Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

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svinayak
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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby svinayak » 27 Jan 2010 05:29

anuj wrote:
"I believe that the neighbours of Afghanistan should come together to help sustain an infant democracy like Afghanistan. India has a big role to play,"

If ISAF can protect all the Indians in Afghanistan and also help to contain terrorists from not going into Kashmir then this can be a good option for India.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby shyamd » 27 Jan 2010 17:22

Osama Bin Laden Moves to Baluchistan, Pakistan
Osama bin Laden moves home

"The United States does not know where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is hiding and has not had any good intelligence on his whereabouts," said US defense secretary Robert Gates on ABC's This Week program Sunday, Dec. 6.

He did not confirm a BBC report that a detainee might have seen bin Laden in the eastern Afghan province of Ghazni in January or February, only adding emphatically:

"We don't know for a fact where Osama bin Laden is. If we did, we'd go and get him." Asked when was the last time the United States had any good intelligence on his whereabouts, Gates said, "I think it's been years."

The lack of clarity about what constitutes "good intelligence" let the defense secretary off the hook and saved him answering the question. On such murky issues as the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, there is no such thing as good or bad intelligence, only fragmentary data which is either proved or disproved; even information coming from a usually reliable source may fail to pan out.

In the last six months, DEBKA-Net-Weekly counter-terrorism sources report, intelligence data has been reaching Washington stating that the al-Qaeda leader with his staff and security corps has crossed from Afghanistan into Baluchistan, Pakistan.

With an area of 347,190 km² (134,051 mi²), Baluchistan covers 44 percent of Pakistan and is easily the largest of its four provinces. It is bounded by Iran to the west, Afghanistan and the North West Frontier in the north, Punjab and Sindh in the east and the Arabian Sea to the south.

Its population is sparse, only 7.5 million, due to its rugged mountainous terrain and scarcity of water.

The Sulaiman Mountains dominate the northeast corner, with a natural route through the Bolan Pass for crossing between Baluchistan and Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The capital, Quetta, is located in the most densely populated northeast, situated in a river valley near the border with Afghanistan. It too has a direct road link in the northwest to Kandahar.



Bin Laden improves his location, gaining a supportive population and convenient terrain



Our sources report that at least five reasons motivated Bin Laden's transfer to Baluchistan:

1. More than half of its population is made up of his friends, Pashtun tribesmen, who were dislocated by the war in Afghanistan. He can count on them for hideouts and help in slipping secretly from place to place.

This support is crucial because bin Laden is known for never staying in one place more than a night or two.

2. Because Baluchistan is far from the war zones of Afghanistan and Pakistan, it draws less attention from Western intelligence services and US drones. He therefore enjoys greater freedom of movement than in other parts of the country.

3. Baluchistan's lofty mountains divided by vast, unpopulated deserts provide him with inaccessible hideouts far from human habitation and surveillance.

4. Bin Laden joins up with his great ally, Taliban leader Mullah Omar, who has hidden in Baluchistan for years with his staff and Shura council. They keep him abreast of the war situation and give him a chance to influence decision-making on its progress.

5. Never since he disappeared in 2001 has the al Qaeda leader been known to be established a hideout within reach of the open sea. This access has given him new options. He can, for instance, travel by sea from Baluchistan to the Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa to inspect the al Qaeda of the Maghreb's cells; or, if Ali Abdullah Salah's Yemeni regime is swept away by the Iran-backed rebellion, he might visit his ancestral homeland of Hadhramauth. Surviving to return to any part of the Arabian Peninsula would be a great personal triumph.



Cutting off his escape route - and generating suspicions



DEBKA-Net-Weekly's counter-terrorism sources note that bin Laden's relocation is the reason why the US is making Baluchistan a key focus of the intelligence effort accompanying the Afghanistan war.

(A separate article in this issue deals with the war's expansion to Pakistan).

US Predator UAVs and squadrons of manned surveillance aircraft are busy collecting every shred of datum that might betray Bin Laden's movements. The search is supported on the ground by dozens of CIA agents buried among the province's assorted ethnic groups and Baluchi resistance movements.

The intensified American intelligence operation has sown the suspicion in the upper echelons of the Pakistani military in Islamabad that Washington is in fact covertly engaged in an operation to separate Baluchistan from the rest of Pakistan and declare the breakaway province independent should the central regime in Islamabad go under.

Tehran shares the suspicion that the flock of CIA agents in Pakistani Baluchistan is likewise actively supporting the Jund Allah organization's campaign to free Iranian Baluchistan from the grip of the central regime in Tehran too.

Regardless of those suspicions, DEBKA-Net-Weekly counter-terrorism sources are convinced that the Americans have boosted their military and intelligence presence in Baluchistan for the overriding objective of cornering the elusive Osama bin Laden - and if possible, Mullah Omar, too, by cutting off their escape routes from Baluchistan.


Makes Pakistan Part of the Problem - Not the Solution

Pakistan was not a factor in President Barack Obama's West Point speech laying out his strategy for Afghanistan, except for the briefest of asides: "Our success in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan." Yet just a week later, the Pakistani front looms as the US forces' coming war arena.

The administration is leaning hard on Islamabad and its president Ali Asif Zardari to get going on a wide range of objectives: Strike Taliban and al-Qaeda bases inside Pakistan and South Waziristan; wind up the South Waziristan offensive and move on to North Waziristan; and shut down the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, a goal which has evaded the US-led NATO military for eight years.

The military experts agree that success in Afghanistan is indeed "inextricably linked" to sealing the border against extremist mobility: the influx of Taliban and al Qaeda reinforcements from Pakistan to the Afghan battle zones, and the outflow of Taliban units to safe havens to regroup, rearm, evacuate their wounded and get some rest.

That is not the end of the list of Zardari's to-dos: The Obama administration wants the Pakistani army to go into Baluchistan and smash the headquarters from which Afghanistan's Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar and his staff run the war across the border.

Washington is not just asking politely; it is pushing Pakistan's leaders to the wall. Its messages to Zardari (two personal letters from Obama, according to US media), prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Chief of Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, make it clear that US forces will be redoubling their drone-borne missile attacks inside the Pakistani borderlands notwithstanding popular grievances and, moreover, send ground units into Pakistan to hit terrorist targets inside the country, including Baluchistan.

Islamabad is being told to expand its war on Taliban and al Qaeda to all parts of Pakistan, like it or not.

The US president's approval of a 30,000-strong troop surge for Afghanistan have raised the stakes as war costs rise to the mind-boggling sums of $130 billion in 2009 and an estimated $160 billion in 2010.



Black Ops in Pakistan with or without Islamabad's cooperation



DEBKA-Net-Weekly military sources note that president Obama's real war policy differs from the strategy outlined in his speech on at least four major points:

1. Washington is not satisfied with the military offensives Pakistan launched this year - first in the Swat Valley then in South Waziristan - but demands proactive assaults to eradicate the Taliban wherever it is found.

US and Pakistani commanders' claims of success in those two campaigns turned out to be unreal. What really happened, according to our military sources, was that the main body of Taliban forces occupying the embattled areas simply withdrew out of harm's way to safer parts of Pakistan without incurring too many losses, then returned to the fray when they were ready. The only real casualties were suffered by the fighters left behind as decoys to cover the main Taliban force's withdrawal.

So the Swat and South Waziristan campaigns achieved little except to help the Taliban expand their war arenas into Pakistan proper.

2. Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal fully realize that even if Islamabad is made to expand its counterinsurgency engagement as Washington wants, which is very doubtful, the Pakistani army is not up to tackling the Taliban countrywide. There would be no option but to send US special forces across the border into Pakistan to execute this mission, because the insurgents' freedom of action on both sides of the border can only be curbed by US military cross-border action - with or without an okay from Islamabad.

At first, these covert US operations would be few and limited. But just as the US drone operations against terrorist havens inside Pakistan tribal regions are multiplying as time goes by, so too would American ground intrusions.



A US cross-border offensive: The backlash



The Islamabad government would be under domestic pressure for letting US troops infringe its sovereignty, but the US-led intervention would be sustained without regard to political crises in Islamabad and the bitter resentment stoked up in the Pakistani army - officers and enlisted men alike.

Pakistan's expanded military offensives against the Taliban and al Qaeda would soon evolve into civil war, a backlash made turbulent by the country's patchwork of regional, ethnic, tribal and ethnic divisions, reflected in the Punjabi -dominated armed forces and secessionist movements riddling many regions like poverty-stricken Baluchistan.

3. The US military's deepening involvement in Pakistan would most likely disarrange President Obama's approximate 2011-2013 time frame for scaling down the US military presence in Afghanistan. Withdrawing troops entangled in the two countries would be enormously more complicated that pulling out of one.

On the one hand, turning the heat up in Pakistan would give US and NATO contingents in Afghanistan some relief by forcing Taliban to divide its efforts, men, funds and munitions between the two countries.

On the other, the Taliban may exploit its flight to Pakistan's cities and villages to entrench itself in new havens and jumping-off bases.

Obama pins his hopes of success in Afghanistan on winning the hearts of the population by aid and development. But he will need to tear them away from the indigenous Taliban which holds half of the country in the palm of its hand and believes parts of Pakistan will soon come under its sway. The more conspicuous the US military presence, the faster anti-American sentiment will spread. Already many Pakistani military commanders tend to regard Taliban more as a strategic reserve than an enemy.

So Pakistan, a country bigger than France with a population of 177 million, may be a bigger bite than even America can chew.

4. The fourth element left out of the US president's Afghan equation is India. Its leaders will certainly have something to say about the war moving into Pakistan and approaching its western frontiers.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 27 Jan 2010 21:52

The Pakis want the Predators to drone in Balochistan against the BLA. Moves the focus from the FATA/WANA badlands.
So they create this hype of OBL in Balochistan, while he is in Pindi chabbaing channa.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 27 Jan 2010 22:07

X-Post...
R Vaidya wrote:Admin--If this has been already posted then kindly delete it

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/01 ... index.html

CNN WORLD
The gun markets of Pakistan
By Suroosh Alvi, Founder, Vice Magazine and VBS.TV
January 26, 2010 6:23 p.m. EST
Editor's Note: The staff at CNN.com has recently been intrigued by the journalism of VICE, an independent media company and Web site based in Brooklyn, New York. VBS.TV is Vice's broadband television network. The reports, which are produced solely by VICE, reflect a very transparent approach to journalism, where viewers are taken along on every step of the reporting process. We believe this unique reporting approach is worthy of sharing with our CNN.com readers. Viewer discretion advised.
Brooklyn, New York (VBS.TV) -- On January 22, 2006, the New York Times reported that all foreign journalists were being banned from Pakistan's tribal areas, which has been called "the most dangerous place in the world." A week before that, the CIA fired missiles remotely from a Predator aircraft into the Waziristan tribal area. They were hoping to eradicate a bunch of al Qaeda operatives. Instead, they killed 18 women and children.
One week before that, I arrived in Pakistan to visit Darra Adamkhel, the massive open-air market located deep in the tribal areas, where a frighteningly high percentage of Islamic holy warriors goes to buy their guns.
Gaining access to the tribal areas was next to impossible. It took months of pre-planning with the consul general of Pakistan in Montreal and top officials in Peshawar. They repeatedly denied us entry because, according to them, the Pakistani Army had too many "sensitive operations" going on in that region. Without my personal advantage (a family friendship with the governor of the Northwest Frontier Province), we never would have gotten in.
The government assigned me and my team a political agent named Naeem Afridi. He was born and raised in the tribal areas. He took care of us while we were there, and he was a godsend. You can't do anything in this part of the world without someone like Naeem.
Our driver stopped at a security point just outside the town center, where we were introduced to the Frontier Agency militia, six angry-dad-looking guys with AKs and sidearms. They became our personal bodyguards, and followed us through the tight warren of gun shops and factories, barren little brick rooms where upward of 1,000 guns are manufactured every day. Most of the work is done by hand.
The vendors are Pashtuns, who are basically the toughest people in the world. They comprised the majority of the mujahideen who kicked the Soviets out of Afghanistan in the late '80s.

These days, the town is rumored to be completely overrun by the Taliban. They purchase the guns, then cross the border to fight the U.S. army in Afghanistan, or they drive through the mountains to the south to fight the Pakistani army.
This summer, I went back to Pakistan, and found that the fuse on this powder keg has become even shorter. The Pakistani army has surged more troops into the tribal areas, attempting to eradicate the Taliban and al Qaeda. The U.S. and British troops are attempting to do the same thing on the other side of the border in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan itself has seen violence spread to its major urban centers, where extremists have been detonating bombs and taking over police stations.
But at the same time, there is a cultural explosion taking place, a vibrant art scene and metal and rock bands popping up everywhere. The whole situation has become ultra charged by the fact that there are tons of news channels operating uncensored by the insanely corrupt government.
For Pakistan, it's a volatile, turbulent, and fascinating moment in time.

R Vaidya


Good catch Prof!

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby shiv » 27 Jan 2010 22:16

R Vaidya wrote:Admin--If this has been already posted then kindly delete it

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/01 ... index.html

CNN WORLD
The gun markets of Pakistan
By Suroosh Alvi, Founder, Vice Magazine and VBS.TV
January 26, 2010 6:23 p.m. EST



Suroosh Alvi's visit to Darra Adamkhel was posted on YouTube in 2007

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6Pq6uW89dU

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 28 Jan 2010 23:06

Re the payment to good Taliban I posted it on page 10 of this thread...

viewtopic.php?p=782068#p782068

Regularising the willing Taliban and get them into uniforms is a crucial step. There are two strains: Pashtun nationalism and Islamist imperatives.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby bart » 29 Jan 2010 00:48

I can only be pessimistic about this London Afghan conference, attempts to legitimize the Taliban, and accept Pakistan as the main mediator.

What I see as Pakistan's strategy behind this is something similar to what they did in Bangladesh. They have realized that if they keep the Taliban fighting America sooner or later the Taliban are going to be wiped out. This is also taking a heavy toll internally for them, and the Americans are no longer fooled by their duplicity and denial.

So they have gone now to plan B. Which is to reduce the guerrilla warfare against the Americans, try and get elements of the Taliban settled and back in some kind of power sharing equation within the democratic setup. They will then fund and use these extremists from within the democratic setup to turn Afghanistan back into an Islamist fundamentalist hellhole. All this within the charade of democracy, and the west will barely be able to complain, it will be just like Palestine, Iran, etc where rabid fundamentalist rule the country via democratic elections.

They will be able to destabilize Afghanistan that way just like they did to Bangladesh. In Bangladesh despite being separated by their arch-enemy they managed to commit genocide, lose a war and get kicked out, and yet within a few years subvert democracy using their Islamist proxies for decades.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Rudradev » 29 Jan 2010 04:09

On NPR (WHYY's "Fresh Air") last night, heard interview with Thomas E Ricks (embedded NY Times reporter in Iraq). Ricks was asked about Afghanistan and went in for about 15 minutes of Karzai bashing. He says it is not the Taliban but Karzai who is the real enemy for the US. According to him, the Karzai government is like an "Ahmed Chalabi who has taken over the country we invaded and has now turned against us".

Ricks says Karzai has planned his strategy on the assumption that the US wants to stay in Afghanistan forever... maintain a military presence there so as to extend influence in Central Asia and the Middle East. So, according to Ricks, Karzai is doing nothing to develop the country or its armed forces, but intends instead to keep the US around forever, drawing on its support and feeding off its largesse.

Ricks also accused Karzai's regime of being worse than the Taliban. He said that when the Taliban take over a village, they might be brutal etc. but the people at least welcome the sense of order they bring. Meanwhile Karzai's police forces are criminal thugs who bully the civilian population, extort bribes, provide no services and run away rather than offering protection when the Taliban attack.

The subtext to Ricks' rant was that Afghanistan being a savage third-world country NEEDS a savagely brutal disciplinarian force like the Taliban to run it; meanwhile "democratic" leaders imposed from outside are bound to turn into ineffectual leeches who want to feed off American largesse forever, because there is no culture of democracy in Afghanistan to evolve a legitimate leadership.

Meanwhile, of course, not one word about anything good that the Karzai regime has been able to effect with the help of nations like India.

All in all this Thomas E Ricks is a total Paki lifafoo from the AssHolbrooke school of "reassure Pakistan, resolve Cashmere, bring the Good Taliban to power in Kabul and everything will be fine".

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby RamaY » 29 Jan 2010 04:30

Regarding the "Gun Market" video,

It is very interesting that the gun makers' tongues were cut, as if it is a ritual.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 30 Jan 2010 22:20

How much is the annual aid/baksheesh that Afghanistan and TSP get from abroad and US?

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Prem » 01 Feb 2010 01:16

Saudis have vested interest in rise of the Taliban
STRATFOR Global Intelligence report :

For the Saudis, there is no turning back the clock in Iraq where an Iranian-leaning, Shia-dominated state has emerged. The Saudis are also seeing how Iran has made deep inroads to its north in Lebanon and south in Yemen, and has potential proxies within the Shia populations in the oil-rich Persian Gulf Arab states. The rise of the Taliban, which has religious as well as ideological ties to the Saudis, could serve as a key means of countering Iranian moves against the oil-rich kingdom.

The thought of Saudi Arabia playing a critical role in shaping Afghanistan’s future consternates Iran and India to an even greater degree, each for different reasons. The last thing Iranians want to see is their main regional rival brokering a deal to enable militant Sunni extremists to run a country with which they share a border. Yet, Iran finds itself between a rock and a hard place because they would also love to see the U.S. mired in a long drawn out war, potentially causing the U.S. to tie up resources and lose focus on Iran’s aggressive nuclear weapons development program.

India, on the other hand, is the one country that is completely opposed to any political reconciliation with the Taliban, considering their nuclear rival Pakistan has close historical ties to the extremist group. To India, a Taliban power-sharing arrangement would only strengthen Pakistan’s influence in the region.

http://www.examiner.com/x-30980-Afghani ... he-Taliban

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby vijayk » 01 Feb 2010 05:30

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/towar ... it/573832/
Towards a grand summit


The two international conferences last week, in Istanbul and London, mark the beginning of Phase Two in the post 9/11 evolution of Afghanistan. India had a great run in Afghanistan in Phase One, that lasted from the end of 2001 to until recently. India’s profile expanded significantly in Afghanistan and it has become one of the most effective partners in the reconstruction of the nation amidst relative internal stability.

However, the stasis that had gripped India’s security policy in recent months and some fine manoeuvring by the Pakistan army threaten to marginalise Delhi in Phase Two. The resurgence of the Taliban (thanks to the sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan) over the last couple of years has begun to test the resolve of Kabul as well as the international coalition.



As the world reaches out to the Taliban, we can be sure of two things: that the Taliban leaders will play hard to get; and the Pakistan army will offer to bring the boys around. And the price, Delhi must expect, would necessarily involve Pakistan’s many issues vis-a-vis India.

Any new Indian initiative on Afghanistan must involve the following elements. One, Delhi must express strong support to Karzai’s effort to reach out to the various Pashtun fighters in southern and eastern Afghanistan. India must offer to put up its own resources — financial, political and diplomatic — for promoting the Afghanistan peace process.


Five, India must also make a special effort to address Pakistan’s fears — irrational as they might seem in Delhi — that it is meddling on its western frontiers. There are also apprehensions that suggest India wants to destabilise Pakistan in a two-front war. The Indian army’s “cold start” military doctrine completes this picture in the current Pakistani narrative.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 01 Feb 2010 07:48

Its India that discovered the good Taliban and got the Embassy bombed. I wish CRM stops mistaking his bath water for Koolaid. There are limits to carrying others waters ala Gungadin.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ShauryaT » 01 Feb 2010 08:28

Interesting.
Balochistan had right to accede to Afghanistan : EXCERPT FROM "Facts are Scared" by Wali Khan
The Khan of Kalat had for some time been engaged in litigation with the British over Quetta and areas around it. Mr. Jinnah was fighting the case for him the case for him. When the partition was announced, the Khan raised the point that the position of Kalat would have to be like Nepal’s since it was not a part of India. He produced documents in support of his contention, concerning the agreement reached by the British with his forebears. In his book on the history of the Balouch and their Khawanin, the Khan recalls the incident. A meeting was called to consider the issue. On the one side were Khan of Kalat and his legal adviser Sultan Ahmad Khan On the other were the governor-general designate and prime minister designate of Pakistan. Mr. Jinnah and Khan Liaquat Ali Khan.

At the head was the Viceroy Lord Mountbatten. The discussion finally ended in an accord whereby it was agreed that:-

(a) On August 15, when the British rule would come to an end, the state of Kalat would revert to its position of 1838, the position just prior to its agreement with the British.

(b) If by then no agreement was reached between the Khan of Kalat and the Government of Pakistan then the state would have the right to accede to Afghanistan.

This accord was signed by the Khan of Kalat, Mr. Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten.
________________________________

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby shyamd » 01 Feb 2010 08:57

ramana wrote:Its India that discovered the good Taliban and got the Embassy bombed. I wish CRM stops mistaking his bath water for Koolaid. There are limits to carrying others waters ala Gungadin.

Saaar, Confused saar.... What do you mean?

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 01 Feb 2010 10:35

X-post...
sum wrote:India needs to relook its Afghan policy


Comments by External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on the eve of the London [ Images ] conference on Afghanistan, that there is little difference between the "good" and the "bad" Taliban [ Images ], are a manifestation of the schizophrenic disconnect within the Indian establishment over its policy on Afghanistan—and its neighbour, Pakistan.

Committing $ 1.2 bn in aid to Afghanistan, which makes India [ Images ] the sixth-largest donor in the world, has created an unprecedented space for manoeuvre in the Hindukush heartland. With projects in every district in Afghanistan, from electricity transmission lines to training women in the SEWA way, India's benign presence has been vindicated by a recent study commissioned by the BBC, ABC and ARD — the British, American and German broadcasters, respectively — which found that 71 per cent of the Afghan population was in favour of India playing a big role. And yet, SM Krishna threw it all away in London.


The tragedy is that even as Krishna spoke for the country in London, a change in India's mindset — attitude, policy, strategy, call it what you will—is already under way in Delhi [ Images ]. The establishment core in another part of South Block is preparing to "evolve" its own black-and-white positions on the Taliban and present a more "nuanced" approach to the global community.

The argument behind this significantly sophisticated approach is that India must return to playing a much bigger role in the ever-changing great game in the innards of Asia. Of course, oil and gas and all those crucial transit routes into central Asia over which Afghanistan sits, like a veritable Nandi bull, are terribly important.


Actually, this strategy is not new. It dates back to the first year of National Security Adviser Shiv Shanker Menon as foreign secretary in 2006-07, when the first ideas of distinguishing between the "good" and "bad" Taliban were floated around the corridors of South Block. Menon had just returned from Pakistan as high commissioner, all hell was breaking loose in the Af-Pak region, and that's when ideas beyond the realm of common thought and speech began to be articulated.

In fact, the evolution of India's strategy on Afghanistan—which Krishna either missed in London or didn't want to talk about—is really its first big strategic move on the international stage, in the wake of the Indo-US nuclear deal, and it's all about announcing that India is now part of the solution in Afghanistan.

Of course, all the western powers in London didn't want to discuss the parameters of such a "regional solution" in public glare, even though Gordon Brown [ Images ] had mooted the idea and US leaders like Hillary Clinton [ Images ], Robert Gates and Richard Holbrooke [ Images ] had confirmed it. All of them had told Delhi that they wanted India to play a bigger role, including training Afghan security forces.

Here is the western argument favouring India: Pakistan is playing fast and loose with the Afghan Taliban, Iran can't be trusted, China is too much of a competitor to also be allowed to win in Afghanistan, while Russia [ Images ] ... well, Russia is already a big power. That leaves India, a benign presence with both civilian and security capabilities, to upgrade its presence, so that the US and NATO forces can go home peacefully.

Except, the Pakistani veto hangs over the West. The Pakistani army and the ISI, which is playing such a crucial role in battling the Pakistani Taliban in the Swat and Malakand valleys and now in South Waziristan, have told the Americans that they would not tolerate an enhanced Indian influence in Pashtun areas like Kandahar and Jalalabad and in the rest of the country.

This is what explains Pakistan's oft-repeated statement that only Afghanistan's "contiguous neighbours" can be allowed to participate in any "regional" mechanism or structure that may be set up to help the Afghans take charge of their own future. (India, to counter this, has now begun saying that it is a neighbour as Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir [ Images ] hugs the Wakhan corridor.) That is why Turkey, under Pakistani pressure, did not invite India to participate in its day-long conference on Afghanistan in Istanbul on Monday (on the eve of the London conference). That is why several influential Pakistani analysts link a resolution of the Kashmir dispute with promises to the US that they will upgrade the fight against the Afghan Taliban.

So, with SSM now the new czar, will we see his ideas slowlo come into the picture and India begin to assert herself more in A'tan?

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby satya » 01 Feb 2010 13:53

Nightwatch
Afghanistan-India: Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said India is willing to try peace-seeking efforts with the Taliban to stabilize Afghanistan, the Times of India reported. Krishna said India could negotiate with the Taliban if they are accepted in the mainstream of Afghan politics and society, accept the Afghan constitution and sever connections with al Qaida and other terrorist groups.

The Indian terms for greater involvement precisely match those the Saudis announced at the London Conference.


Many moons ago , told what someone said to me KSA ( the hidden hand ) has to considered a player by India . MMS's KSA visit .

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Prem » 02 Feb 2010 06:12

http://thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=222022
Courting the Taliban

It would be unrealistic to expect the Taliban to abandon bin Laden after having sacrificed everything, including their rule and lives, for his sake and those of his al-Qaeda colleagues. This would require a fundamentalist shift in Taliban policy from being an al-Qaeda ally to becoming a partner for peace with Saudi Arabia and eventually sharing power with Karzai. This cannot happen just like that because the Taliban know they are being courted after having been shunned on account of their exploits on the battlefield. Besides, why would the Taliban accept this condition just for joining the Saudi-led peace process that would primarily promote the interests of the US and its allies? In fact, the Taliban aren't even ready to talk to Karzai, who in their eyes is no more than a US 'puppet'. They continue to demand withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan and insist that this matter is non-negotiable.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby kshirin » 02 Feb 2010 14:34

OK, finally something that makes sense, if this report is correct:
http://www.zeenews.com/news600572.html

Russian NSA in Delhi today, to discuss Taliban, terror Monday, February 01, 2010

New Delhi: With the London conference clearing the way for reconciliation with the Taliban, national security advisers (NSA) of India and Russia will meet Monday to share views on the new strategy of integrating the hardline militia in Afghanistan that is a cause of concern to both countries. …Tasks and prospects of interaction between special services in the interests of ensuring security of our two countries, regional peace and stability are also a matter of discussion, the embassy said. The two sides are likely to discuss enhanced counter-terror cooperation and the shifting strategic situation in Afghanistan in the wake of a Western proposal of reintegrating and power-sharing with the Taliban in that country. Both India and Russia are not comfortable with accommodating the Taliban in any power-sharing arrangement in Afghanistan and have resented any contrived distinction between the so-called good and bad Taliban. IANS

It is important to understand that we need to act in order to realise the scenarios we can be comfortable with, and not just react passively to the aggressive initiatives of other countries. This seems to be a step in the right direction.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Hari Seldon » 02 Feb 2010 15:11

IMO, the time is fast approaching for India to talk directly to the Pakhtun nationalists and bypass TSP's sovirgin pretensions in this regard.

Talibanism is essentially a pakhtun nationalism movement. It won;t be stamped out the regular way. Have to get it to clash with TSP.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Prem » 03 Feb 2010 01:11

Solving Afghanistan - Can’t be without Pakistan, but would antagonize India

http://www.english.globalarabnetwork.co ... india.html
The risks to global security from a failure in Afghanistan are great. Abandoning the goal to establish a functioning Afghan state and a moderate Pakistan would place greater pressure on Indian security. Pakistani intelligence would be emboldened to escalate terrorist attacks against India once it is satisfied that the Taliban would provide it strategic depth in Afghanistan. This would surely force retaliation from India. Yet a peace deal that gives Pakistan and its Taliban friends a dominating role in Afghanistan is an unwelcome development for New Delhi. India fears rewarding bad behavior would only embolden more hostility, a reasonable conclusion because of its past experience, making New Delhi even more reluctant to pursue a “peace process” with Islamabad

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 04 Feb 2010 02:54

Posted by putnanja in Afghanistan thread....


The audacity of Afghan peace hopes - M.K. Bhadrakumar

...
The fact of the matter is that the decisions of the London conference not only constitute a 5-year road map for conflict resolution in Afghanistan but are destined to impact on regional security and stability for a long time to come. The decisions run on four different but inter-connected templates. First and foremost, what seemed to some a heretic idea until recently has come to habitate the centerpiece of the political agenda, namely, that the war needs to be brought to an end by “reintegrating” and “reconciling” the Taliban in the Afghan national mainstream. Second, whatever residual war effort remains will focus on persuading or coercing the Taliban to negotiate. Third, the so-called “Afghanisation” process will be speeded up so that by July next year the drawdown of American forces in Afghanistan can commence. Fourth, enduring peace in the Hindu Kush can be attained only in a regional environment in which Afghanistan’s neighbours cooperate by setting aside their competing rivalries and by resolving their outstanding disputes.
...
...
For the Pakistan-hating, China-bashing veterans of our strategic community, all this must have come as a stunning bolt from the blue. But they are only at fault. The Indian strategic thinkers should not have been such incorrigible fundamentalists to fail to appreciate the shades of political Islam or discern the western propaganda about the Taliban. Mixing up the Taliban completely with the adversarial mindset of the Pakistani security agencies was equally wrong. Overlooking the indigenous roots of a homegrown movement was always injudicious. The triumphalism over Taliban’s ouster in 2001 was unwarranted, as it was never in doubt that such a grassroots movement cannot be expected to simply fade away in the Afghan-Pakistani political landscape; a return of the native was inevitable. Lastly, the U.S. intervention in 2001 was quintessentially a contrived revenge act on the part of the George W. Bush administration precipitated by a cataclysmic backdrop unparalleled in America’s history; to be sure, the world community condoned it but as time passed, it lost its “raison d’etre” and became hard to justify.

...
...
Where did the establishment go wrong? First, our flawed Afghan policy stands exposed. It has a thirteen-year old history. It was circa 1997-98 that Delhi probably began sliding into a strategic mistake by regarding Afghanistan as a theatre of India-Pakistan rivalry. That was a reversal of the Indian policy, which was best evident during the 1992-95 period when despite overtures from the Mujahideen, the Narasimha Rao government stubbornly refused to get involved in any form in Afghanistan’s fratricidal strife — although the temptation to pay Pakistan back in the same coin for the low-intensity war in J&K (and the Valley was witnessing incessant bloodshed at that time) was always lurking in the shadows. The level-headed estimation in South Block was that India-Pakistan differences were already far too vexed and blood-soaked to add yet another dimension to them.
...
...
What lies ahead? Make no mistake that the Taliban are returning to Afghanistan’s power structure — quite plausibly, under Mullah Omar’s leadership. The U.S. expectation to “split” the Taliban will likely prove misplaced. As months ebb away, fighting intensifies and Omar in no particular hurry, Washington’s pleas to Islamabad will become more and more insistent to bring the so-called Quetta Shura to the negotiating table. Pakistan (or, more appropriately, Pakistani military) will have the option to cooperate or lapse into sophistry and claim helplessness. How the Pakistani military chooses to play will almost entirely depend on the pound of flesh it can extract from the U.S. At a minimum, there will be an India-dimension to it — thanks to our flawed Afghan policy and our failure to develop diversified consultations with like-minded countries such as China, :rotfl: Iran and Russia that have high stakes in regional security and stability. The silver lining is that once in power, the “Afghan-ness” of the Taliban is bound to surface.

...
...


The tone of "I told you so" is prevalent in the entire article. One thing that doesn't work in India is the triumphalist attitude.
You may be right but you cant crow about it.

He must be mad about the establishment for we on BR didnt see a monolith Taliban atleast for some years now.


If the bad Taliban or so dependent on single leader based organization, a revist of the history of the Mahadi in Sudan in 19th century might be useful.

And TSP wont get any pound of flesh which the Indians are unwilling to give due to mispalced ideas of syncretism.

So lets see how it plays out. Karzai-Omar reconciliation is really Durrani Ghilzai reconciliation ie intra Pashtun reconciliation. Even the Ghilzais know the role of TSP and the Durand line pressures. So it has to be a multi-step plan:
- US increase troops to combat bad Taliban in the high risk areas
- West increases economic aid to Afghanistan
- Intra-Pashtun reconcilaition on basis of giving up violence, cut ties to international movements (ALQ and TSP) and accept electoral process
- Regularization of Pashtun militias into frontier guards etc
- International treaty/accord to assure buffer status to Afghanistan to ensure non-intervention by neighbors are far away powers

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby putnanja » 04 Feb 2010 06:01

Militants part of Pak arsenal against India: US to its Senate

As Western powers look to reorient their engagement strategy in the AfPak region with the help of Islamabad, the US intelligence community has conveyed to its Senate that Pakistan regards some militant groups as part of its “strategic arsenal” to counter India and this, in their assessment, will “limit” Pakistan’s effort to root out extremist forces.
...
...
In a rare press interaction on his return to Pakistan, Kayani is reported to have said: “We want a strategic depth in Afghanistan but do not want to control it... A peaceful and friendly Afghanistan can provide Pakistan strategic depth.”

On the basis of its vast commitment to operations in the AfPak region, Kayani also pitched for greater Pakistani involvement in the training of the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) in his discussions with NATO. Much of this has also been prompted by reports of increasing Indian role in training ANA personnel.
...
...
With the London Conference giving a grudging go-ahead to engage the so-called moderate Taliban, sources said, it does provide Pakistan with an opportunity to strike deals that could aid its larger “strategic paradigm” as spelt out by Kayani.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Prem » 04 Feb 2010 06:41

Karzai not rolling over yet, he knows his life on the line.
http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.asp ... n&nid=1537

Karzai cancels meeting with OIC officials
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Agencies): Afghan President Hamid Karzai canceled on Wednesday a meeting with the world’s top Muslim body in Saudi Arabia that was aimed at pushing for dialogue to help reconciliation efforts with the Taliban. The meeting was called off because Karzai had reservations over the agenda, a senior Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) official said, without elaborating. An Afghan diplomat told Reuters that the meeting with the OIC, led by Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, was canceled because the Afghan delegation wanted to visit Medina, the burial place of the Prophet Mohammad. Karzai arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to seek the kingdom’s spiritual influence and financial clout to reconcile with the Taliban during talks with King Abdullah, whose country is home to Islam’s two most holy sites. The canceled meeting would have addressed the OIC’s role in containing Afghan tensions and to follow up on an OIC bid to organize a conference for Islamic scholars from different religious authorities on the Afghan issue, the OIC said. “We understand that Saudi Arabia supports this drive by the OIC for debate among Afghan religious leaders as a means to convince the Taliban to openly abandon al Qaeda

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Prem » 04 Feb 2010 06:54

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 77582.html

U.S. Announces Helmand Offensive

Still, the military has taken an unusual step by broadcasting its imminent intention to assault a particular town, Marjah, and its environs. During World War II, civilians and servicemen were frequently reminded that "Loose lips sink ships" and "Enemy ears are listening." For months leading up to the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, the Allies went to great lengths to disguise their target.Similarly, the coalition in Afghanistan normally forbids—at the threat of expulsion—embedded reporters from writing about events before they take place. In this case, though, officials even released the name of the offensive, Operation Moshtarak, and said it would be a joint Afghan-coalition attack. Moshtarak means "together" in Dari, although the bulk of the population in southern Afghanistan speaks Pashto."This combined force will strike a victory for the future of Afghanistan," the coalition release said. It ended with the Arabic phrase "En shallah," or "God willing," a traditional refrain among

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby shyamd » 04 Feb 2010 14:59

X post
shyamd wrote:India, Iran discuss Afghanistan
India and Iran have held extensive discussions on the developments in the region including Afghanistan as part of their annual diplomatic consultations.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao headed the Indian delegation, while Mohammad Ali Fathollahi, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Oceania led the Iranian side during the two-day dialogue.

Diplomatic sources told The Hindu that substantial discussions were held on “regional issues” including the recent developments regarding Afghanistan and the transit route from Iranian port of Chabahar to Afghanistan, which Iran and India have jointly developed.

In the past, both India and Iran have been wary of engaging the so called “moderate Taliban” in Afghanistan. However, last month’s conference in London, in which Iran did not participate, has decided to create a fund in anticipation that resources would be needed to draw a significant number of Taliban into the Afghan mainstream.

Discussions were also held on transit, including further activation of the North-South corridor which has been a joint initiative of India, Iran and Russia.

Sources said Ms. Rao had an “excellent” meeting, which lasted for more than an hour on Tuesday, with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

She also met Iran’s point person on nuclear talks, Saeed Jalili, widely known as a confidant of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mr. Jalili had led the Iranian delegation for talks, held last year in Geneva, in which the Americans had also participated.

He also led the Iranian side to talks held in Autumn in Vienna, where a deal was proposed to swap Iran’s stocks of lightly enriched uranium with atomic fuel rods for use in a Tehran research reactor engaged in producing medical isotopes.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 07 Feb 2010 09:10

A good summation of consequences of bad Taliban coming to power in Afghanistan.

RayC wrote:If the Taliban returns, then the geographical extent of Pakistan would encompass Afghanistan; even if it is not declared territorially as Pakistan property. Pakistan, the failed state, would get a financial fillip since it would then directly control the illegal poppy cultivation and sale (they indirectly still control, but it is in the hands of private individuals and military satraps). This would thus assist Pakistan to rise from their begging bowl culture and may give them some freedom of action to perpetuate heinous crimes against the world; more so, India.

The biggest issue would be that if Taliban was in governance, it would release their ‘fighters’ to plague India in Kashmir and elsewhere. Unemployed, disgruntled, illogically charged with religious frenzy, such ‘fighters’ channelized to wreak havoc and run amuck, away from Pakistan, would be a huge problem for all, more so, for India.

As it is ‘the surplus to the establishment’ is in Kashmir, and so with no problems in the NWFP, Afghanistan and Swat, they will swarm into Kashmir and India. The terrorists in Kashmir are basically Talibans with the plethora of foreign Islamic individuals including from Pakistan. The local terrorists are used basically as porters, guides and gathering intelligence.

It would be worth noting that Terrorism in Kashmir started in the 80s but it intensified once the Taliban took over Afghanistan. This freed much of the Mujhs, who were thus unemployed and required to be kept busy lest they created problems in Pakistan. Frenzied with religious zeal they were ideal for the Holy War in Kashmir - the war of a thousand cuts. That is where the first brush India had with the terrorists (Taliban unemployed being the frontliners)

Strategic depth is a term in military literature that refers, broadly speaking, to the distances between the front line or battle sectors and the combatants’ industrial core areas, capital cities, heartlands, and other key centres of population or military production. Therefore, one wonders what strategic depth is achieved by Pakistan by having influence in Afghanistan. As I see it, it is hype to build a bogey as to how important Afghanistan is to Pakistan and thereby nullifying Indian interest in Afghanistan and declare it as Indian interference and hegemonic desires!


By having influence in Afghanistan, Pakistan can dismantle the terrorist training camps in Pakistan and shift it to Afghanistan and sit back smug and pretend she is clean and earn brownies from the world.

Let those battling the Taliban stew in their own juice and let it continue as long as it can since if it is solved, then it would release the Pakistani Army to once again stew up issues on their Eastern borders as also release the unemployed Taliban to wreak havoc inside Kashmir. Currently, the Taliban is also depleting the Pakistan Army of trained soldiers by making them become martyrs.


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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 07 Feb 2010 09:15

I wrote this in 2001 for BRMonitor.

Indian interests in post Taliban Afghanistan


..
Indian interests in Afghanistan can be divided into security, political, economic and miscellaneous.

The security interests can be further divided into internal and external. The worsening internal security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has coincided with the rise of the Taliban. The existence of a client regime in Afghanistan had allowed Pakistan to move ISI run terrorist into Afghanistan, outside the range of Indian security forces. Pakistani terrorists were further reinforced by foreign elements that have taken part in the war against the Soviets. Additionally, the Taliban had provided aid and shelter to criminals like the hijackers of the Indian Airlines plane IC 814. Hence the Taliban were closely involved in insurgencies and terrorism directed against the Indian state and its people. Not surprisingly, the closure of terrorist camps across Afghanistan is top priority for India. Furthermore, the narcotics trade originating in Afghanistan is used to fund the ISI's covert operations against India and the cutting-off this source is a key Indian objective. This also reduces the drug supplies to the underworld and has ripple effects in the Indian society. The external security is impacted in an indirect manner. Pakistan was hoping to create 'strategic depth' in Taliban controlled Afghanistan. This was meant to stage their reserves in Afghanistan out of reach of Indian armed forces. In addition it was able to divert troops towards the Indian border taking advantage of a friendly regime in the West. The presence of an assertive regime, which puts Afghan interests first, would relieve the pressure on Indian borders. It would reduce the room for strategic maneuver available to Pakistani forces.

In addition to the security interests there are political interests. Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic state. It has Sunni Pashtuns in the south and Tajiks, Uzbeks in the North, and Shia Hazaras in the centre. A composite ethnic state can exist only with representative government. If Afghanistan succeeds it will be a model for the Islamic world and should be supported as a global effort. Afghanistan is the gateway to Central Asia. A radical regime in Afghanistan could export its brand of beliefs and destabilize Central Asia and the newly emergent republics of the post Soviet era. This region is the home of the last great energy finds in the world and destabilization here would effect energy prices everywhere and impact economic growth needed for India to take its rightful place. The British drew the Durand Line, between present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan and it was in effect till the last decade when the treaty lapsed. It has not been renegotiated and could be a contentious cause between the two states. At a minimum this issue will preclude their coming together for a common cause against India.

India’s economic interests are no less significant. After the destruction wrought by the Soviet takeover, the civil war for control between Taliban and the Northern Alliance and the US bombing campaign to dislodge the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden, reconstruction is major priority. India can help in this reconstruction and rebuild the infrastructure. [b]Entire segments of the economy have to be rebuilt - communications, transport, education, health care and civil administration and military training. Even if the pipeline does not come through Afghanistan, the presence of a moderate regime in Afghanistan will enhance the flow of oil, which is essential for economic stability. Other interests include cultural and historic ties with the people of Afghanistan, which go back long in time. There is no need to wax romantic about these but they are not insignificant - Tandoori cuisine, Kabuliwala moneylenders immortalized in story by Tagore and Balraj Sahani in film. It is heartening that the songs that the Afghans sang after the liberation of Kabul are those from Bollywood – India’s film industry.
...


....Successive Indian governments have been quite aware of these interests and sought to advance them in spite of the limited scope for such moves. The main thrust was to support the central regime in order to ensure that the country does not split along factional lines. .....

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby shaunb » 07 Feb 2010 12:10

John Simpson (BBC) interviewing Stanley McChrystal

Cannot download the video so if anyone has access please download and watch.

General Stanley mentions Mulllar Omar as being the leader and kind of mentions him to be among the good taliban books. He also mentions they have a whole list of the so called good taliban.


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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Gerard » 08 Feb 2010 03:32


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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Prem » 09 Feb 2010 02:21

Waziris are actually sick and tired of Pakjabis
http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/war-te ... t-taj.html
S-2's E-mails With Ms. Farhat Taj

We are incompetent, if perfection defines competency. There continues to exist an incomplete understanding of the depth of penetration that Al Qaeda has achieved both within Pakistan as well as globally. As such, perfectly thorough targeting of these enemies within FATA is impossible to achieve. We are doing our best to eliminate this scourge despite very incomplete assistance from the various Pakistani governments since 2001. Had we our way, Pakistan would have ejected Omar, Osama Bin Laden, Haqqani, and Hekmatyar when they retreated into Pakistan following their defeat in Afghanistan in late 2001. This didn't happen for a variety of now obvious geo-strategic reasons relating to Pakistan's continued interference in Afghan internal affaris through its pursuit of strategic depth/influence.
Al Qaeda's leaders may yet flee Pakistan's tribal areas. Were I Zawahiri or Bin Laden I would attempt to do so but I believe Bin Laden is quite ill. I also believe that Al Qaeda believes that their best chance of acquiring a nuclear weapon or fissionable material lies in the continuing de-stabilization and radicalization of the Pakistani state. This, by itself, might mitigate some of your concerns about an enmasse migration.
Steven Pitcock


I am getting so many emails from Muslim in different countries in response to my this Op-Ed- they say that I have rightly pointed out the root cause of the security problem in the Muslim world i.e. Al-Qaida is strategic asset of the US, which it is relating from one Muslim society to another. The perception would be greatly challenged if people of Waziristan argue differently following the US elimination of Al-Qaida and Taliban on their soil. By eliminating of Al-Qaida and Taliban, they mean, destroy their training camps, headquarters, their weapons storages, their vehicles including Haqni's terror sectariat in North Waziristan, and kill their top and middle level leaders, preferably along with all adult male heirs of Al-Qaid and Taliban, both Pakhtun ad Punjabi.In terms of civilian causalities- the terrorists are careful now. They no more keep their families close to them. The only thing that people of Waziristan say is bothersome about the drone attacks is loud sound of the explosions which scares their children.
Farhat Taj

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby abhishek_sharma » 09 Feb 2010 07:06

Indian Motion

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/02/04/indian_motion
There was a lone dissenter at last week's Afghanistan conference in London: India.

As representatives from more than 60 countries convened at the historic Lancaster House, New Delhi's representative to the summit, Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, emphasized to his British counterpart that it would be a monumental folly, at this juncture, to make a distinction "between a good Taliban and a bad Taliban" or to legitimize the former through reaching out. From India's perspective, because the Taliban was originally an extension of Pakistan's intelligence agency and because it has been used by Islamabad to mount attacks against India, there can be no "good Taliban."

But Krishna, seated in the second row, was politely ignored. Alas, it wasn't the first time.

...

For New Delhi, the "AfPak" debate is really just about "Pak."

Thus far, India's policy toward Pakistan has been hands-off, leaving it to the paymasters in Washington and London. In the immediate aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, New Delhi even acceded to Washington's requests and took no action against Islamabad in order to facilitate the war in Afghanistan.

But now that dynamic is changing. As control of Afghanistan is being gradually handed back to the Taliban, an increasingly alarmed New Delhi will start looking for ways to prevent trouble. Although deployment of troops has been categorically ruled out by Defense Minister A.K. Antony, pressure will probably mount on the government to reconsider that decision. New Delhi will actively work to resuscitate remnants of the Northern Alliance, India's longstanding allies against the Taliban.

...

As India's junior foreign minister, Shashi Tharoor, put it, "The reason that Kabul has 24 hours of electricity a day is because of Indian engineers who have actually delivered the power supply."

...

What this means is that India, the only stable secular democracy in the region, is being actively prevented from helping in Afghanistan in order to appease the Pakistani regime, lest it re-enact the carnage that was visited upon Mumbai in 2008 and the Indian Embassy in Kabul in 2008 and 2009. Which raises the question: Is the U.S. objective in Afghanistan to oust the Taliban, or is it to secure the country for Pakistan? To New Delhi, the answer looks increasingly like the latter.

...

Today, the tragic irony of President Barack Obama, who invokes the virtues of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi while simultaneously making overtures to the Taliban in an oxymoronic pursuit for "moderate extremists," has not been lost on India. A tiny but vocal band of skeptics in India is already questioning the wisdom of New Delhi's alignment with the United States over the last ten years. Of course, it is unlikely that New Delhi would directly oppose U.S. policy in the region. But in the first year of the Obama administration, much of the progress achieved over a decade of aggressive diplomacy to bring India closer to the United States has been undone.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby ramana » 11 Feb 2010 23:18

Two paras in Nightwatch for 2/10/10

Pakistan: Security. Pakistani government officials and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistani Taliban or TTP) confirmed the death of Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, Dawn News reported 9 February. Today, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that Qari Hussain Mehsud, a co-leader with Hakimullah Mehsud might also have been killed in the US remotely piloted aircraft attack on 14 January.

According to Dawn News, Maulvi Noor Jamal was appointed the new TTP chief. Maulvi Noor Jamal, also known as Maulana Tufan, was named acting chief of the Taliban by a shura held in Orakzai agency. Tufan refers to a violent wind and rain storm. The nom de guerre apparently describes Noor Jamal’s temperament.

Comment: The Mehsud clan appears to have a ready supply of violent men willing to lead the Pakistani Taliban. Leadership is personality driven, according to all reports, and based on personal knowledge as a rule. Thus a shura or council is necessary to try to unite the movement to support a new leader. For example, according to Pakistani news sources, Qari Hussain Mehsud refused to cooperate with Hakimullah Mehsud unless they shared the leadership.

It is quintessentially modern western to think that the loss of a leader is a major setback. The loss of a leader is important primarily because it fractures the movement. Allegiances are personal and do not transfer automatically just because a shura elects a new leader or set of leaders.

The fractiousness of the Mehsud Pashtuns means that it takes time to rebuild the movement after each leader is killed. That is the good news. The not so good news is that decapitation of the leadership, once again, is proving to be not a permanent solution to the anti-government movement in Pakistan. What this means is that no student of pre-modern warfare should ever postulate that, by itself, decapitation is a permanent solution.

The US drones and missiles have killed dozens, perhaps scores, of so-called leaders, but the movement remains a threat to Pakistan’s internal stability. One might be tempted to think that perceptive people could see a lesson here.

The other not so good news is that each successive leader is more virulent than his predecessors, has fewer lines of communication to Pakistani intelligence and is under more pressure to prove his leadership qualities. Permanent solutions to internal instability always are systemic, not idiosyncratic. Killing leaders supports an illusion of progress, but not the reality because they keep on showing up.

Afghanistan: Today’s international news services reported the start of probing operation by the US Marines near Marjah in Helmand Province. With their usual gift for exaggeration, most services have swallowed the information swill that the Taliban have dug in and intend to fight for Marjah.

Nothing in the past eight years of combat supports the notion that the Taliban are suicidal fools. The media narrative is fiction. A few cursory searches of the Internet would find statements by the Afghan Taliban leadership stating that the Taliban will not take on the might of the US armed forces.

Further research would show that only about 1,000 Coalition and Afghan soldiers are in the spearhead of this offensive. That does not qualify this as the decisive action of the campaign, which the NATO command, to its credit, has not said.

The media have been taken in by a clever tactic of announcing the target of this offensive, which is far from the largest of the conflict. It is crafted to clear Marjah District center, where the Taliban succeeded in establishing themselves by 2007, in the absence of a strong government presence.

NightWatch monthly specials that year warned that Marjah was one of the districts in Helmand Province under stress.

The cleverness in the public announcements is that there are no innocent civilians in Marjah now. Anyone non-fighters in Marjah now may be considered Taliban sympathizers and supporters and need not impede the application of air power or the use of artillery. Any person encountered in the target zone must be presumed to be hostile as a first order inference.

Marjah is a killing zone. That is why the Taliban will not be there in strength. The fight to recapture Marjah District for the government only begins with the offensive. The outcome is obvious because the Taliban have no anti-aircraft weapons and no ability to stand against armor. They refuse to defend territory.

Holding Marjah District for the government so that the Taliban can never return is the centerpiece of the struggle and McChrystal’s new tactics.

.....


IEDs. Update. The Taliban claim they have invented a new bomb that defeats US detection vehicles and technology. A BBC report from the UK forces supporting Operation Together” in Marjah lends credence to the Taliban claim, after the detection vehicle was disabled by a bomb it was supposed to detect yesterday.

The Taliban posted to the Net the following statement, “After assessing the enemy's new technology, the mine makers and explosives experts of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan modified the types and construction of their bombs. They now have adopted such a technology which the enemy detection equipment cannot detect.”

”A bomb making expert of the Islamic Emirate told the Al-Emarah website: "The mojahedin have now made a special remote-controlled bomb called Omar which is more powerful then the other mines. The main characteristic of this bomb is that it is more difficult to detect. The mojahedin have tested this new remote-controlled bomb and the results have been positive. We have used this bomb in various parts of the country against the enemy mine-detector vehicles and the results were successful."

”He said their technique was very simple and cost little and that they can make a powerful bomb. An average mine costs only 85 dollars which is not that much, but in turn it inflicts millions of dollars worth of damage on the enemy in addition to the loss of life.”

Comment: No other source has reported on the use of a new bomb.

A key point is that the Afghan Taliban are innovative. They learn, as do all living systems. That makes them much more sinister than an adaptive organism, which is one that just learns to cope.

The Taliban aim to win, not to co-exist. Co-existence in the form of power sharing is a political tactic in a campaign to achieve ultimate political victory. Innovation is what they apply to the battlefield, as they can. It is important to get the definitional language correct, if one hopes to discover or devise an effective response. The key teaching point is that Taliban learn and get better.




I think the lesson also applies to India-TSP talks. India is on the co-existence path due to its Modernism and TSP is on the winning path of "Live and Let Die!" pre-Modernism. I submit that TSP took a step backwards in order to survive.

svinayak
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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby svinayak » 11 Feb 2010 23:21

ramana wrote: I submit that TSP took a step backwards in order to survive.

Not only for survival but they are looking for dominance in the long term in the sub continent.
Can the Indian living learning organism work on system so that it will be dominant in perpetuity. There will not be any problem with the demographics.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Paul » 11 Feb 2010 23:50

I submit that TSP took a step backwards in order to survive.


Is it enough? and isn't it too late???

The proto virus is growing to epidemic proportions....

Pakistan should thank Sir Mortimer Durand for defining their western borders (afghania only) with Shah of Iran (Balochistan - thank the Ispahani/Bhutto link for that) and Sir Radcliffe for their eastern ones. Since their planners focus on the Radcliffe line but ignore the existential threat to the western line, this step back may not be enough to stave off the threat to their survival. It requires a change in their vision as well.

Bangladesh OTOH has done well to wake up to the threat to their polity...If they can keep their focus for another 10 years, they will have pulled it off.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Paul » 12 Feb 2010 00:04

The Ottoman empire also recognized the threat posed by western modernism and took a number of steps like disbanding of Janissaries and introduction of western science to improve their security. But the mistake they made was in thinking these changes need not be applied to civilinan society and apply them to military sciences only....However these steps enabled them to muddle through for another 100 years...TSP's leadership which is nowhere capable to the Ottoman pashas will last much less than that...

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby Prem » 12 Feb 2010 00:20

Iranians are positioning themselves as one of the main bulwarks against T.
Taliban extremism will spread to India, says Iran
Taliban-linked extremism in Afghanistan is blossoming because of Western intervention there and is set to spread to India, Central Asia and Arab states, Iran's foreign minister has warned.Iran is deeply concerned to prevent the spread of the drugs trade and extremism from Afghanistan, but is also bitterly critical of the NATO-led and UN-sanctioned mission in the country, Manouchehr Mottaki said.'The policies imposed in recent years ... in security, fighting against extremism and drug traffic - the policies in this respect are all defeated and failed,' Mottaki told a midnight session of the prestigious Munich Security Conference.Taliban-linked extremism 'can be divided into two (regional) branches: one is going to spread to the Arab countries, the other to India and Central Asia', Mottaki warned

http://feeds.bignewsnetwork.com/?sid=598060

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby shravan » 12 Feb 2010 00:26

Afghan: 5 Americans wounded in attack at US base

KABUL -- An Afghan official says a suicide attacker wearing a police uniform blew himself up at a U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan, wounding five Americans.

The spokesman for Paktia province, Roullah Samoun, says the attack occurred Thursday night in the Dand aw Patan district near the Pakistan border about 35 miles (70 kilometers) east of Gardez.

A U.S. spokesman, Lt. Col. Todd Vician, says U.S. officials have a report that some Americans were wounded, but he had no further details.

The reported attack occurred about 400 miles (640 kilometers) northeast of a Taliban town under siege by U.S. and Afghan troops in Helmand province.

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Re: Af-Pak -> Pak-Af Watch

Postby krisna » 12 Feb 2010 03:47

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100211/ap_on_re_as/as_afghan_the_breacher
Image
In comes "The Joker."
That's the nickname given by the crew to one of the 72-ton, 40-foot (12-meter)-long Assault Breacher Vehicles. Fitted with a plow and nearly 7,000 pounds (3,175 kilograms) of explosives, the Breachers, as they are commonly known, are the Marines Corps' answer to the deadliest threat facing NATO troops in Afghanistan: thousands of land mines and roadside bombs, or improvised explosive devices, that litter the Afghan landscape.

Developed by the Marines since the 1990s and costing US$3.5 million apiece,


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