India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

kasthuri
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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby kasthuri » 28 Jan 2009 07:09

Guddu wrote:Could you pl. explain why the US should help free Baluchistan ?...I can see why we would want to do that, but what is the US interest to free Baluchistan as opposed to say Waziristan?


I would guess US would at least want to contain Iran based insurgency. Gurus, please correct.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 28 Jan 2009 07:46

kasthuri wrote:
Guddu wrote:Could you pl. explain why the US should help free Baluchistan ?...I can see why we would want to do that, but what is the US interest to free Baluchistan as opposed to say Waziristan?


I would guess US would at least want to contain Iran based insurgency. Gurus, please correct.
Even I would like to know, if we find an answer. Thanks.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ramana » 28 Jan 2009 07:59

kasthuri wrote:
Guddu wrote:Could you pl. explain why the US should help free Baluchistan ?...I can see why we would want to do that, but what is the US interest to free Baluchistan as opposed to say Waziristan?


I would guess US would at least want to contain Iran based insurgency. Gurus, please correct.


ShauryaT wrote:Even I would like to know, if we find an answer. Thanks.


if you read Chuck Brobst on the "Olaf Caroe and Future of Great Game", the US interest in TSP was always Baluchistan. Apparently Curtis Lemay mapped that area is being the direct route to heartland FSU. So there interest in Baluchistan predates the formation of TSP by Brits.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Sanjay M » 28 Jan 2009 08:24

Guddu wrote:Could you pl. explain why the US should help free Baluchistan ?...I can see why we would want to do that, but what is the US interest to free Baluchistan as opposed to say Waziristan?


Baluchistan is a land corridor to Afghanistan. Since when does Waziristan have its own coastline? Furthermore, Baluchistan also extends into Iran, and so the Pak-occupied portion of it would serve as a natural springboard for "liberating" the Iranian-occupied portion of it.

Who could ask for more?

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby kasthuri » 28 Jan 2009 08:57

Just now was hearing to C-SPAN in which Robert Gates was telling that Iran plays both sides. On one hand, it needs close relationship with Afghanistan and on the other hand it supplies arms to Taliban/AlQ to fight a proxy war with the Americans. This concurs with the Stratfor analysis in the previous page. This could be the possible reason why US might want to engage with Iran.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby kasthuri » 28 Jan 2009 09:53

More stories coming...though I will not give too much credit to the media.

India has key role to play in Afghanistan: US

India has key role to play in Afghanistan: US
January 28th, 2009 - 10:24 am ICT by IANS

Washington, Jan 28 (IANS) Advocating a regional approach to Afghanistan, the US defence chief has said that India has an important role to play there despite historic tensions with Pakistan accentuated by Mumbai terror attacks.In “Afghanistan, a regional approach is critical. And it includes not just Afghanistan, but Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday at a media briefing on US National Security Strategy.

I also believe that India plays an important role here,” he said at his first media interaction after the Jan 20 inauguration of President Barack Obama. “India has taken significantly positive steps to invest in Afghanistan, has for some period of time,” he noted.

“And certainly Iran, as a bordering state, plays a role as well,” said Mullen suggesting “it is important to engage Iran” in a dialogue “that finds some mutual interests, there is potential there for moving ahead together.”

But I really leave that to the diplomats to lead with that dialogue.”

Asked if Pakistan is concerned about India’s expanding role in Afghanistan, Mullen said: “When I talk about a regional approach, I include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran as well as India.

“And I think the regional countries in there have a very significant stake in stability and in outcomes which are positive, in that region, as opposed to those that might go in the other direction.”

“So I think the strategic leadership and views, opinions and support provided, by India, will be very clear,” Mullen said noting, “India has taken significantly positive steps to invest in Afghanistan, has for some period of time.”

“And yet there’s certainly a historic tension that’s there, between Pakistan and India, obviously accentuated greatly as a result of the Mumbai attacks,” Mullen said.

But he was comforted that the strategic leadership, in both Pakistan and India, has been such that any kind of conflict did not break after Mumbai attacks, blamed on Pakistan-based terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

And I think continuing in that direction, in the future, is very important, as we resolve that particular-the Mumbai attacks, I think, properly as opposed to getting in any kind of conflict.

So each country has got significant stakes in the region. And I think it’s the joint contribution of all those countries, which would help us move- which could help us move forward in a positive way.

In reply to a question about military-to-military relationship with Pakistan, Mullen said he had “a very strong relationship” with Pakistan army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, as also Admiral Sureesh Mehta, chairman of India’s Chiefs of Staff Committee.

“So my relations are not just limited to Pakistan,” he said adding, Kayani has “got some huge challenges, as does Admiral Mehta in India. I mean, we all have huge challenges.”

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby kasthuri » 28 Jan 2009 10:30

Guys,

Complete security briefing available @ Joint Chiefs Chair Security Strategy Update Brief

Joint Chiefs Chair Security Strategy Update Brief
Wednesday, 28 January 2009, 3:48 pm
Press Release: US Foreign Press Center

FOREIGN PRESS CENTER BRIEFING WITH ADMIRAL MIKE MULLEN, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF

Admiral Mike Mullen

TOPIC: U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY UPDATE
THE WASHINGTON FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2009 1:10 P.M. EST

MODERATOR: Hello, and welcome to the Washington Foreign Press Center. Today we have Admiral Mike Mullen, who is here to deliver a U.S. national security strategy update. Without further ado, here is the Admiral.

ADM MULLEN : Good afternoon, everyone. It's great to be back here with you. I just would like to start off with a few very broad points, and then certainly get right to your questions.

First, I know there's been a lot of speculation and discussion about our way forward in Iraq here with the new Administration in office. Secretary Gates and I have met with President Obama several times about this, mostly recently with the rest of the new national security team. Those discussions have been very helpful, and I believe necessarily broad in scope, as the President assesses the risks in Iraq and the assumptions upon which any future decisions about force levels should be made.

I'm working hard, along with the Secretary and our commanders in the field, to prepare for the President several planning options, all of which will meet his desire for a responsible drawdown that preserves the security gains we have made in Iraq and protects our forces. We hope to be able to present these options to him in the very near future.

Military leaders are also working hard with the national security team as they craft the new strategy for the way forward in Afghanistan. The President has made it clear that he wants that strategy to be appropriately inclusive of our relationship with Pakistan as well as other nations in the region. I will not get out ahead of this effort, though we have on the Joint Staff been thinking our way through this for many months and are ready to contribute to it.

You all have been covering recent events in Afghanistan long enough to know that the situation there grows increasingly perilous every day. Suicide and IED attacks are up, some say as much as 40 percent over the last year. The Taliban grows bolder implanting fear and intimidating the Afghan people, and the flow of militants across the border with Pakistan continues. That's why we take seriously our commanders' request for more forces and it's why we value the contributions of all of our allies and Afghan partners.

I do not dispute the notion that we could use more such contributions, but neither do I discount the ones that have been made by so many other nations for so many years. Though military forces will never be enough to achieve a stable Afghanistan, we all agree that the security they provide is a necessary component to that success. And we all agree that this security is best achieved through and with the Afghan people with them in the lead, them ultimately in control. The Afghan people, not the Taliban, not the extremists, are the real centers of gravity in this war. And their security must be the focus of our operations going forward.

And with that, I'm glad to take your questions.

MODERATOR: Please wait for the microphone, which could be coming from either side, and please limit yourself to one question. We'll take as many as time permits. Right down here, you, sir. Sorry. Please state your name and publication as well.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) from the Voice of America (inaudible) service. Admiral Mullen my question is: The U.S. military is reportedly launching a pilot program in Wardak province to arm citizen groups to fight the Taliban based on the Awakening project in Iraq. There is a lot of criticism of this plan, especially among Afghans who fear that more weapons will actually add to instability. Can you please tell us how and by whom this pilot program will be evaluated?

ADM MULLEN: The Commander, General David McKiernan, is both responsible for its execution and its evaluation. And he has initiated this program after serious study of what's the best way to move forward. And it's being initiated as a pilot, which by definition is small, and in that regard, controlled, and certainly to be consistent with the same kind of outcome or desired outcome that we've seen in Iraq, and in particular, where it started to turn around in Iraq, which was in Anbar province.

So we don't say that this is the answer. There's the totality of the challenges that we have in Afghanistan, not just in security, but certainly, having an Afghan face on this and Afghans providing for their own security, we think is a real critical part of the future of succeeding in Afghanistan.

QUESTION: Hello. Kim Landers from Australian Broadcasting. The Australian Government has indicated that it may now be prepared to send more troops to Afghanistan if there is a tactical or a strategic justification. Would you welcome that? And can you give them the tactical or strategic justification for doing so?

ADM MULLEN: Well, my counterpart in Australia, and certainly the Australian Government, has been very supportive of what we are striving to achieve in Afghanistan, and have been supportive not just in terms of what has happened, but the commitment to the future. And there are both strategic objectives and the ability to, certainly right now, provide security for the people being a key one, and broadly in Afghanistan, making sure that we don't – we don't provide for circumstances that would create another safe haven, those broad – that kind of broad objective that also gets at security, stability, and then helping the Afghan people develop and assisting them in governance.

So there's a full range of both strategic objectives and tactical ways that we need to get at that. And the Australian troops who have been there have been exceptional, and they are – Australia is one of upwards of 42 countries in Afghanistan. And we need the assistance across a broad – broad group of requirements, not just military, to assist in moving us forward there in a very positive way.

QUESTION: Christian Wernicke from the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung. Sir, the U.S. has asked in the past for more contributions, military contributions from especially the European allies. And the National Security Advisor of the new President can tell you, certainly, about the success of these requests in the past. What makes you think that the Europeans will change their mind? Is the President himself perhaps the most convincing asset to get more troops out of Europe into Afghanistan?

ADM MULLEN: I've spent a lot of time myself with my counterparts, as has Secretary Gates, to push European countries, NATO members to provide as much capability as they possibly can. And I recognize there are limits on that. And despite what has been out there from a – in terms of criticism, I – it's – I'm very – I should note, routinely, that we have 10,000 more troops from NATO there this year than we had last year. So contributions have actually come, and we need those contributions and we will need more.

I am hopeful that should – should, you know, our new President ask, that countries would be responsive. We have a need, again, not just military, across the full spectrum -- certainly, military troops. We have financial requirements. We have requirements across governance as well as economics where we need that kind of assistance. So again, above my pay grade, but I'm certainly hopeful that our new President will ask, and that his counterparts will respond.

QUESTION: Admiral, my name is Renzo Cianfanelli, and I represent the Italian media (inaudible) Corriere della Sera (inaudible) and Rome. I have two questions. One relates to Afghanistan and the other one to Guantanamo.

QUESTION: On Afghanistan, it is believed in certain circumstances and (inaudible) so this was also the opinion of General Petraeus that to be effective, we should also engage Iran. What is your view about this and about the level of forces in Afghanistan, do you expect the members of NATO in Europe to do more in terms of manpower? Question number two --

ADM MULLEN: I think as I said in my statement, opening statement, with respect to Afghanistan a regional approach is critical. And it includes not just Afghanistan, but Afghanistan and Pakistan. I also believe that India plays an important role here. And certainly Iran, as a bordering state, plays a role as well. And to the degree that we are able to dialogue with them, find some mutual interests, there is potential there for moving ahead together. But I really leave that to the diplomats to lead with that dialogue. I have said for many, many, months I think it was – it's been – it is important to engage Iran. Iran is unhelpful in many, many ways in many, many areas. And so I wouldn't be overly optimistic at this point. But there are mutual interests and I think that that might offer some possibilities.

QUESTION: This is Umit Enginsoy with Turkish NTV television. Admiral, under the new Administration, will the U.S. and Turkish militaries continue with their intelligence-sharing against the PKK? Thank you.

ADM MULLEN: My relationship with General Basbug and the military-to-military relationship with Turkey has been one that we cherish for many, many decades. And certainly it's been one that we worked very hard on recently, and one that I feel very positive about. And in particular, that focus on intelligence-sharing with respect to what we've done with Turkey in the last – over the better part of the last year, has been very important. And I see no indication that that won't continue.

QUESTION: This is Lalit Jha from Press Trust of India. You spoke about India's role in Afghanistan. Could you elaborate on it? And also, is Pakistan concerned about – why is Pakistan concerned about India's expanding role in Afghanistan?

ADM MULLEN: I think there – when I talk about a regional approach, I include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, as well as India. And I think the regional countries in there have a very significant stake in stability and in outcomes which are positive in that region, as opposed to those that might go in the other direction. So I think the strategic leadership and views, opinions and support provided by India will be very clear. India has taken significantly positive steps to invest in Afghanistan – has for some period of time. And yet, there's certainly a historic tension that's there between Pakistan and India, obviously accentuated greatly as the result of the Mumbai attacks. And I think – and I am comforted that the strategic leadership in both Pakistan and India has been such that we have not had any kind of conflict break out as a result of Mumbai. And I think continuing in that direction in important – in the future is very important, as we resolve that particular – the Mumbai attacks, I think properly as opposed to getting in any kind of conflict. So each country has got significant stakes in the region. And I think it's the joint contribution of all those countries, which would help us move – which could help us move forward in a positive way.

QUESTION: My name is Nazira Karimi. I'm a correspondent for Ariana television from Afghanistan. Most of the Afghan people and experts in Afghanistan, they think that for the lack of security in Afghanistan, upcoming presidential election will be postponed. Do you have any special comment about it?

ADM MULLEN: I think it – actually, I very much look forward to the Presidential election this year. All I have seen – all indications that I've seen so far are that the elections are planned for the summer time frame – August-September time fame is what I understand them to be right now. I know that at least from the government leadership standpoint, expectations are that they will occur in that time frame. And I've seen no indication that they would be postponed at all.

QUESTION: Admiral Mullen, Sebastian Walker from Al Jazeera here. What do you see as the single biggest challenge facing the U.S. military? Do you see Afghanistan or Iraq or maybe the nuclear threat from Iran? What's the single biggest challenge facing the U.S. military? And can you also speak a little bit about the threat that you see still remains from al-Qaida?

ADM MULLEN: I think the top priority for us right now is Afghanistan and Pakistan. And I think President Obama has made that clear. And you see that emphasized, and you will see that emphasized, in terms of where the military will be engaged. I mean, we've talked for weeks now about General McKiernan's additional request for forces. We've looked at planning options to support that, even though all those decisions have not been made yet. And all that, to me, sends a very strong message that Afghanistan and Pakistan are at the top of the list. The assignment or – the selection of former Ambassador Holbrooke to focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan, I think, is another very strong signal. So that's at the top of the list right now.

The issue with respect to Iran developing nuclear weapons is still of great concern to me. I consider it to be -- to that possibility to potentially be very destabilizing in a region that doesn't have a lot of stability right now, although we're working in a more positive direction. Overall, if you consider the stability that has been created in Iraq, compared to certain – where we were a year or 18 months ago.

And with respect to al-Qaida, the biggest concern we have with respect to them is the existence of them in the FATA and Pakistan and the need to make sure that that threat, that safe haven is eliminated, and isn't created or recreated in Afghanistan or some other place like Somalia or Yemen. And I have seen, as you look at what's happened with al-Qaida in Iraq, they're still there. They still can – create spectacular tragedies, if you will. But they are very much on the run and diminished from where they were as recently as a year ago.

QUESTION: Hi. My name is Toshinari Kurose from Japanese newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun. And it's about Afghanistan. And what kind of contribution do you expect from Japan, the country which has the limitation on dispatching armed forces overseas, but the expectations from the United States is obviously high regarding this issue?

ADM MULLEN: Well, as I said, for the 42 countries that are there, any kind of contribution, I feel, is going to be significant. And where Japan has been supportive for many years now, has been -- in particular, the support of the oilers and to support ships at sea for an extended period of time. That was significant. When we lost it, for the period of time that we did, that was significant. And its resumption is important as well. But additional kinds of capabilities, whether they would be medical or economic, or anything along those lines – education – all of those are more than welcome. They're needed and they're welcome. And it's in the totality of those that I think we move – of meeting those requirements that we actually move ahead in Afghanistan.

QUESTION: Markus Ziener, German newspaper Handelsblatt. General Petraeus the other day talked about opening new support lines north of Afghanistan for the U.S. troops. Is that an indication that maybe Pakistan is not a reliable and safe country anymore?

ADM MULLEN: Actually, for my money, it's more of an indication of prudent military planning, where we always want more than one choice. And having the one single line of communication was, obviously, higher risk than having more than that. And so we've worked for many months now, not just in the last few week – we've worked for many, many months now to look at options with respect to other lines of communications. And it looks like we are going to have those in a way that gives us redundancy, which any military planner, and actually, any military commander, is going to want to have.

QUESTION: Andrzej Dobrowolski, Radio France, International. The Bush Administration was ready to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic American – the American missile defense system. As we know, it is a contentious issue. Russia hates this project, and also in the United States there is some opposition. Could you predict, sir, what would be the future of this project?

ADM MULLEN: Predictions also get into hypotheticals that I don't like to spend a lot of time on. I certainly recognize what you said. It's an important capability. It's actually focused on a threat which is evolving from the Middle East, which can reach Europe. But as we move forward here with a new Administration, I look forward to the new Administration certainly, and its relationship in particular with Poland and Czechoslovakia [Editor's note: Czech Republic], to figure out, based on what has been signed up to – and there's been a – and certainly, there's been a commitment on the part of the United States in particular in both those two countries – as to how we move ahead. And so I think there's – you know, as we look forward to that, we'll see exactly how that's going to end up.

QUESTION: Because you don't like – oh, sorry, Mark Simkin, Australian Broadcasting TV. Because you don't like hypotheticals, will the United States be asking allies such as Australia to provide more resources to Afghanistan? And is there a risk, given what you've said, of the mission not succeeding if allies across the world – U.S. allies – don't step up to the plate?

ADM MULLEN: I mean, I'm not the one to ask. It really is for the President to do that, so I wouldn't speak for him. I've spoken to it from the standpoint of there's – there is, I believe, a lot of goodwill that he has and opportunity associated with that, but it really is up for him and his team to figure out who they want to ask for what.

The risk of where we are in Afghanistan right now in terms of outcomes, I think it's – the risk is pretty high right now because it's not going well and it hasn't been going well for a significant period of time. So we need resources to do that. The most significant part of that right now is really to secure the Afghan people and, in doing so, put an Afghan face on this, as I said in my opening comments, because I really believe the Afghan people are the center of gravity here for future success.

And so all contributions along those lines, as well as the economic, the development, the education, the medical, the governance and all those, are going to be more than welcome.

QUESTION: General, President Obama promised to pull out the troops in 16 months from Iraq. As a military professional, do you see that as realistic?

ADM MULLEN: The President has – I've met with the President a couple times on this. As I indicated in my opening comments, we've discussed the entirety of both Iraq and Afghanistan. We actually – the Joint Chiefs meet with him tomorrow to also do the same thing. And in that, we've discussed a range of options and the risk that's associated with each option. And we have planned – we have plans for a full range of options, to include 16 months. And then it is really in the understanding of that that I think the President gets to make his decision be – I want to be as – I'll try to be as clear as I can with risk associated with whatever option we've talked about, and then he makes his decision and we carry it out. And that's really where we are right now.

QUESTION: Thank you, Admiral. Just from your perspective, could you give us some specifics on the way you see the U.S.-Kuwait relationship going forward in terms of continuity and change?

ADM MULLEN: Very important relationship for, you know, many years now, and I think it will continue to be. And I think it is representative of the relations – kinds of relationships that we need in that region. I'll use, you know, the GCC as an example. The regional approach – and there are many details that are tied to the relationship that we have with Kuwait as well as other countries in that region. And I think that that relationship is absolutely vital and that we need to continue to facilitate it, make sure it continues to improve. I mean, the country of Kuwait has been enormously supportive of where we've been. You know we've got thousands that are there all the time in terms of the kind of support we've needed in Iraq in particular. And we cherish that and we think that's representative of, you know, that relationship allowed us to do that. And so I think the relationship will continue to evolve, and hopefully we can make – we can create a region that has more stability as opposed to less stability.

QUESTION: Tal Schneider from Maariv newspaper, Israel. I want to ask about the anti-smuggling efforts that the U.S. Navy has done in Suez Canal, stopping an Iranian ship that was smuggling probably weapons. And is the U.S. intention to convene a conference about anti-smuggling to Gaza Strip in the near future?

ADM MULLEN: Actually, it was a Cypriot-flagged ship that was boarded by a U.S. Navy boarding team after requesting permission from the master and receiving permission to go aboard to inspect for weapons which were – which were considered – which were considered to go against the UN Security Council resolution which banned these kinds of weapons from being shipped from Iran, which is where they came from, to Syria, which is where we believe they're headed and, in fact, will probably get there in the next day or so.

The United States did as much as we could do legally. There are authorities, limitations in complying with this particular UN resolution, and we basically went right up to the edge of that and we couldn't do anything else. So we were not authorized to seize the weapons or do anything like that.

What it does speak to, in my view, is the need to have stronger resolutions, particularly with – in a case like this where Iran has clearly violated a UN Security Council resolution, not unlike they have in the past. And we think those weapons are headed to Syria, which is obviously not a great outcome.

QUESTION: And about the conference, the anti-smuggling conference, is there an anti-smuggling conference planned against smuggling to Gaza Strip?

ADM MULLEN: I'm not sure. I just don't know.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.

QUESTION: Hi, Daniel Ryntjes from Channel News Asia TV. There seems to be continuity in deciding to have targeted air strikes just over the Afghan border into Pakistan. Is – has there been an assessment of this strategy? And has – given that it has alienated aspects of Pakistan, is this being reconsidered, this strategy?

ADM MULLEN: Well, I mean, consistent with this issue from the time we first – you know, that it has been discussed, I really don't talk about any of those kinds of operational details.

QUESTION: Jim Lobe, Interpress Service. Regarding possible overlapping interests with Iran, both with respect to Afghanistan and presumably with Iraq, do you have any signals from Iran like reduction in weapons or anything like that that they are open to a more cooperative attitude? And if relations resume or if that kind of dialogue you've been supporting comes to fruition, could you see them even as a possible NATO supply route into Afghanistan?

ADM MULLEN: I've seen – I have personally seen no indications at this point in time. And again, we've got a new Administration, and I have been an advocate for, you know, dialogue and engagement for a considerable period of time. But that's got to start to occur before I can even get at what the possibilities might be. And it also speaks to the other issue which I just answered – I mean, the question which I just answered, which was, you know, shipping – shipping weapons to Syria that we think, quite frankly, are going to end up in Gaza.

QUESTION: Thank you Mohammed Mandokhil from VOA Afghan Service. A recent statement by President Karzai's office says Afghan Government has asked Russia for military cooperation, and the statement says Russia is ready for such cooperation. My question --

ADM MULLEN: I'm sorry, Russia's what?

QUESTION: Military cooperation.

ADM MULLEN: Yeah.

QUESTION: My question is, do Afghanistan need military cooperation from Russia? If yes, what kind of military cooperation?

ADM MULLEN: Well, I really think that's up to President Karzai for him to make that judgment. In my dealings with my counterpart in Russia, General Makarov, we have talked about mutual goals in Afghanistan. Russia is interested in stability. Russia is not interested in safe havens. Russia is not interested in the return of a terrorist regime there. So I think there are opportunities for all of us to work with Russia on areas of mutual interest, but as far as what Afghanistan itself thinks it needs and will do, that's really up to President Karzai and his people.

QUESTION: Thank you, Toshiya Umehara from Asahi Shimbum, Japanese newspaper. The British Foreign Minister, Mr. Miliband, recently wrote in a commentary that the notion, "war on terror," is misguided and misleading. How do you – how do you think this notion is still valid? And could you share us your own evaluation as to that?

ADM MULLEN: I think – I mean, as we have – I have directly focused in terms of the questions that have come up about Afghanistan and Pakistan and even al-Qaida in Iraq, there are still plenty of terrorists out there who see us – who would do us in as much as possible. That threat stream is still out there and that – it is my responsibility, certainly, to advise the President of the United States and that we focus on making sure that we secure – we provide the security we need for our people.

And that threat is real significant today and will continue to be out there, and I think all of us, including our good friends, the Brits, are very closely aligned at – in terms of the need to get at that. And I would speak to – I mean, very specifically, we've fought side-by-side with the Brits in these two wars. And the UK forces have performed exceptionally well, and we need that not just to have been the case, but to be the case in the future, and I look forward to that continuing.

QUESTION: Yes, this is Jose Diaz with Reforma newspaper from Mexico. In the most recent environment report by the Joint Forces Command, is it – it is considered that Pakistan and Mexico are two countries at the risk of failure. Is this a fair assessment? And what's your current assessment of the situation – the U.S.-Mexico border regarding the drug war?

ADM MULLEN: I am extremely concerned about that border and the drug war and probably – although it's not the only measure, but if you look at the number of murders – kidnappings and murders that have occurred over the last couple of years and the rapid increase in that, that has all of our attention. And I think General Mattis at Joint Forces Command is really – is really talking about that message, and that the United States – my belief, the United States and Mexico and others, but certainly the United States and Mexico, with that border in particular, obviously, in common, need to do as much as we can to work together to eliminate that threat.

I'm – I mean, I guess I'm increasingly concerned about that and have been over the last couple of years. And I know General Renuart, who engages as our combatant commander with Mexico, shares that concern, and we want to do as much to assist and support our neighbor in that regard as we possibly can.

QUESTION: Jean-Cosme Delaloye for the 24 Heures in Switzerland. You recently urged the limits on the mission of the military, and I wondered if there is a plan now to redefine the mission of the military, especially in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq?

ADM MULLEN: We're talking about Afghanistan lately in particular where, in my area, we've oftentimes talked about the need for more troops. And certainly, that is working and we are making plans for upwards of 20 to 30,000 additional troops. But when I talked about that – and those have not been approved yet by the President – but when I've talked about that, I've always stated that that – the military piece just – alone just isn't going to work.

There needs to be a significant increase in the number of civilians from other agencies and our government to impact on the things that are important given you've got security so you can improve the economic plight of the Afghan people, so you can improve the governance piece, so that the political piece can move forward, which is also extraordinarily important. So back to the – sort of the theme that I put out there is the military is necessary, but not sufficient. We can't do it alone under any circumstances, and all the additional troops in the world aren't going to make any difference if we don't get these other pieces in place as well.

So the military has got limits and we need to recognize that. We can do a lot, but we have limits. And if we're the only part of a solution in Afghanistan, it's not going to work.

QUESTION: James Coomarasamy from BBC. Admiral Mullen, what for you would constitute success in Afghanistan?

ADM MULLEN: I think it's very important, as the new President has indicated, to focus there in terms of it being a priority, and that we – we set objectives which are tied to a strategy which the President has – is – essentially, we're working with him and his team to lay that out. And again, I don't want to preclude or try to lead that effort – that's not my responsibility, that's really his – and then get to some level of stability, no safe havens, reasonable development, Pakistan stable, you know, nuclear weapons not – not a significant concern in Pakistan. You know, sort of those kinds of things, the narcotics piece under control, and stability so that these other things that we've talked about before can move forward.

QUESTION: Thank you My name is Sveinn Helgason from Islandic Broadcasting service. Admiral, you said earlier that things aren't going well in Afghanistan, and my question is pretty simple. Why is it? And hasn't the nation-building in Afghanistan completely failed? Why isn't it going so well in Afghanistan, in simple terms?

ADM MULLEN: In the simplest form for me, it is – it has been the resurgence of the Taliban, which has – which has generated a considerable instability with respect to the security of the Afghan people.

That then brings into question the governance ability. There is a significant corruption piece that has got to – got to be addressed in Afghanistan. That's still there. We've actually had some pretty significant and positive progress made by the Afghan National Army. We're not where we need to be or even close to where we need to be with the police, the Afghan National Police. That needs to be developed.

And although I'm encouraged by the new minister of interior and his leadership and his focus on these issues, there is a lot of corruption on the police side, and the leadership acknowledges they've got to get at that. And so it has been probably more than – more that than anything else, and from the United States' perspective, we've had our troops for the last many years focused in Iraq limited in terms of what we could – the troops that we could provide to Afghanistan. So it's been all of that which has kind of gotten us to this position right now.

QUESTION: Hello, my name is Daniel Anyz. I am with Czech daily paper Hospodarske Noviny. I have one more question to missile defense. Secretary Gates has just mentioned this morning that he saw a great potential in cooperation with Russia concerning the missile defense base in Europe. From the technical point of view, have you made already some research of what kind of facility the Russians could offer, what could be interlinked or whether it really could work as a joint system?

ADM MULLEN: What I know about the negotiations which have occurred to get us to this point between the United States and Poland, the United States and Czechoslovakia, I know that Secretary Gates was heavily involved in this, and in those negotiations offered Russia a lot of opportunity to be present for and see specifically what we were doing there. And in that regard – and that the threat was not about a threat with respect to Russia. The threat was about a threat coming from the Middle East.

And reaching some level of understanding there would be very important in terms of creating the kind of possibilities that I think Secretary Gates refers to. We don't have that yet. I think the previous questioner said that Russia hates the system. Certainly, that's been their comment to me. My counterparts, two counterparts, have said that. And so we've got a ways to go before we ever reach any kind of mutual ground with respect to that, from my perspective.

QUESTION: Afternoon, sir. Xavier Vila, Spanish public radio station. What would be your advice for the future of the Guantanamo detainees?

ADM MULLEN: The --

QUESTION: The advice for the –

ADM MULLEN: Well, I mean, the President has made a decision we're going to close Guantanamo. So, physically, I think that's going to happen in the next 12 months, and he's given us that direction.

There are certainly significant challenges with respect to that, and probably of greatest concern that is routinely raised is what do you do with the group who are really hardcore terrorists that you can't try, and how do you get at that. And those decisions – I mean, he's put together committees, very senior leadership, to get at that.

From a military perspective, certainly my concern, biggest concern, is returning these people to the battlefield. There have been, of those detainees that have been released – and there have been hundreds – actually, there have been thousands when you look at the entire theater, not just from Gitmo but several – I think upwards of 500 or so from Gitmo, and it's estimated that some 10 or 11 percent have returned to the battlefield. So that's a real concern. And so how do we do all this and prevent that becomes, from a military perspective, probably my biggest concern.

QUESTION: Ahu Ozyurt from Milliyet and CNN Turk. Admiral, do you see a change in the recruiting patterns in the Afghanistan al-Qaida lessening, Taliban getting upper hand, or is it – are they switching sides? Is there a difference since, I mean, a couple of months?

ADM MULLEN: I wouldn't stand here and tell you there isn't. It's just not anything that I've seen that's jumped off the page at me at this particular point. I've certainly seen, since the Paks have taken the action in Bajur, they have energized many of the local people who are now turning out the foreigners, meaning Arabs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, some of them that are there. So there's a lot of – there's a lot less content in the FATA than there was a few months ago, but I haven't – with foreigners. But I haven't – we're not at a tipping point at this point.

What I respect in particular with respect to Pakistan civilian and military leaders is they said they were going to go do this, they then went and fought this fight, made significant improvements – investments and improvements in how the Frontier Corps was both equipped and led, and they've had a pretty significant impact there.

Now, this is the – my view – this is the beginning of a campaign in a very, very tough part of their country. So that's had an impact, and we've seen the Afghan side of that border and the Pak side with operations more coordinated, certainly not synchronized or anything like that, but more coordinated in recent months that's had a pretty significant impact in stemming the flow of fighters coming from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

But we've also got the weather. I mean, the winter has kind of set in. So I think the spring will be more telling.

QUESTION: Hi, Hilary Krieger with the Jerusalem Post.

ADM MULLEN: With the Jerusalem Post?

QUESTION: The Jerusalem Post from Israel.

ADM MULLEN: Sorry.

QUESTION: You've spoken a lot about Iran, both the threat it poses and the need for engagement. And I'm wondering about the option of the use of military force and whether, with the new administration, there's been new thinking about that possibility and how indeed you see the possibility of that sort of action.

ADM MULLEN: I don't think the new administration has taken any options off the table, including military force. And I have believed for a long time that that's a very important part of the overall – if you have options, that that's a very important part of it – the ability to back it up. I believe it's got to be last resort, and so in that regard it's – again, I've seen nothing that would indicate that that's changed at all.

QUESTION: Hi, Dina Gusovsky with Russia Today. Just going back to the issue of ABMs and Eastern Europe, there are rumors that Barack Obama has already decided not to deploy it in Eastern Europe. Can you comment or confirm that?

And also, how do you see U.S.-Russia relations moving forward, especially in the fact that we have common threats to deal with?

ADM MULLEN: Which one of those two questions do you want? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Can you do both?

ADM MULLEN: No, I can't confirm it. I mean, I just – I have no comment, and I can't confirm the first.

QUESTION: And as far as Russia-U.S. relations and dealing with common threats, how do you see that moving forward?

ADM MULLEN: Well, as I talked a little bit about earlier, there are – there are common interests, and yet there are also areas of significant disagreement. And so I – there are opportunities, I think, to discuss those common interests and figure out how we move ahead. That's being done in NATO. And certainly, in my NATO hat, I mean, as a member of NATO, I'm aware that we're moving in that direction to try to figure out the best way to engage Russia from a NATO perspective, and I think that's probably the same kind of approach that, you know, is there with respect to Russia – I mean, I'm sorry, with respect to Russia and the U.S. And a lot of that is military-to-military.

And I've – you know, I've talked to my Russian counterpart fairly frequently – I mean, very recently again, and I'm encouraged by those discussions. But there's still an awful lot of things we don't see eye-to-eye on, and I think we're going to need to be engaged with them to figure out answers to that. Afghanistan is an area of mutual interest. Iran is an area of mutual interest. Stability in the Middle East. I mean, back to Afghanistan, Russia's got a huge drug problem headed into it from Afghanistan, as does almost every single bordering country. So there's common ground there as well. So there is common ground, but it's going – it takes two to – it takes two to tango here, and I think that's out there to be addressed in the very near future.

QUESTION: Hi, Anne Gearen with the Associated Press. Would you support changes in rules of engagement or other policy changes regarding U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan in order to limit civilian casualties?

ADM MULLEN: We've worked – we've worked very hard – I mean, I'll go to the Afghan piece in particular, because I don't think we can succeed in Afghanistan if civilians keep dying there. And we've got to figure out a way to absolutely minimize that, the goal being zero. But we've focused, Anne, very hard on the ROE that are associated with that. The commander himself is very engaged in every single outcome that creates any kind of civilian casualty. And there's not been any kind of request – although we've looked at rules of engagement, there hasn't been any request from the commander on the ground to adjust his ROE. And that doesn't mean we haven't reviewed it. We think we've got it about right right now. And he is the one that's got a – we all have a stake in this, but he's the one that's got a mission to accomplish, and in that regard he's asked for and received the ROE that he needs.

QUESTION: I have a question on Afghanistan.

ADM MULLEN: I'm ready.

MODERATOR: No, that's it. This is – to you, sir, if you have –

QUESTION: Can I have one more, please? One more on Afghanistan?

MODERATOR: Just one --

QUESTION: Just one more?

QUESTION: How about one more?

ADM MULLEN: I need a question on the Super Bowl. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This is your game. Raghubir Goyal from India Globe and Asia Today. There is no doubt that you have a vast experience as far as terrorism and military-to-military relations with Pakistan. You have visited the region many, many times. And I understand that I think you have a very good relation with General Kayani. You had been in the last administration also. Do you think that Pakistan had for the last eight years misled you, the Pentagon, as far as on completing the mission? And also, you think that more troops will be sufficient or tightening the Pakistani what they had been doing in the past eight years that you have to have a new strategy now not to put all the eggs in one basket? And General Musharraf is here in Washington now, maybe listening to this press conference.

ADM MULLEN: I also have a very strong relationship with Admiral Mehta, who is the chairman – the acting chairman for India. So my relations are not just limited to Pakistan. And I'm – I mean, I have been going to Pakistan, as you know, I think eight times over the last year, since last February, and focused on that relationship building.

And the way I measure that is through that relationship. And General Kayani has treated me very well, very fairly. He has done what he said he was going to do. He's got some huge challenges as does Admiral Mehta in India. I mean, we all have huge challenges. So – and General Kayani has not misled me at all.

And I guess I'd leave any comment about the last eight years to only that. I've got to base it on where – how he has treated me on our relationship, which is very strong. I find him to be thoughtful, focused, headed in the right direction, and very supportive of the civilian government there in this – you know, in their continuing evolution with respect to civilian control of the military.


Okay.

QUESTION: Thank you

ADM MULLEN: Thank you.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 28 Jan 2009 20:56

Seems like the generals in TSP have institutionalized, how to play the game, vis-a-vis the west. If India, does not create opportunities for itself and 10 years from now, when there is no US around in the region, India will have only itself to blame.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby svinayak » 28 Jan 2009 23:01

And I understand that I think you have a very good relation with General Kayani. You had been in the last administration also.

Do you think that Pakistan had for the last eight years misled you, the Pentagon, as far as on completing the mission?

And also, you think that more troops will be sufficient or tightening the Pakistani what they had been doing in the past eight years that you have to have a new strategy now not to put all the eggs in one basket?

Very good questions which are not being asked by the western press.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ramana » 28 Jan 2009 23:06

Raghubir Goyal is an Indian American and not an Indian Indian. I think he asked the most difficult question which the Amercian -Americans did not ask and is being told that Adm. Mullen has good relations with Indian Adm. Mehta. How relevant is that to an American? And to the question of being duped by TSP?

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RajeshA » 29 Jan 2009 03:19

ShauryaT wrote:
RajeshA wrote:Indians should stop having dreams of sending troops to Afghanistan and expecting we will be able to do good there without any resistance. We can try selling this idea under whatever great strategic plans and labels and names, etc. but it remains a lousy idea.
If it is a lousy idea, what is a better one to be on the offensive against the TSP? Certainly, sitting back cannot be counted as a plan?

1. Bolstering Northern Afghanistan ethnicities militarily, but also in training infrastructure, governance, etc.
2. Training, equipping, financing Afghanistan Army.
3. Looking for inroads into the TTP hierarchy and Pushtun tribes, and finding common cause with them.
4. Funding BLA big time.
5. Gathering intelligence on TSPA financial assets and doing some extortion.
6. Economic warfare, taking away Pakistan's exports markets.
7. Assassinations of Jihadis

The Afghanistan War is costing the Americans $100 million a day. There are thousand other ways the GoI can invest our scarce money.
One American soldier costs as much as 70 Afghani soldiers. So, these numbers without context does not help. This was the same type of logic used, during parakram and the result is Mumbai and a dozen more such events and the continued sponsorship of terrorism that costs our nation a lot more, in lost opportunites, with Kashmir still unreachable for most Indians. What were the economic losses due to Mumbai alone? I personally know of atleast a dozen Mumbai families, who "canceled/down scaled" their plans from popular locations, due to the issue. Goa alone had 40% vacancies during new year!
Sure we don't even have the $100 million kind of money for a day. In India's case, it will be somewhat cheaper. Question is, how much cheaper! May be 20-30 million dollars a day! We are not talking about 30,000 soldiers, but rather 120,000. That is 16 times cheaper, which is being very cheap.
Pakistan is hitting us with their Army of Islam. We all do not need any further convincing of that. The question is about the solution we propose, and whether it will be effective.[/quote]

The whole of Pakistan is losing its governance and cohesion. The Pakistanis have zero confidence in their state, and the state is in retreat everywhere.
The case for governance in TSP never existed. Here is an hypothesis. The Taleban issue in TSP is a managed one and TSP is capable of subduing this issue at will, if desired.
This is a much mistaken belief of the Pakis, that they can control the Taliban. The Taliban has tasted blood and will not be satisfied with the crumbs of the Jernails. The time of that is long past.

That would be more than enough on our plate.
I am of the view that the IA can do a far better job of CI ops in the region than any of the outside jokers can.
Yes they can, but as a trainer for the Afghan Army.

In fact, the Taliban can be very useful for India. On the one hand, they will hollow out the Pakjabis and on the other they will push the Northern Afghans to develop much closer relations with Indians. I still have to hear of the Taliban going to other places to do Jihad. These are Pushtuns who are obsessed with Pushtunistan, but find radical Islam a convenient vehicle for their struggle. It has always been the Pakjabis, who have been virulently anti-India and have fancied for themselves a role of bringing down the Hindu nation. The Pushtuns couldn't care less. For them it would become worthwhile only if they have themselves regained their freedom, have plenty of time at hand, and it is lucrative. Nothing like that is about to happen soon.
Are you sure of the highlighted segments? I will encourage you to look at the issue of Taliban not from the prism of western sources but from the prism of the various tribes of Afganistan and their world views and then see for yourself, who the Taliban really are?
As far as I see it, there is enough intra-politics and inter-politics in Pushtun tribes, to keep any Pushtun busy for a life. On top of that comes the Afghan politics, Durand Line politics, Great Game politics, 'Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice' Issues, Taliban-courts, Drug-Trafficking, etc. etc. There is enough to keep the Taliban busy in his neighborhood.


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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby kasthuri » 29 Jan 2009 04:00



Not just Gates, I am too doubtful of 120,000 troops by India :roll: . But a good number to encircle TSP cannot be ruled out.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Bhaskar » 29 Jan 2009 05:56

kasthuri wrote:


Not just Gates, I am too doubtful of 120,000 troops by India :roll: . But a good number to encircle TSP cannot be ruled out.


120,000 is way out of the question... unless we are either invading Afghanistan or have a full blown war against Pakistan in which Pakistan would have to defend it's borders on either sides...

1/10 of 120,000 should be enough...
But, it would be unlikely if India will make that move... Congress does not want to jeopardise it's chances of winning the elections by taking a decision like this, which might backfire.
If the army has planned anything like this... then, we might see such news a few months after a new government is elected. And possible depoyment might take as long as 2012, considering how slow things go in India.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby shyamd » 29 Jan 2009 06:42

Was at a talk given by the head of the political section in the Russian embassy today. Spoke to him about Indian troops in Afghanistan. He said there have been worries that it might turn into a proxy war between Pak and India, they don't want it to turn out that way. But they will support it. They also want eventual afghanisation of the entire process and counter terror ops.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 29 Jan 2009 07:00

shyamd wrote:Was at a talk given by the head of the political section in the Russian embassy today. Spoke to him about Indian troops in Afghanistan. He said there have been worries that it might turn into a proxy war between Pak and India, they don't want it to turn out that way. But they will support it. They also want eventual afghanisation of the entire process and counter terror ops.
It is the most obvious concern from a western prism. There is a way to handle this. No Indian troops at the borders, for now.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby kasthuri » 29 Jan 2009 07:33

I am not able to hold my curiosity when Uncle talks of regional approach in Afghanistan. And Mullen has clarified that regional approach will include India. Do gurus here have an idea what it might be if not the troops idea?

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 29 Jan 2009 09:32

120,000 is way out of the question... unless we are either invading Afghanistan or have a full blown war against Pakistan in which Pakistan would have to defend it's borders on either sides...


Interesting that you put it that way.

DTI has a report (I cannot link it) that states that A'stan needs about 20 counter intel per 1000 population. That works to 600,000 "troops". Not possible.

However, the current lit shows that the preference is to win one village at a time, hold and improve, starting with Kabool. With a decent amount of resources allocated to the A'stan-Pak border and a little beyond.

The thinking has been to let NATO/EU forces "hold", while the US does the grunt work.

The key is to build out a A'stan "army" of 220,000 - the question is how to do this, both in terms of time and loyalty.

In short, the proposal is to STOP doing what the US/NATO has been doing all these years - it will not work, and change tactics.

Now, can Indian troops fit into this picture is the question. "Troops" does NOT have to mean artillery, etc - it can mean engineers, military police, etc also. Some to train A'stan army perhaps. Build out an A'stan AF?

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 29 Jan 2009 09:34

U.S. Faces Shifting Role in Afghanistan, Iraq

here goes, found that article:

Jan 14, 2009

By Paul McLeary

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are inextricably linked. While both are tied to the Sept. 11 attacks, the wars were launched for different reasons and have been fought in different ways.

The Iraq war is mostly urban, sectarian and waged within Iraq’s borders, while the Afghan war is rural, mostly covering the south and east and tied to the Pashtun areas in western Pakistan. As a result, Nathaniel Fick, a former Marine officer who served in Afghanistan in 2001-02, and is now a fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, says that instead of looking at the conflict as existing within the borders of Afghanistan, we need to look at it as “existing within the mental boundaries of the Pashtun nation, and about half of that is in Pakistan.”

There are plans to add three or four American brigades—10,000-15,000 troops—with the possibility of more as soldiers rotate out of Iraq. While more troops will be in Afghanistan, their scant numbers in a country geographically larger and more populous than Iraq are likely to have little impact. According to the new Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual FM 3-24, 20 counterinsurgency troops are needed for every 1,000 civilians, which, if applied to Afghanistan, would add up to 600,000 troops—a number impossible to muster.

One of the authors of the manual, John Nagl, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a former Army lieutenant colonel, says that to run a successful counterinsurgency operation in Afghanistan, “we need a dramatic increase in the size of Afghan security forces.” Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently announced plans to roughly double the size of the Afghan army to about 130,000 from around 70,000, but Nagl believes “we need to double that again, to 250,000 troops.” Nagl also contends there must be a concerted effort to peel away the less committed, less ideological members of the Taliban. The combination of a more capable Afghan security force, fewer Taliban and more Americans practicing effective counterinsurgency tactics while passing those lessons to the Afghan army, has the potential to change the course of the war over the next several years, he believes.

For the American troops heading to Afghanistan, Fick suggests employing them in an Afghan army training and advising mission to leverage their impact throughout Afghan’s military, a tactic desperately needed, since the embedded training teams with the Afghan army are staffed at about 50% and the police mentor teams at 33%.

Nagl sees the near term in Afghanistan as focusing on securing Kabul first and spreading security outward, “while putting additional resources into the Afghan/Pakistan border areas. This is a war we can win. We have not resourced our strategy effectively to date, but there’s a lot more we can do.”

While the fight in Afghanistan looks to be heating up, Iraq is winding down. The Iraqi government wants U.S. troops out by 2011, and unless this position changes, it’s a request the U.S. will have to comply with. One of the big questions for Iraq in the near term is what to make of Moqtada al Sadr, the anti-American Shiite militia leader who, following the defeat of his army in Basra and Sadr City in 2007, has been keeping a low profile. In many instances his followers have been moving toward a Hezbollah model, says Steven Metz of the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute, providing services for the needy in Shia neighborhoods. “I would guess that he sees himself as a budding political power,” Metz says, “so I expect him to keep enough of an armed presence to defend his movement, but to seek to play as much as possible within the political framework.”

Given all this uncertainty, one thing remains a sure bet, especially now that Barack Obama will be commander in chief: U.S. involvement in Iraq will begin to draw down in 2009. “We’re already well along the movement of us taking a step into the background and providing a logistical and advisory role,” Metz says. “It wouldn’t surprise me if next year at this time there are almost no autonomous American patrols.”

Credit: US Army

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Raja Ram » 29 Jan 2009 10:46

My gentle friends,

Somewhere in these 18 pages I had posted a ramble on what should be the military objectives of an Indian Force, and a view on the kind of force composition. It would have been nice if some of the gurus here had taken a good hard look at that post. It does not talk about the actual number of people that would be needed, but tries what the force will be tasked to do and what kind of composition it should therefore have. It is just a take based on the strategic objectives that India has viz-a-viz Afghanistan and Pakistan and therefore derived from it is the Military objectives that the force should have.

I had also raised some questions on what the other implications are for India if it does go ahead with a deployment. I would urge a discussion on these points. Why do I say so? Well, gentle readers, unless we are clear what is to be achieved, there is no point in actually discussing what should be the right size etc.

Moreover, one should not forget that should the GOI of the day go ahead with this adventure, it has to prepare the country for it. The post 26/11 elections are an indicator that national security is not an election deciding issue. It is not likely to be, no matter how much we all feel that it should be. Given the policy decision taken by the government post IPKF of not commiting Indian troops on such foreign interventionists assignments, I believe that there is a parliamentary resolution to that effect as well, it is imperative that any GOI seek and get bipartisan support to such an intervention in Afghanistan.

It is not that I am an outright rejectionist of such a force being deployed in Afghanistan. I just want to analyse and understand what the aim of such an intervention should be? What is the likely price we have to pay? What are the possible implications? And are we ready to actually do what is required?

Unless there are clear answers to these questions, it is not in the best interest of India to rush into such an adventure. I do not expect the GOI to do that. The last time there was a request for such an assignment in Iraq, officially and openly made by the USG, with pentagon staffers coming and making a pitch to the GOI, it was carefully considered and then turned down by the GOI. I would expect the GOI to act in a similiar fashion on this situation as well.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Bhaskar » 30 Jan 2009 06:38

NRao wrote:
120,000 is way out of the question... unless we are either invading Afghanistan or have a full blown war against Pakistan in which Pakistan would have to defend it's borders on either sides...


Interesting that you put it that way.

DTI has a report (I cannot link it) that states that A'stan needs about 20 counter intel per 1000 population. That works to 600,000 "troops". Not possible.

However, the current lit shows that the preference is to win one village at a time, hold and improve, starting with Kabool. With a decent amount of resources allocated to the A'stan-Pak border and a little beyond.

The thinking has been to let NATO/EU forces "hold", while the US does the grunt work.

The key is to build out a A'stan "army" of 220,000 - the question is how to do this, both in terms of time and loyalty.

In short, the proposal is to STOP doing what the US/NATO has been doing all these years - it will not work, and change tactics.

Now, can Indian troops fit into this picture is the question. "Troops" does NOT have to mean artillery, etc - it can mean engineers, military police, etc also. Some to train A'stan army perhaps. Build out an A'stan AF?


Sorry, if this is off-topic, but , How many Indians are already in Afghanistan which are helping to rebuild it?

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 30 Jan 2009 06:47

http://us.rediff.com/news/2006/may/01af ... &file=.htm

2006 ::

According to officials in the Ministry of External Affairs, nearly 2,500 Indians are working on various projects worth over $650 million across Afghanistan


http://www.boloji.com/analysis2/0339.htm

2009:

With 4000 Indians working in Afghanistan on various public and private projects, the Indian government is concerned about their security

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 30 Jan 2009 07:35

Only as a FYI.

In the past few weeks the dynamics and intensity of the discussions of the Af-Pak (coined by Micheal Yon) war has really gone into another gear. It was Lt. Col. David Kilcullen who made the "surge" popular and it was he who first suggested that a "surge" may not work in Afghanistan. The suggested alternative has been what I have posted above - there should be others out there too.

Yon, for instance, states that:

If 2001 was "Round 1" of the Af-Pak war, New Year's Day 2009 marked the beginning of "Round 9." And this will not be a 15-round fight, but more likely span two generations, if not a century. One thing is nearly certain: Round 9 will be the bloodiest so far. The Af-Pak war has only just begun.


Jan 2009, Gates:

He said the United States must ratchet down its expectations in the war - and that the new aim should be to eliminate terrorist bases.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Bhaskar » 30 Jan 2009 10:32

NRao wrote:http://us.rediff.com/news/2006/may/01afghan.htm?q=np&file=.htm

2006 ::

According to officials in the Ministry of External Affairs, nearly 2,500 Indians are working on various projects worth over $650 million across Afghanistan


http://www.boloji.com/analysis2/0339.htm

2009:

With 4000 Indians working in Afghanistan on various public and private projects, the Indian government is concerned about their security


Thank you Nrao,
If there are 4000 Indians in Afghanistan with 300 ITBP troops right now in A'stan right now, then ... you might be right... we can easily send a force as big as 120,000 (with the same ratio, around 9000 army troops).

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby NRao » 30 Jan 2009 20:03

Bhaskar,

Now that the road has been handed over I do not think that many remain in A'stan. However, sending any Indian troops will not be to protect Indians working in A'stan - for that there are "troops" already in A'stan.

However, the following video is of great interest IMHO:



IF this is true then a lot of thinking will have to change.

Specially IF the Pashtuns are willing to live with Sharia and not insist on spreading the word. It will be akin to another SA (with a totally diff dynamic). As long as they do not allow terrorist bases it should be an alternative to consider.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RajeshA » 30 Jan 2009 20:12

NRao wrote:Specially IF the Pashtuns are willing to live with Sharia and not insist on spreading the word. It will be akin to another SA (with a totally diff dynamic). As long as they do not allow terrorist bases it should be an alternative to consider.


I wouldn't mind, if the Talibanized Pushtuns get their Talibanistan/Pushtunistan, but remain pushy against the Pakjabis and Northern Afghanistan. Both cases gives India additional options.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RajeshA » 30 Jan 2009 20:42

If India really wants to commit its soldiers to open a second front against Pakistan, then I would suggest, that we send 120,000 Indian Jawans to Baluchistan instead.

In the near future when Pakistan will be unraveling, then Indian Jawans can support the Baluchis in ensuring that neither the Pakjabis, nor the Pushtun, nor the Iranians get any funny ideas.

If China can lay claim to Tibet and Taiwan for some historical reasons, what is stopping India from living up to her historical responsibility. Baluchistan was a part of India.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby kasthuri » 30 Jan 2009 21:58

I suspect that US may halt the process of sending additional troops. Or at least I think it is deeply contemplating about it, as it has no concrete strategy. If it starts to place emphasis on re-building A'stan rather than military approach, then India could play a significant role there. This different approach of taming A'stan may be in Obama's South Asian regional strategy. There is some news coming along this direction. One of them is as follows. BTW, how can one use India as a route? Did he mean through POK or through India-Iran?

Afghanistan troops build up a delicate endeavor, US in close contact with Pakistan- Pentagon

Afghanistan troops build up a delicate endeavor, US in close contact with Pakistan- Pentagon

WASHINGTON, Jan 30 (APP): The Pentagon on Thursday said no decision has yet been made on deployment of additional U.S. troops in Afghanistan and it has been in close touch with Islamabad over the proposal, which, if actualized, would also help Pakistan in curbing cross-border militancy.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told a briefing that Secretary Defense Robert Gates is expected to give recommendation on the proposal to President Barack Obama, the new commander in chief ‘in the coming days.’

He remarked the additional troops in Afghanistan will be ‘a delicate plus-up because you’ve got to do it commensurate to the infrastructure that exists’ in austere Afghanistan,

Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, who commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan as well as NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, has asked his bosses for a 30,000-troop increase, which effectively would double the U.S. military contingent in Afghanistan.

Citing contacts between the top Pakistani and American military leaders, he said the Pentagon is “in close communication with our partners in Pakistan” over the desire of U.S. commanders on bolstering troop deployment in Afghanistan.

“I don’t think this is lost on anyone. But I would remind them, as I remind you, that no decision yet has been made on this. And so—but this certainly should not be viewed as any sort of threat to Pakistan. This should be viewed as a way to help them combat a problem in their midst as well.

“I mean, they have complained about what they believe to be the fact that the border in the Northwest Territories, in the tribal areas, is too porous in both ways, in that militants and extremists are able to move freely back and forth, greater than either of us would like. And so that’s why we are seeing much better cooperation in terms of border security between us, the Afghans and the Pakistan military. So I don’t think they should view it as anything but a positive if this comes to be,” he said in response to a question.

Asked if India is going to play a greater role in Afghanistan, he said, India is a significant political and economic partner of the Afghan government but he was not aware of any plan for a more pronounced Indian role in that country.

“I know there’s a great deal of investment by India in Afghanistan. I think this is a country that is in desperate need of investment and, I’m sure, would welcome it from all corners of the earth. So, but I couldn’t tell you that I have any knowledge of a gameplan for India to play a more pronounced role in Afghanistan.”

Questioned about new details on the US exploring alternate supply lines to Afghanistan in view of troops build up plan, Morrell said attacks on some of the lines of communication from Pakistan into Afghanistan have ‘not had an operational impact.’

“We, you know, keep large surpluses of supplies, materiel, weapon—ammunition and so forth. But we obviously do need to have supply lines coming into Afghanistan to sustain this fight. Not just us, by the way. The Afghan military needs it especially.”

“But we have—we don’t put all our eggs in one basket, either. While our relationship with the Pakistani government and their assistance with these supply lines has been very good, we have also looked and are pursuing, and to some degree have, additional supply lines from the north as well. And I stress, supply lines. There are multiple avenues which we believe we are—we will have to supply troops in Afghanistan from the north as well.”

Morrell saw no prospects of India being considered an alternate supply route. ‘I don’t believe so,’ he replied when an Indian journalist asked if the U.S. could try India as a route.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby vsudhir » 31 Jan 2009 04:27

The Afghanistan Imperative

The two statistics are inextricably linked and, a year ago, prompted Richard Holbrooke, the man President Barack Obama has just picked as special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, to write: "Breaking the narco-state in Afghanistan is essential or all else will fail."

Holbrooke, who was not in government service at the time, took particular issue with the counternarcotics strategy the Bush administration pursued in Afghanistan.

The program, he wrote in the Washington Post, "which costs around $1 billion a year, may be the single most ineffective policy in the history of American foreign policy. It's not just a waste of money. It actually strengthens the Taliban and Al Qaeda, as well as criminal elements within Afghanistan."


An unnamed White House official sounded hopeful this past week that the United States could push Afghan President Hamid Karzai into extending government control beyond the capital and stepping up the fight against corruption.

It is the same Karzai who declared jihad, or holy war, on the drugs trade in 2004, a few days after he was sworn in as Afghanistan's first democratically elected leader. That holy war made no dent in opium production and corruption blossomed.

"Karzai was playing us like a fiddle," Thomas Schweich, a former top anti-narcotics official in Afghanistan, wrote in The New York Times last summer. "The U.S. would spend billions of dollars on infrastructure improvement; the U.S. and its allies would fight the Taliban; Karzai's friends would get rich off the drug trade; he could blame the West for his problems; and in 2009 he would be elected to a new term."

In other words, Karzai is not part of the solution, he's part of the problem.


As to solutions: One novel idea on opium-and-corruption comes from James Nathan, a political science professor at Auburn University in Alabama and former State Department official. He argues in a forthcoming paper that the most efficient way to tackle the problem would be for the United States or NATO to buy up the entire Afghan opium crop.

"Purchasing the whole crop would take it away from the traffickers without cutting more than half the economy of Afghanistan," Nathan said in an interview. "Such a purchase would directly confront Afghanistan's most corrosive corruption. It would end the Taliban's money stream."

And the cost? By Nathan's reckoning, between $2 billion and $2.5 billion a year, no pocket change but not a large sum compared with the around $200 billion the U.S. taxpayer has already paid for the war in Afghanistan. The idea may sound startling, but its logic is not far from the farm subsidies paid to U.S. and European farmers.


Things are heating up somewhat. Here's to the new admin bringing some meaningful and +ve change in dealing with the region rather than doing a GWB II.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 31 Jan 2009 05:40

NRao wrote:Only as a FYI.

In the past few weeks the dynamics and intensity of the discussions of the Af-Pak (coined by Micheal Yon) war has really gone into another gear. It was Lt. Col. David Kilcullen who made the "surge" popular and it was he who first suggested that a "surge" may not work in Afghanistan. The suggested alternative has been what I have posted above - there should be others out there too.


The "surge" is a military strategy to secure and hold an area and provide security to the concerned population. This requires boots on the ground and by nature has a limited threshold for those boots cannot remain forever. If the assumption is that NOTHING can pacify the region then NO strategy is going to work.

The US strategic issue is that they know that Afghanistan is not a short term issue. The security issues are intrinsically liked with nation building issues and that requires time and patience. This time and patience costs money. The money has to justify core interests. If there is a mismatch between this interest and the dollars required then there is heart burn. It is this heart burn that India has to take advantage of.
Last edited by ShauryaT on 31 Jan 2009 22:06, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 31 Jan 2009 06:17

Raja Ram wrote:It is not that I am an outright rejectionist of such a force being deployed in Afghanistan. I just want to analyse and understand what the aim of such an intervention should be? What is the likely price we have to pay? What are the possible implications? And are we ready to actually do what is required?
.


Short term(2-5 years) aims are the following:
- To get a partial say in the security and political affairs of Afghanistan
- To deny TSP any say in the security and political affairs of Afghanistan
- To deflect TSP jihadists, anxious for Indian blood out of Indian territory

Medium term (5-10 years)
- To be the dominant player in the security and political affairs of Afghanistan
- Create conditions for exit of the west
- Deny TSP strategic depth for good
- Destroy TSP's rentable value to the west
- Minimize the power of the TSP Army
- Create conditions for the domination of Pashtuns in the affairs of Afghanistan, under India's security umbrella (de-wahabization is the condition)

Long Term (10+ years)
- Work on the dissolution of the Durrand line and a partition of TSP along the plains of the Sindhu, get the ambitions of TSP to the levels of BD
- Quid pro quo with the Pashtuns for access to NA from the West and take back the PoK/NA from TSP
- Protect South Asian region from any foreign military influence
- Deny China a strategic role in South Asia

Others:
- Get Iran under a security relationship with India

Estimated man power range for a minimum of 10,000 to a maximum of 100,000 troops (worst case).

Likely possible implications:

- India will play second fiddle to the west in the short term
- The US will outsource security duties in the region to India, for access to Indian markets
- China will most likley be more antagonistic against India
- India will get a stronger say in the ME and CA

Risks:
- TSP will up the ante against India
- The Pashtuns may back fire, if India does not manage operations well
- TSP has resident advantage and knows how to manipulate the Pashtuns better (The frontier corps is the largest Pashtun gang)
- The politicians in India should commit to at least a 10 year plan, no matter what

Are we ready? We have the capability to start, if there is political will.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Sanjay M » 31 Jan 2009 09:14

Pashtuns would never dominate Afghanistan unchallenged. As if the northern minorities would roll over and play dead for them. :roll:

Like I've said, the best hope is to split off the non-Pashtun north, and then let the Pashtuns of southern Afghanistan naturally reunify with the Pak-Occupied Pashtuns, to dissolve the Durand Line for good.

The imminent US abandonment of the Karzai govt could assist in this path. The northerners are naturally more orderly people anyway. The Pashtuns only conquered them originally through brute force of numbers.

The more limited goal of keeping Taliban out of the north is much more achievable than trying to go whole hog and clobber them in the south. This is the best solution.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 31 Jan 2009 10:07

what does the partition of Afghanistan do for India?

You can demonize the Pashtuns all you want, but the fact is, they are the route through which Indian interests can be served, without their support, we have a very steep climb.

The radicalization of the Pashtun tribal leadership hierarchy is a recent affair and can be sufficiently reversed to serve Indian interests.

This is not about Afghanistan or even the Pashtuns, this is about getting a geo-political edge over TSP!

Pashtunistan is not possible without active outside state support.

If you add the Pashtuns of TSP to the ones in Afghanistan, the minorities will simply have to roll over.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby Sanjay M » 31 Jan 2009 10:32

By partitioning Afghanistan and subtracting the north, you automatically trigger the reunification of Pashtuns and dissolution of the Durand Line. And partition of Afghanistan is much easier to achieve.

How would you extend direct control over Pashtun areas? If Unkil can't do it, and if Soviets couldn't, how can you? Are you going to march over there, expecting them to gather around you, like Nehru eagerly did, only to be resoundingly rebuffed? AlQaeda and hardline Pashtun fundamentalists aren't going to just roll over and play dead. Naturally, we would be their enemy #1, if we came within their reach.

You sound like a poor strategist, who would take the harder failure-destined road over the easier success-favoured road.

Don't over-ambitiously bite off more than you can chew. Bird in the hand is worth 2 in the Bush.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby ShauryaT » 31 Jan 2009 10:50

Sanjay M wrote:By partitioning Afghanistan, you automatically trigger the reunification of Pashtuns and dissolution of the Durand Line. And partition of Afghanistan is much easier to achieve.
You expect an Indian force to help in the partition of Afghnistan based on Pashtun and non-Pashtun areas! How do you expect to have Indian forces supplied? How will a partition of Afghanistan dissove the Durand line? Please answer the other questions I have in the post above.

How would you extend direct control over Pashtun areas?
I have already suggested geographical start locations, in previous pages. Please read them.

If Unkil can't do it, how can you? Are you going to march over there, expecting them to gather around you, like Nehru eagerly did, only to be resoundingly rebuffed? AlQaeda and hardline Pashtun fundamentalists aren't going to just roll over and play dead. Naturally, we would be their enemy #1, if we came within their reach.
Let us keep Unkil worshipping outside the gates of this forum. The IA has been fighing CI, before the US knew, how to spell the word. Nehru did not play a hard game and got what he deserved. You mean to say, an Indian force will help the cause of dissolving the Durand line over time and that will make Indian forces, enemy number one of the Pashtuns?

You sound like a poor strategist, who would take the harder failure-destined road over the easier success-favoured road.
Stick to the facts here and refute my arguments, instead of getting personal.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RayC » 31 Jan 2009 11:38

Guddu wrote:
Could you pl. explain why the US should help free Baluchistan ?...I can see why we would want to do that, but what is the US interest to free Baluchistan as opposed to say Waziristan?


This may be an interesting background to note:

SOVEREIGNTY OF BALOCHISTAN
On August 11, 1947, the British acceded control of Balochistan to the ruler of Balochistan, His Highness Mir Ahmad Yar Khan - the Khan of Kalat. The Khan immediately declared the independence of Balochistan, and Mohammad Ali Jinnah signed the proclamation of Balochistan’s sovereignty under the Khan.

The New York Times reported on August 12, 1947: “Under the agreement, Pakistan recognizes Kalat as an independent sovereign state with a status different from that of the Indian States. An announcement from New Delhi said that Kalat, Moslem State in Baluchistan, has reached an agreement with Pakistan for free flow of communications and commerce, and would negotiate for decisions on defense, external affairs and communications.” The next day, the NY Times even printed a map of the world showing Balochistan as a fully independent country.

According to the Indian Independence Act 1947, all treaties and agreements between the British Government and the rulers of States were terminated as of August 15, 1947. On that day, the Khan addressed a large gathering in Kalat and formally declared the full independence of Balochistan, and proclaimed the 15th day of August a day of celebration. The Khan formed the lower and upper house of Kalat Assembly, and during the first meeting of the Lower House in early September 1947, the Assembly confirmed the independence of Balochistan.

Jinnah tried to persuade the Khan to join Pakistan, but the Khan and both Houses of the Kalat Assembly refused. The Pakistani government took an aggressive stance against Balochistan, and in March 1948, the Pakistani armed forces started their operation against the Balochistan government. They invaded Balochistan on April 15th, 1948, and imprisoned all members of the Kalat Assembly.
http://governmentofbalochistan.blogspot ... nt-is.html


Therefore, the dissatisfaction remains and the recent events including the killing of the Bugti and the use of arty and air against the Baloch people rankles them.

From the US point of view, if there is an independent Balochistan, assisted and backed by them, the following advantages accrue:

1. The largest tract of the proposed route for the oil pipeline to ferry the Caspian oil to Gwadar is cleared.

2. The Chinese influence in Balochistan, especially in the area of Gwadar is removed.

3. The Chinese listening post at Gwadar for Middle East activities of the US troops is eliminated.

4. US through Balochistan will open up a second front against the Taliban in Waziristan and NWFP and such a front need not be US or western troops. It could be India, since having a military presence in Balochistan including Gwadar would box in Pakistan as also would neutralise Chinese aims of building a pipeline for ME oil through Balochistan and Pakistan to Aksai Chin and beyond and forcing China to use the Straits of Malacca or through Kyrgyzstan.

5. The US would have boxed in Iran from either side and could also foment rebellion amongst the Baloch in Iran!

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RayC » 31 Jan 2009 11:53

The Afghans believe that the Durand Line Treaty was valid for 100 years and that the treaty is no longer valid and the Pakistani areas where Pashtuns are, is a part of Afghanistan!

While I do not believe that an Indian force should go in Afghanistan, yet, hypothetically speaking, Indian forces in Afghanistan could be serviced through Chabahar port and along the Delaram-Zaranj Highway. Iran would prefer an Indian presence so as to offset the US presence and maybe the Indian forces would operate in Western Afghanistan.

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby anjali » 31 Jan 2009 12:17

I am not in favor of India sending in troops to fight the Talibs at this point in time:
1. The lands and peoples that we will be fighting against are ....Pushtuns. Right now, their separatist movements are gaining momentum. There seems to be ' Anti Punjabi' sentiment flowing from the NWFP and FATA areas. Infact, if one of their propaganda youtube clips is to be believed they are voicing
pro- India sentiments. It would be very much in our interest to fan the flames ....not extinguish them. We have to figure out a way to reach out to these elements in the Pashtun community, and support them with arms/ equipment and stealth personnel if possible.
2. We have to very proactively and covertly assist in operations in Balochistan, this might be easier as this community has been more receptive to our support.
3. Indian media has to disseminate widely propaganda that supports these above 2 communities ( I will take up the Kashmir angle later ) This will serve to legit the separatist movements of these communities in our country and hopefully beyond. It will also serve to educate the common man and especially our Indian Muslims about the treacherous and genocidal activities of the Pakistan Army. We have to be able to affirm our solidarity with these communities....We should even invite their 'freedom fighters' to India and publicly flaunt our association with them. Human rights activists should be bombarded by our people ...about the atrocities being committed in these lands
4. If the above is viewed as being detrimental to our Kashmir stand....my only argument is what more damage can the pakis do to the already much damaged unification attempts for Kashmir? If anything, by countering their Kashmir demands with Baloch and Pushtun demands....we can up the ante in this otherwise stalemate type situation.
5. The USA, if it objects for any reason, should be asked to completely stop financial aid to Pakistan first and foremost before expecting unrealistic gestures from our side

thanks

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Re: India to consider sending 120,000 troops to Afghanistan

Postby RayC » 31 Jan 2009 12:32

Why forget the Shias in the Northern Areas?

They are also fed up with the Sunni migration and atrocities.

Who will take the call from Northern Territories of Pakistan?
By Sarla Handoo - Syndicate Features

It has taken the world more than 58 years to wake up to the atrocities the people of Gilgit and Baltistan, popularly known as the Northern Areas of Pakistan, have been suffering. But, as they say, better late than never.

It is the Human Rights organizations in Pakistan itself that have now been raising voices against the inhuman treatment meted out to people of this region by the Pakistan Administration. The Human rights Commission of Pakistan sought an immediate cease-fire by Pak Rangers engaged in clashes with the people to curb popular unrest. It called the situation as “volatile”.

Pakistani News paper ‘Dawn’ quoted the Commission as asking for immediate cease-fire and also an inquiry by an independent judicial Commission. Yet another Pakistan paper ‘Daily Times’ quoted the Commission Secretary General Iqbal Haider as saying, “the federal government is directly responsible for this sorry state of affairs”.

The unrest in the picturesque Northern most area of Pakistan has been there for decades, leading to movements for self-governance and independence from the federal rule of Pakistan. This year alone the clashes have claimed about 200 lives so far.

Northern Areas are also known as Balwaristan, which was a part of Jammu and Kashmir till October 1947 and was ruled by what was known as the Gilgit Agency. But Pakistan, in the wake of its aggression on Jammu and Kashmir, soon after the Maharaja Hari Singh decided to join India after the partition, annexed the northern Areas as also parts of Jammu and Kashmir now in its occupation. But over 11 lakh population of the area have been suffering ever since.

It is interesting to know the depths of the Pakistani misrule in the area. The region lacks fundamental rights infrastructure. It does not have an elected Assembly, a constitution or an independent Judiciary. It is ruled directly by the Federal government in Islamabad by minister of state for Kashmir and Northern Areas Affairs with the help of 6 officers, all from outside, constituting the Northern Areas Council. It includes the Chief Executive Officer, the Inspector General of Police and the Judicial Commissioner. There is no appeal against the judgements of the Judicial Commissioner. The Pakistan Supreme Court has no jurisdiction on the area. The so-called Azad Kashmir government too does not have any jurisdiction over the Northern areas.

To be fair to Pakistan, it has never claimed Northern Areas as belonging to it. In fact, Pakistan constitution and its map do not show it as Pak area. Pakistan has said so even in the courts. But it does not show it as a part of Jammu and Kashmir either. At the same time it is not prepared to give it an independent status also to enable its people to adopt a modern, transparent democratic system. The people have been living under virtual Martial Law with foreigners and journalists forbidden to visit the area. There is no representation of the people in the Pakistan National Assembly. The locals need an exit permit for moving out of the area.

Economically, the region is the most backward area. It does not have basic infrastructure like roads, power supply, sanitation and health care. It has no University, no professional college and no post graduate facilities. No radio and a television station. It has Just one weekly newspaper.

The crux of the problem is that the region is a Shia dominated area and Pakistan has always treated them as suspects. There are conscious efforts to change the demography of the region by encouraging influx of Punjabis’ Pathans and other Sunni people from rest of Pakistan. The first anti-Shia wave surfaced in 1988 when open clashes took place between the Shias and Pakistani Army. It resulted in deep scars in the psyche of the Shia population.

It resurfaced in 1993 with sectarian riots in Gilgit. The Kargil incursions aggravated the situation as 70 percent of the causalities took place from the Northern Light Infantry of the Pakistan Army. On top of it, Pakistan refused to take the bodies of the jawans from India while it gave official funeral to the Punjabi army jawans killed during the Kargil conflict.

Open discrimination in the matter of wages between the natives and those coming from outside is a blatant violation of human rights. The locals are paid 25% less than those coming from outside.

The area is of strategic importance as it has borders with Afghanistan and China. In fact Pakistan has ceded a part of the area to China on which China has constructed the Korkaram highway. It is not just for nothing therefore that India has voiced its concern for the situation in Gilgit and Baltistan. It wants Pakistan to ensure minimum Human rights standards in the area, rather than crying for such rights in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan must put an end to the feudal society it has created in the region at the earliest.
http://www.asiantribune.com/oldsite/sho ... hp?id=2890


Also:


Pakistan is ready to explode and we are Jesus Christs while the bomb Mumbai and India!
http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=4748


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