, and there is no indication that Pakistan will resort to force to seek a settlement.

Finally, beyond traditional and evolving strategic priorities, stabilizing the economy and managing external debt are two areas critical for Pakistan’s viability, but they lack serious policy attention. Since 2008, when Pakistan’s growth rate hit an abysmally low 1.6 percent, Pakistan has grown at an average rate of 3.6 percent up until fiscal year 2011-2012, and is expected to grow at around 3.2 percent in the current fiscal year. This is nearly half the growth rate registered between 2003 and 2007. Furthermore, many Pakistanis continue to face joblessness. Even according to official figures, the unemployment rate was 6 percent in 2011. Simultaneously, rising prices have crippled the average Pakistani consumer. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Pakistan’s current inflation rate is around 8 percent.

Furthermore, Pakistan also faces a severe budget deficit that has been worsening since 2009 and for fiscal year 2011-2012 stood at 8.5 percent of GDP, twice the target. As Akbar Zaidi, a leading Pakistani political economist explained (.pdf), Pakistan’s expenditures are continually in excess of its revenue, primarily due to Pakistan’s low tax-to-GDP ratio of 10 percent -- 5 percentage points below the International Monetary Fund’s guidelines. To make up for this deficit the government borrows from foreign and domestic sources, with the net result being lack of revenue for development and unsustainable debt.

The problem of external debt, which stands at $60 billion, is now heightened by falling reserves resulting from declining capital inflows and foreign direct investment. In January 2013 Pakistan had only $9 billion remaining in its foreign exchange reserves. With a $1.3 billion debt repayment due soon, a balance of payments crisis is looming. There is a high likelihood now of Pakistan returning to the IMF for a new loan package for the second time in five years.

Economic policy planning, which according to many observers was nearly absent under the Pakistan People Party-led government, will be a major challenge for Pakistan’s next government. One interviewee close to military circles explained that the military remained very concerned about the economy, thus the impetus to make progress may be especially high now.

Conclusion

Pakistan’s foreign policy has traditionally been defined by its security competition with India. This competition has in turn determined alliances and caused policymakers to prioritize defense over other national priorities. It has also meant that Pakistan’s foreign relations were not governed by a singular commitment to an ideological bloc or country, a trend that persists today.

In the past few years Pakistan’s foreign policy goals and security objectives have changed slowly but crucially, and the causes are multiple: changing regional geopolitical realities, economic needs, desire to limit dependence on the U.S. and power transitions in the international system that have altered the raison d’être of Pakistan’s traditional alliances. Global stakeholders must closely watch Pakistan’s evolving strategic priorities, especially because policy transformations can generate confusion and uncertainty, and increase the problem of miscalculation.

These transformations in Pakistan’s foreign policy will most likely continue even if the PPP does not return to power in 2013. Most interviewees agreed that there is an increasing realization in Pakistan that its approach toward its neighbors has to change. The regional pivot policy enjoys support from Pakistan’s mainstream parties, especially with regard to India, with whom all favor increased trade and political normalization.

Pakistan’s military is also in a period of transformation imposed by the demands of the battlefield. As an institution, its focus will likely remain on increased professionalization, which includes allowing for greater civilian control. On the security front, Pakistan will continue to modernize its nuclear and conventional capabilities, while simultaneously enhancing its ability to combat insurgent and terrorist threats. The shape of Pakistan’s endgame in the tribal areas, however, is unclear.

With the increasing consolidation of democratic rule and major policy changes in Pakistan, several questions arise. Primarily, will changes in approach translate into long-term changes in actions? Will there be greater shifts in Pakistan’s foreign policy decision-making centers? Will democratically elected representatives gain greater control over national security matters? And if so, will these transitions result from conflict or cooperation between Pakistan’s military and civilian establishments?

The answers to these questions will help determine the future course of Pakistan’s strategic policy making in the years to come.
Last edited by ramana on 22 Jul 2013 20:14, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added Link from Internet. ramana

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby SSridhar » 19 Jul 2013 12:19

Samudragupta, who wrote the above appreciation of Pakistan ? Link please. TIA

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Samudragupta » 19 Jul 2013 12:29


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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby abhishek_sharma » 20 Jul 2013 07:15


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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby SSridhar » 20 Jul 2013 07:47

US Cannot Defeat Al Qaeda Without Pakistani Support: Gen. Dempsey - Business Line
A top American General has said that the US cannot defeat al-Qaeda without the support of Pakistan, as he underlined that Islamabad’s co-operation on counter-terrorism issues have not been on the expected lines.

“Our strategic and national security goals remain to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda and to prevent the return of safe havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This would not be possible without Pakistani support,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said in a written reply to the questions by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We also have an interest in a stable Pakistan and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. On the security front, we have a more limited relationship than in the past, but I believe it is a pragmatic and constructive approach,” said Dempsey, who has been re-nominated by President Barack Obama for the same post.

“Pakistan’s cooperation on counter-terrorism has not always met our expectations. Since 2009, Pakistan has undertaken counter-insurgency operations against extremist organisations in the northwest, including Swat, North and South Waziristan, Mohmand, and Bajaur with mixed results,” he said when asked about the co-operation being received by Pakistan on counter-terrorism issues.

“Security assistance, Coalition Support Fund reimbursements, and cross-border coordination with ISAF and Afghan forces have helped enable these operations. It is in our interest that Pakistan continues this campaign as effectively and comprehensively as possible,” he said.

Arguing for a continued close engagement with the Pakistan military, Dempsey said as Pakistan’s democratic consolidation progresses, the US must ensure that it maintain military-to-military ties. {The trouble is that such US-Pakistan military-to-military ties are not subjected to civilian oversigh at the Pakistan end

“I will continue a frank and respectful dialogue about our shared interests in countering extremist and promoting regional stability. Security cooperation cannot succeed without the buy-in of Pakistani leadership and continued support of the US Congress,” he said.

Observing that military-to-military ties with Pakistan are an important aspect of the broader bilateral relationship, he said: “Our engagements, and especially our security assistance programs, are essential for effective military cooperation between our two countries.

Dempsey said he has engaged productively with Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani, many times in the past, and the Office of the Defense Representative in Pakistan plays an important role in building and sustaining military-military ties at lower levels.

“These relationships allow us to engage Pakistan in clearly defined areas of shared concern such as maintaining regional stability, curbing violent extremism, and countering the threat of improvised explosive devices,” he said.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby sadhana » 20 Jul 2013 09:06

SSridhar wrote:
sohamn wrote:a very good article, Must read. I don't know if this was posted here before..

http://www.brookings.edu/research/essay ... an-india-c

Oh, it is Dalrymple. Let us see what it says to understand how good it is. It buttresses the American view point that the Afghanistan issue defies a solution because India and Pakistan are at war on the Afghan soil.

It goes on to claim that 'It is easy to understand why Pakistan might feel insecure. India’s population (1.2 billion) and its economy (GDP of $1.4 trillion) are about eight times the size of Pakistan’s (180 million Pakistanis generating an annual GDP of only $210 billion). . . . it’s not surprising that many Pakistanis see their massive neighbor as threatening the very existence of their state.' Are these the reasons that Pakistan feels 'insecure' ? An all-knowing British Dalrymple is woefully, pathetically and deliberately short of presenting facts here.

He talks of J&K thus: With its large Muslim majority, Kashmir was an obvious candidate to join Pakistan. But the pro-Indian sympathies of both its Hindu maharajah and its pre-eminent Muslim politician, Sheikh Abdullah, as well as the Kashmiri origins of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, led to the state’s remaining part of India, which Pakistan has always regarded as unacceptable.

He claims: With covert British assistance in the form of an airlift involving British transport planes, :shock: Indian troops eventually drove back the Pashtun tribesmen.

Does anyone need a more solid proof than the above to questions the credentials of this guy ? This is so blatantly a falsehood that we do not even need to point out holes in the above.

He forgets history when he says that it was Pakistan that brought India & Afghanistan together: Mutual antipathy to Pakistan quickly brought India and Afghanistan together as natural allies. Nonsense.

Since the attempt here is to paint India as a villain in Afghanistan, he writes: In the years that followed, India and Afghanistan both attempted to destabilize Pakistan, giving aid and shelter to discontented Pashtun and Baluchi nationalists.

One thing struck me though, Karzai supposedly telling Dalrymple, "Some of our so-called allies—the British in particular—tell me the Pakistanis have changed." This shows the deep rooted conspiracy. While Dalrymple talks of the mendacity of the Pakistanis, his own government is privately telling Karzai of an opposite view !



It needs to be pointed out to Dalrymple and others that
1. Pakistan is only following what was British forward policy towards FATA and Afghanistan from 1820s - 1947
2. That Afghanistan and FATA became intractable problems owes a lot to said British forward policy towards FATA and Afghanistan from 1820s-1947
3. All the Anglo-Afghan wars and Frontier policies cost millions of pounds which were paid out by colonial subject Indian taxpayers who had no say in anything.

British Forward policy and religious incitement 1820s-1898
https://sites.google.com/site/cabinetmi ... ardpolicy1

British Forward policy and religious incitement 1899-1947
https://sites.google.com/site/cabinetmi ... ardpolicy2

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Samudragupta » 22 Jul 2013 13:59

As i stated earlier.....Taliban probably cannot defeat militarily the ANA if it does not fall from inside...

THE roar of artillery goes on and on: every few minutes cannons fire illumination rounds into the air, lighting up the night sky beyond the checkpoints of the fledgling Afghan army. Only a few kilometres from the main highway, it is still Taliban territory.

Ghazni is a crucial province, south-west of Kabul, that carries the highway from the capital to Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second city. Ghazni is mired in the insurgency. Here, as almost everywhere in Afghanistan, NATO forces have largely stopped fighting the Taliban, having handed over security to the Afghan army and police. How the Afghan forces perform without America and its allies will largely determine the future of the country once international combat forces withdraw in 2014.
Much still seems grim in Ghazni, years after NATO sensed that the war was being lost and sent extra troops to Afghanistan. A “secure zone” extends at most a few kilometres from the Kabul-Kandahar highway. The insurgents seem often to act with impunity, hitting convoys on the highway two or three times a day and even maintaining checkpoints on it in broad daylight. They have unimpeded access to sanctuaries and supplies in Pakistan. NATO bases come under frequent, if mostly ineffective, fire. In many areas the Taliban rule openly. The government’s writ is patchy outside the provincial capital.

Since NATO ceased combat operations early this year, violence in Ghazni has fallen. “Many people see us as occupiers, and now it’s harder for the Taliban to say they’re fighting infidels,” says Colonel Stephen Michael, the American commander. On the other hand, casualties among Afghan security forces are up by half compared with a year earlier, reflecting their increased role. They still receive some coalition help, including artillery support, but most of the assistance comes in the form of advice.

The Americans insist that the Afghans are ready, pointing out the lead locals have taken for half a year. It has helped that Afghans have received much-needed heavy weaponry and better vehicles. But they struggle to supply fuel and ammunition, maintain equipment, provide air support, evacuate the injured, and detect and deal with improvised explosive devices. Co-ordination among various arms and services is in its infancy. Afghan security forces are also hobbled by ethnic tensions. The local police will not employ Hazaras, although they make up nearly half the province’s population. Elite police units have no Pushtuns, the majority group (and the ethnic base of the Taliban).

It would be a mistake to write off the Afghan security forces. They are keen to fight, and if they have little time for training, it is because they are always out on operations. In the past few months, they have actually widened Ghazni’s secure zone. They are undermanned, however. As a result they rely increasingly on local police units to man checkpoints and gather intelligence. Some of these fighters are former insurgents who have switched sides. Some are commanded by petty warlords with as little love for the government as for the insurgents. The so-called Muqur movement, in the south-west of the province, is at its core a thuggish group, involved in the opium trade, who happen to share an enemy with the government. But many in Ghazni just want a better life. Last year an uprising in Andar, in the east of the province, dislodged insurgents from villages after leaders got fed up with the Taliban closing schools and killing people.

The insurgents are hardly strong—probably no more than a few hundred fighters altogether in Ghazni province—and more a nuisance than a mortal threat to the central government—mostly attacking checkpoints and rarely inflicting serious damage. They appear to have little genuine support among the population. And if anything, NATO’s withdrawal next year seems likely to sharpen the Afghan security forces’ game.

Provided, then, that the West keeps paying for Afghanistan’s army, the government’s survival is not really at stake. Still, the insurgents are resilient, and they are unlikely to disappear. It may never be possible to end the insurgency without a political deal.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby SSridhar » 22 Jul 2013 16:40

Karzai sets conditions for Pakistan Visit - Dawn
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday gave a lukewarm response to Pakistan's invitation to visit Islamabad, setting conditions for any high-level talks designed to mend increasingly frosty relations.

Pakistan on Sunday sent its top diplomat to offer further assistance to Afghanistan's efforts to reach a deal with Taliban insurgents to end 12 years of war.

Foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz held talks with Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul and met Karzai to deliver in person the invitation from new Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif — already extended twice by telephone.

On Monday the president's office said Karzai accepted the invitation “in principle”.

But he said a high-ranking delegation could visit Pakistan only when the agenda is specified, initial preparations have been made and a “serious and effective struggle against terrorism and the peace process are on the top of the agenda”.

The West considers Pakistan's support vital to achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan. But relations between the neighbours are mired in mutual distrust and accusations over Taliban and other Islamist militancy which plagues both countries.

Aziz is the most senior member of Pakistan's new government to visit Afghanistan at a time when relations between Kabul and Islamabad have been worsening.

International efforts to start talks with the Taliban are in disarray after the disastrous opening of a liaison office for the insurgents in Qatar. A furious Karzai slammed it as an unofficial embassy for a Taliban government-in-exile.

Last week Karzai's chief of staff, Karim Khorram, claimed the Taliban office was part of a plot to break up Afghanistan, orchestrated by either Pakistan or the United States.

Aziz denied perceptions held by many in Afghanistan that Pakistan controls the Taliban, saying only that “we have some contacts” with the militia.


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