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07-20-2006, 08:00 AM
20 July New York Times commentary - The Taliban’s Silent Partner (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/20/opinion/20kaplan.html) by Robert Kaplan.

When the American-led coalition invaded Afghanistan five years ago, pessimists warned that we would soon find ourselves in a similar situation to what Soviet forces faced in the 1980’s. They were wrong — but only about the timing. The military operation was lean and lethal, and routed the Taliban government in a few weeks. But now, just two years after Hamid Karzai was elected as the country’s first democratic leader, the coalition finds itself, like its Soviet predecessors, in control of major cities and towns, very weak in the villages, and besieged by a shadowy insurgency that uses Pakistan as its rear base.

Our backing of an enlightened government in Kabul should put us in a far stronger position than the Soviets in the fight to win back the hinterland. But it may not, and for a good reason: the involvement of our other ally in the region, Pakistan, in aiding the Taliban war machine is deeper than is commonly thought.

The United States and NATO will not prevail unless they can persuade Pakistan’s president, Pervez Musharraf, to help us more than he has. Unfortunately, based on what senior Afghans have explained in detail to American officials, Pakistan is now supporting the Taliban in a manner similar to the way it supported the Afghan mujahedeen against the Soviets two decades ago.

The Taliban has two leadership cells operating inside Pakistan, presumably with the guidance and logistical support of local authorities. Senior lieutenants to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s supreme leader, are ensconced in Quetta, the capital of the Pakistani province of Baluchistan. From there they direct military operations in the south-central Afghan provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul.

Meanwhile, one of the Taliban’s savviest military commanders, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and his sons operate out of Miramshah, the capital of the North Waziristan Province. From there, they run operations in Kabul and the eastern Afghan regions of Khost, Logar, Paktia and Paktika...

08-02-2006, 09:23 AM
Brigadier Richard E Simpkins in the his book "Race to the Swift" as far back as 1985 visualised that the Islamic threat would be the spectre that would haunt the western world. It is obvious that he would not have penned such a radical thought in print without it having attained some credibility in the political and military academic circles.

However, the western political circles did not appreciate the full impact of the Islamist wave that was sweeping the world since it did not affect them, so much so many a Islamist radical movements found sanctuary in Britain and elsewhere. The Tablighi, ostensibly a pacifist Islamic movement was gnawing away at the innards of the western world and swelling the rank of Islam with converts. This was feasible since there was an influx of political asylum seekers and Asian job seekers in the West. It was only after 9/11 when it impacted the western world did the west awake to the devastating effect that this Islamic wave was impacting elsewhere around the world i.e. Kashmir, some places in Africa, West Asia etc.

Quite shortsightedly the US encouraged these radicals and gave assistance to rid Afghanistan of the Soviet bear even though USSR was, as it is, on its last legs. But then the Americans are by upbringing and psyche an impatient people who like quick fixes. This quick-fix attitude has brought about the menace of Islamic radicals who plague the earth.

Zia, the born again Islamist, grabbed the US offer and ran camps to organise, equip and control the Taliban hordes against the USSR in Afghanistan. He required this manna since he was an illegitimate usurper of the throne and required to shore up his illegitimacy and nothing is better than religion to divert attention from the miseries of daily life of a poverty stricken and illiterate mass of humanity.

The defeat of the Soviet Union brought about an illusion amongst the Moslem hordes that superpowers can be defeated if one is resolute in Islam. All said and done, no matter what the apologists have to say, the Koran is clear that the only religion that is pure and authentic is Islam. And yet, Islam was not doing well. It was proliferating at a rapid pace, but it was not the ruler of the world! This dichotomy was put to rest (at least in the Islamic mind) by the defeat of USSR in Afghanistan. It gave the impetus to achieve the impossible - world at the feet of Islam. And, why not? If a totalitarian superpower can be defeated, then surely a democratic superpower too could be brought to its knees since democracy has many an infirmity in mustering a national will.

Thus, this foundationed the current Islamic fundamentalism that is running wild with a pipe-dream. Only thing is that they don't think it is a pipe-dream.

In this Islamist dream, the Pakistani population, from whose womb the "Islamic warriors" emerged, has snatched the shining armour from Arabia as the prima Donna and champion and centre of Islam! This fact manifest itself wherein Pakistanis remain in the forefront terrorist attacks in the US (latest being the attempt to blow up a Jewish temple at Seattle). The Arabs are nowhere on the scene any more. Even in the latest meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) at Kuala Lumpur, Pakistan took the lead to condemn the Israeli bombing on Lebanon!

Pakistan is the front-line ally of the US in the War on Terror. This is but a ploy to keep Pakistan from exhibiting open terrorism so that the western actions in Afghanistan is not totally derailed. The US mollifies the Pakistani regime with lollies like F 16 etc and massages the Pakistani ego of being the most modern Islamic defence force. But the game maybe deeper than what meets the eye.

It is in the US interest to mollify and placate Pakistan. Given the commitment in Iraq and the defiance of Iran, the west is in no position to take on Pakistan should it interfere more vigorously in Afghanistan. There is no love lost between the two given the harsh words exchanged by their respective leaders about each other.

Therefore, to keep Pakistan busy, the US and its proxies are actively participating in the Balochistan liberation movement. If Balochistan remains "hot", Pakistan's attention toward Afghanistan would be diluted. Further, if liberation does come, Iran would be boxed in from both sides and the Chinese influence in Gwadar (aimed to make its presence felt in the Indian Ocean and thus challenge the US; as also have a listening post into US activities in the Middle East) removed. It maybe noted that Gwadar in no way assists Balochistan.

But Afghanistan and Balochistan liberated means the Tazakhistan - Afghanistan - Balochistan pipeline is through to feed the oil guzzling requirements of India and China (NIC 2020)! This miracle is very essential for the US flagging economy!

Therefore, Pakistan survival depends on delaying the US plans. Taliban is their saviour!

08-26-2006, 10:43 PM
26 August Washington Post news analysis - Pakistan's Awkward Balancing Act on Islamic Militant Groups (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/25/AR2006082501371.html) by Pamela Constable.

For the past five years, Pakistan has pursued a risky, two-sided policy toward Islamic militancy, positioning itself as a major ally in the Western-led war against global terrorism while reportedly allowing homegrown Muslim insurgent groups to meddle in neighboring India and Afghanistan.

Now, two high-profile cases of terrorism -- a day of gruesome, sophisticated train bombings in India in mid-July and a plot foiled this month to blow up planes leaving Britain for the United States -- have cast a new spotlight on Pakistan's ambiguous, often starkly contradictory roles as both a source and suppressor of Islamic violence, according to Pakistani and foreign experts.

Moreover, increasing evidence of links between international attacks and groups long tolerated or nurtured in Pakistan, including the Taliban and Kashmiri separatists, are making it difficult for the military-led government here to reconcile its policy of courting religious groups at home while touting its anti-terrorist credentials abroad...

The basic problem for Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, is that he is trying to please two irreconcilable groups. Abroad, the leader of this impoverished Muslim country is frantically competing with arch-rival India, a predominantly Hindu country, for American political approval and economic ties. To that end, he has worked hard to prove himself as a staunch anti-terrorism ally.

But at home, where he hopes to win election in 2007 after eight years as a self-appointed military ruler, Musharraf needs to appease Pakistan's Islamic parties to counter strong opposition from its secular ones. He also needs to keep alive the Kashmiri and Taliban insurgencies on Pakistan's borders to counter fears within military ranks that India, which has developed close ties with the Kabul government, is pressuring its smaller rival on two flanks...

Until recently, Musharraf had handled this balancing act with some success, Pakistani and foreign experts said. He formally banned several radical Islamic groups while quietly allowing them to survive. He sent thousands of troops to the Afghan border while Taliban insurgents continued to slip back and forth. Meanwhile, his security forces arrested more than 700 terrorism suspects, earning Western gratitude instead of pressure to get tougher on homegrown violence.

But this summer, a drumbeat of terrorist violence and plotting in India, Britain and Afghanistan have begun to blur the distinction between regional and international Islamic violence. Pakistan, which has a large intelligence apparatus, is now in the awkward position of denying any knowledge of local militants' links to bombings in India and Afghanistan, while claiming credit for exposing their alleged roles in the London airliner plot...

Islamabad's fragile new alliance with the West has developed only since 2001, when Musharraf renounced the Taliban and embraced the anti-terrorist cause. The U.S.-Pakistan relationship has been strained both by Musharraf's foot-dragging on democratic reforms and by India's high-profile rapprochement with Washington, including a controversial new nuclear energy agreement.

Analysts said the Musharraf government may now be playing up its role in foiling the London plot in order to reinforce its importance as a strategic Western ally.

Some observers suggested that in different ways, both Pakistan and India are using the terrorist threat to bolster their competing relations with the West. Just as Pakistan, the regional underdog, may be exaggerating its role as a terror-fighter, they noted, India, the aspirant to global influence, may be exaggerating its role as a victim of terror.

Others suggest that U.S. policy in the Middle East is making it difficult for Muslim countries such as Pakistan to remain peaceful and in control of large, impoverished populations who increasingly turn to religion and identify with the struggles of Muslims in other countries.

But critics said Pakistan's problems with Islamic violence cannot be resolved as long as the military remains in power. In an unusual move last month, a diverse group of senior former civilian and military officials wrote an open letter to Musharraf, warning that the country is becoming dangerously polarized and that a uniformed presidency only exacerbates the problem by politicizing the armed forces. The only solution, the group wrote, is a transition to a "complete and authentic democracy."

08-29-2006, 05:01 PM
It is to massage the ego of Pakistan that it is the front line ally.

Musharraf is incongruous in the sphere of Pakistani politics and has been forced by fate into the high office since he had to undertake the coup or else he would be facing court-martial, which was what the Prime Minister Sharif had lined up for him on return from Sri Lanka.

Ever since then, he has had to play the role of a juggler, both internally and externally. The powerful forces at home that were aligned against him forced him to devise the strategy to show his "prowess" as the saviour by showing positive results taht so far was eluding Pakistan and thereby making himself acceptable both internally and in the international field.

It was evident that without the US assistance and US permission, no external funds would be available to salvage the bankrupt Pakistan or get rid of the danger of being labelled a rogue state, given the fact that all terrorist acts had its root in Pakistan.

Thus, Musharaf had no option but to align himself personally to the US policies. However, to keep himself current with the Islamists, he, every now and then had to indicate his pride as a Pakistani (condemning US air strikes within NWFP, but ensuring that the PAF is not scrambled and mauled or thus upsetting the US) and as also as a Moslem (by proclaiming the greatness of Islam, and to please the US, with a touch of moderation). He spoke against the madrassas to please the US and yet did nothing to change the status quo except for some cosmetic actions nor did he expel the foreign madrassa students inspite of vehement assertions of doing so with immediate effect.

He started the dialogue with India to keep this image of being larger than life! He is yet to match his pious platitudes with the actions against crossborder terrorism. But then, he is a master at jugglery!

To ensure his survival in Pakistan, he, with Machiavellian cunning divided the formidable opposition with bribes or threats of opening up cases of corruption (which was endemic in Pakistani politics) and cobbled up what is know as the "KIngs Party" and has clung on to his uniform (Post of Chief of the Army) since that alone is his mainstay for staying in power.

He has also killed a formidable rival, the Balochi leader Akhbar Khan Bugti and even though currently there is riots practically all over Pakistan, he will survive. He will buy up the trouble creator leaders as he has always done.

In short, he has been a politician par excellence even if not a great military commander.

It must also be mentioned that the Pakistani politicians as a group are not pro US. Even during the catastrophic earthquake that hit Kashmir, the Pakistani Senators were up in arms in the National Assembly claiming that the US and NATO assistance was basically aimed at spying on Pakistan! Even in a catastrophe, instead of being grateful and singleminded in allievating the woes, the Pakistani politicians vectored on to the sinister!

That Pakistan is not at all concerned about containing the Taliban is ever so evident. Pakistan has deployed 80,000 troops in the area along the Afghan border and yet it cannot control either the cross border terrorist movement, nor can they rid the Taliban based within or even nab a AQ operative worth the name! If they can find and kill the Balochi leader, Akhbar Khan Bugti (Musharraf was single minded in getting him since it is said that he was the mastermind behind one of the assassination attempts on Musahrraf) and who was surrounded by his own people and in his own state, then the claims that the Taliban and AQ are difficult to find and kill is too slim an excuse to believe.

To be frank, Musharraf cannot be seen that he is against the "real" defenders of Islam - the Taliban, AQ and Osama! If he does it, he shall hang by the nearest pole and he has no intentions to adorn a tree! Being the master at chicanery, he is playing the fool with the Hudood Law, wherein claiming that it is against Islam and yet ensuring that there is confusion and preventing the amendment being passed. Something on the lines of Pontius Pilate!

To please the US, on and oft a Taliban leader is caught and is always the fourth important person in AQ hierarchy! The US also plays ball since it help to keep this charade going as it is better to have a reluctant ally rather than an active foe on the Afghanistan border skewing up the works in Afghanistan at a time when the focus and the effort is totally being consumed in Iraq!

It is not that there is not a bigger game plan that the US is at. As per some Pakistani commentators, the US is neck deep in the Balochistan issue since the TAP oil and gas pipeline is planned to travel through via Afghanistan and Balochistan to the port of Gwadar. Indeed, if Balochistan declares independence with covert US help or through the "good offfices" of India, the border along Balochistan and FATA would be neutralised and Afghanistan would be in a better position to put its house in order so that the pipeline fructifies! If this happens, then the importance of Pakistan will fade as far as the US strategy is concerned and so it is a question of survival for Musharraf to ensure that Balochistan is calmed, but the terrorist threat to Afghanistan kept alive! An independent Balochistan would also be worth the while for the US because Iran will be boxed from both the flanks.

The port of Gwadar is an important issue in the US strategic map. China is assisting Pakistan in developing this port and will be using it as a listening post into US activities in the Middle East as also be able to interfere with the same when it positions some naval effort there. It will also give teeth to the Chinese strategy of "String of Pearls". Already the Chinese have naval facilities in the Myanmar Coco Islands in the Bay of Bengal. These two naval facilities of Coco Island and Gwadar will compensate for the weakness of the Chinese Navy of not being a blue water navy to protect its interests in the Indian Ocean, which is very critical since the seaway transport oil to China.

08-30-2006, 10:16 AM
Pakistan is a long term liability but we have few other good options. Being overly supportive of non-representative governments especially those with large dissident populations is a risky strategy. If these governments collapse the likely result is government that’s powerbase revolves around confronting the outside power that supported the earlier regime, e.g. Iran. The possibility of a similar situation in Pakistan is very real, made more so by the divides with in the existing power structure.

Mike in Hilo
08-31-2006, 04:25 AM
That Pakistan's (democratically elected) politicians are not pro-US is perhaps an understatement...Ms. Constable's implicit endorsement of the elected government alternative to Musharraf is as disappointing in its shortness of memory as it is predictable. The US seems to me to be appropriately cautious in not pushing too hard for Musharraf to democratize immediately.

During my tenure in Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto's government (first woman PM and darling of US liberals) was ebullient in publicly hailing the creation of the "Islamabad-Tehran-Beijing Axis." Progress was made in nuclear weapons development and AQ Khan flourished. The government was worryingly pro-Saddam before and during the Gulf War, until those final days when it became certain that he would lose. The electoral process served as a mechanism by which the entrenched family dynasties of landowning "feudal lords" (an appellation of unusual honesty for Pakistani politics) could cynically maintain their hold on the country while ensuring that the masses remained steeped in ignorance and powerless poverty. Furthermore, our media consistently err in forgetting that Islamic Law was introduced into Pakistan by Ms Bhutto's democratically elected, "leftist" father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and not by General Zia, who ousted him....

As for the prime minister ousted by Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif, the perennial opponent of Ms Bhutto in a series of national elections, his government was steadfast in its support of the Taleban in Afghanistan....

08-31-2006, 09:14 PM
Over the long term I think anti-US democracies can be better than pro-US dictators. If a dictatorship is unresponsive to the population then a resistance too it will develop, if the US overtly supports the dictator this can have the effect of empowering the resistance since they can now cast the dictator as being a foreign lackey. This allows the resistance to cast their struggle in terms of us against the alien power and appeal to nationalistic instincts. If the resistance comes to power or gains significant influence a strongly anti-US policy will soon develop.

09-01-2006, 08:20 AM
Worse than a Mistake
By Frederic Grare

Page 1 of 1
Posted August 2006
How Pervez Musharraf is endangering himself, Pakistan, and the war on terror.

GENERAL CONFUSION: Musharraf is causing problems for himself and his allies.
General confusion: Musharraf is causing problems for himself and his allies.

Guang Niu/Getty Images

The Bush administration does not know it yet, but Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf may have just outlived his usefulness. He has already failed to confront the Taliban fighters who have made Pakistan a staging area for their attacks in Afghanistan. He has delayed and postponed promises to shore up his country’s democratic freedoms. He has even walked away from symbolic pledges to remove his own military uniform. And last weekend, the Pakistani strongman may have finally tipped the scales too far. On his orders, Pakistani security forces killed Nawab Akbar Bugti, the tribal leader and former governor of Baluchistan. The elimination of the leader of one Pakistan’s most strategically important border regions threatens the country’s territorial integrity, the war on terror, and Musharraf’s own political future. In one deft stroke, Musharraf has made himself an ally no longer worth the effort.

On August 26, Bugti was killed by Pakistani forces in a firefight close to his mountain hide-out. For 60 years, Bugti was a Baluchi nationalist leader and a key figure in the various insurgencies that have gripped Pakistan’s largest and most mineral-rich province. The Baluchis feel they are exploited by a central government they view as a colonial vehicle for Pakistan’s most populous region, the Punjab. They want more political autonomy and a greater share of their region's lucrative gas revenues.

Bugti commanded a sizable force, and he has long been a thorn in Islamabad’s side. But, unlike other leaders in Pakistan’s unruly border areas, he always deployed his forces with politics in mind and an eye on the future. Just last year, he proposed, albeit unsuccessfully, a compromise peace based on a proposal from Pakistan’s Muslim League leadership. His own stature, combined with the fact that he was in charge of the tribe controlling most of Baluchistan's natural gas reserves, made him unacceptable to the military leadership—even though he was Islamabad’s most credible partner for peace in the region.

Some argue that because the insurgency is essentially tribal, the removal of this tribal leader cuts the head off the snake. But that is a fundamental misreading of the insurgency. A prolonged, low-intensity conflict is now likely. With Bugti’s death, the insurgency will be led by far more radical elements, many of whom, including the largest tribe in Baluchistan, the Marri, will settle for nothing less than independence.

Baluchistan’s strategic location, bordering Iran, Afghanistan, and the Arabian Sea, as well as its wealth of minerals and hydrocarbons, means that Baluchi independence will always be unacceptable to Islamabad. So, the army will be ordered to redouble its efforts to crush the insurgency. But the military will struggle to control a province representing some 43 percent of the country’s territory. More forces will likely be redeployed to the region from the Afghan border. Such a move will further thin the army’s presence along the Afghan border and weaken the help it can offer NATO in the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda remnants.

Indeed, the army is already paving the way for a drawdown from the Afghan border, which would free up soldiers for Baluchistan. The Pakistani press reported several days ago that a truce is being negotiated with the Taliban in the frontier area of Waziristan. Such a move would result in the army's withdrawal from all border posts and effectively allow the Taliban to cross the border at will.

If the consequences of Bugti’s death on the ground are still difficult to predict, some of them are already apparent in the political arena. Every political party, even Musharraf’s own political allies, has condemned the killing. The division between the civilian leadership and the military is widening—a frightening trend in any country where the military has such a stranglehold on political life. If this rift continues to widen, the Pakistani military might demand that Musharraf, who is still simultaneously—although unconstitutionally—the army’s chief of staff, choose between his two positions.

The killing of Bugti has exposed a Pakistani president both unable to fulfill his commitments in the war on terror and only able to act decisively against his own people. Musharraf’s actions have reversed decades’ worth of slow progress toward national integration. Reporting restrictions will guarantee that we will not hear much from Baluchistan in the coming months. But the next thing we hear might well be an explosion that reverberates as far as Washington.

Frederic Grare is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


Pakistan will survive. But will be weak.

09-01-2006, 08:27 AM
Musharraf's Dangerous Highwire Act
Tim Lister | Bio | 30 Aug 2006
World Politics Watch Exclusive

Pervez Musharraf is no stranger to a welter of competing pressures -- domestic and external. His government remains under international pressure to root out al Qaeda and Taliban elements in frontier areas; Pakistan's Islamic parties are well-organized and growing in influence; separatists in Baluchistan are making parts of the province ungovernable just as the government tries to exploit its mineral and hydrocarbon potential. Pakistan's political institutions are weak and Islamic extremists have several times tried to assassinate the General. Set against these problems, there is one shaft of light. Pakistan's economy is now one of the fastest growing in Asia -- thanks largely to a government of technocrats that is pursuing privatization and foreign investment.

Amid these pressures, Western governments (and India) continue the clamor for more aggressive action from Pakistan in the "War on Terror." It's a clamor that's understandable -- but counter-productive.

War on Terrorism

In her provocative piece for World Politics Watch earlier this month, Bridget Johnson asked whether conflict in the Middle East would push Musharraf to abandon his "fine line" between a liberal state and a theocracy and maybe "stop offering any bit of comfort or shelter to Islamofascist elements." Setting aside the fashionable term of "Islamofascist," the choice is simplistic; there is a gulf between a theocracy and a liberal state, not a fine line. Ms. Johnson suggests that "if [Musharraf] uses the lives he has left to seriously quash radical Islam in Pakistan, he may leave a significant mark on the region." Indeed he might -- he might set off the sort of sectarian war in Pakistan that has engulfed Iraq, plunging a nuclear-armed state into chaos, with consequences well beyond its own borders. Radical Islam can't simply be quashed, by mobilizing a couple of battalions. Addressing Pakistan's manifold problems also has to take account of incendiary Sunni/Shia relations (Iraq, anyone?) and the vital role of the army as the only functioning national institution.

There is no doubting that Musharraf needs the West and needs to show the international community that he is serious in containing Islamic extremists in Pakistan, whether home-grown or of the multinational al Qaeda variety. The 9/11 Commission and others have legitimately complained that Pakistan remains a breeding ground for terrorism. Offering solutions is more problematic.

It is not as though Musharraf's government is doing nothing -- especially against al Qaeda militants. The army has lost scores of soldiers in remote and rugged Waziristan pursuing foreign fighters. Pakistan has tracked down plenty of important al Qaeda figures -- including Abu Zubaida, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Altogether it has probably arrested some 700 people allegedly linked to al Qaeda. There is also evidence of a new drive against Taliban leaders who have long gone unhindered in using the rugged territory of Baluchistan as a rear base for operations across the border. A recent raid on a hospital in Quetta netted several Taliban operatives, and a Taliban commander, Mullah Hamdullah, was also arrested.

But an overly aggressive pursuit of Islamic radicals might backfire with disastrous consequences. Trying to eradicate (as opposed to contain) militants in Waziristan and tribal areas is not feasible; it could also exacerbate ethnic tensions and cause dissension in an overstretched military. The government suffered a popular backlash after the abortive U.S. missile strike earlier this year on the border village of Damadola, which missed its intended target -- al Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri -- but killed several civilians. Recently, a more subtle approach has taken hold, to try to peel away tribal leaders from foreign elements while using Special Forces to target the latter more precisely rather than risking civilian casualties. A similar state of affairs exists in Baluchistan, home to more than 200,000 Afghan refugees, smuggling routes, grinding poverty and hardline madrassas. It is truly the wild west, where eradicating support for the Taliban is a pipe dream among a well-entrenched network of Sunni Deobandi groups.

Some might describe the government's less than whole-hearted approach as appeasement; others as a prudent cost-benefit analysis. That analysis includes two elements of self-interest. Pakistan had close ties to the Taliban while it ruled Afghanistan and retains some influence over events there by allowing the organization to survive as a thorn in the Karzai government's side. (Not that Pakistani officials would ever admit to such realpolitik.) Musharraf is also aware that if western financial aid and credits are to continue, it is the ongoing nature of the struggle that preserves his and Pakistan's strategic "currency." Since 9/11, America has dismissed $1.5 billion in debt and provided Pakistan with more than $3 billion in military assistance. Its strategic value -- and status as a nuclear power -- helps to preserve Pakistan's primitive parity with India. A similar dynamic informs negotiations with India. Musharraf wants to be seen to be making progress, but not too fast. Important constituencies at home would not tolerate compromise on Kashmir, and as a "process" the relationship attracts greater attention and financial help from the West.

Home-Grown Trouble

Musharraf's action against Pakistani Islamist groups has been less consistent than operations against al Qaeda and fellow travelers. His government has taken highly visible initiatives against radical Islamic groups -- especially after the 2001 attack on India's Parliament and the July 2005 attacks in London. But these crackdowns are not sustained. For example, the order that foreign students at madrassas leave Pakistan in the wake of the London attacks in July 2005 has been defied by many of the schools and quietly dropped. There are probably still several hundred foreign students at the religious schools. One group, Lashkar-e-Taibam, has been outlawed (and also is on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist organizations) and held responsible for several attacks on India. But it has adopted a "shell" as a charitable organization (Jawaat ud Dawa) and it maintains - openly -- a large compound near Lahore.

A broader sweep against groups like Lashkar would be possible, but unlikely to bear fruit. Their memberships are fluid and dispersed among Pakistan's teeming cities and remoter corners. They include some adherents who want to liberate Kashmir and others who migrate to a broader jihad. Some enjoy protection from powerful elements of military intelligence (ISI) as a stick with which to beat India. Mass arrests could have the effect of radicalizing opposition to Musharraf's regime, like poking a stick into a wasps' nest. Instead, the government's policy has been to target individuals with known links to terrorist acts or plots -- such as the murder of Daniel Pearl or the London subway attacks. This month Pakistani al Qaeda suspects were detained in Karachi in connection with a suicide bomb attack against a U.S. diplomat earlier this year. Not pursuing these groups and their sympathizers wholesale is designed to keep social peace in a country that is a sectarian and religious cauldron. A virulent Sunni purism retains its grip in the grimy towns of southern Punjab, stoked by firebrand preachers who have persuaded more than a few to become al Qaeda's foot soldiers. Pakistan's deep-seated religious culture won't be changed overnight. (The democratic experiment in Iraq may be instructive in this respect.) Witness the timidity with which the Musharraf government has approached the reform of Islamic laws on rape and marriage, which constitute abhorrent discrimination against women.

It's important to distinguish between underground Islamist groups like Jaish e Mohammed and Lashkar e Taiba and the "mainstream" Islamist opposition, represented by the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). By western standards, the MMA is extremely conservative -- but it does represent the values of many Pakistanis. It has benefited from Musharraf's assault on the old "dynastic" parties, led by Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, who both probably would face criminal charges should they return home. As Bhutto's PPP and Sharif's PML(N) have suffered, so the Islamic opposition alliance continues to grow in influence. It doubled its vote in the 2002 elections, and now has more parliamentary seats than Sharif's party. Once promoted by Musharraf as a counterweight to the other parties, the MMA has won a majority in North West Frontier Province and is already introducing legislation based on Sharia law. Now it decries Musharraf as a "creature" of Washington and coordinates anti-American protests whenever the opportunity arises.

The popularity of the MMA -- like that of Hezbollah and Hamas -- has as much to do with its role as a social welfare provider as its politics. Its grassroots presence fills a vacuum left by the state. In Lahore, for example, the MMA has converted old movie sets into a clinic and hospital. (The symbolism is not lost on its leaders.)

But does the MMA seriously threaten Musharraf? Bridget Johnson asks: "Will the people go for a hardline regime?" The reality of Pakistani politics is that they won't have the option. The military is the only functional entity and Musharraf's command of it appears as secure as anything in Pakistan can be. Pakistanis joke: "Most countries have an army; here the army has a country." The MMA may burn effigies of Musharraf, but venting on the streets and making decisions in Islamabad are poles apart.


09-01-2006, 08:28 AM

Musharraf's government is pinning substantial hopes for containing Islamic opposition and popular discontent on improving living standards. Held back by a bureaucratic straitjacket and poor infrastructure, Pakistani business has until recently been left in the dust by more competitive regional economies. That is beginning to change following the appointment of former Citibank executive Shaukat Aziz as Prime Minister. In 2005, Pakistan registered one of the fastest growth rates in the world (8.4 percent) as red tape was cut and foreign investment attracted. Some Pakistani expatriates are returning to invest at home, less out of a sense of patriotic duty than because of new opportunities.

There are massive challenges. Trade negotiations with India proceed at glacial pace. Most trade is still indirect through Dubai, and a visit last year to the only road crossing open for trade (at Wagah) revealed nothing more than a few truck loads of Indian potatoes and garlic crossing the border. Potentially, an open trading relationship with India could bring capital and markets to Pakistan, but not at this rate.

Pakistan has to sustain and learn to handle high economic growth if is to meet the challenge of a young and increasingly urbanized population, many of whom are without regular work. In the interest of transparency, the government has to tackle the fabulous perks enjoyed by the military and its interests in the commercial and agricultural sectors. Unless handled astutely, economic growth could bring about as many problems as it solves, accelerating the rush to the cities and the growth of an underemployed, unskilled "proletariat" exposed to but unable to attain wealth. Above all, massive investment and political resources need to be plowed into overhauling education, where the curriculum is dominated by religious education with little vocational instruction


This is the greatest near-term imponderable in Pakistan. Musharraf has avoided grooming a successor and despite multiple promises has not shed his uniform for civilian garb. The pro-military PML-Q party -- the largest in parliament -- has no outstanding leaders but is rather a vehicle for the General's 2007 election bid. Musharraf has hand-picked his immediate circle of military chiefs; no one in the largely technocratic government has a power base. But in reinforcing his rule he has enfeebled Pakistan's already moribund political institutions. It's unclear whether in the run-up to the elections he will seek favor from the more secular parties (rehabilitating the Bhutto or Sharif dynasties) or the Islamists. Whichever direction he tilts will constrain his room for maneuver.

Many observers in Pakistan have a grudging respect for Musharraf's ability to bring stability (especially when compared with the chaos and corruption of the previous governments). But there is also anxiety that he is beginning to develop a "cult of indispensability." Increasingly, Musharraf compares himself to Pakistan's revered founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah. At the Independence Day rally in Lahore last year, he was flanked by two enormous portraits of Jinnah -- partly to underline his secular credentials, but also to portray himself as the indispensable father of modern Pakistan; so indispensable that there was a well-guarded 50-yard gap between him and his audience.

Few Pakistani analysts regard Musharraf as a visionary who can refashion Pakistan in the style of Ataturk (his hero) into a modern, secular state. The best they hope for is that his instinct for tactical advantage, his talent for steering between the Scylla and Charibdis in pursuit of "enlightened moderation" provides stability, which in turn limits the appeal of the Islamic opposition and entrenches economic improvement. The alternative, that al Qaeda gets lucky in one of its assassination attempts, is not one they wish to entertain.

Tim Lister has covered international news for 25 years as a producer and reporter for the BBC and CNN. He has lived and worked in the Middle East, and has also worked in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2004, he produced the award-winning documentary "Between Hope and Fear: Journeys in the New Iraq" for CNN. He is now an independent writer and producer.

Mushrraf is paying lip service to getting rid of the AQ and instead is more keen to consolidate his position in the country.

However, this is going to be a serious problem for him.

09-05-2006, 07:25 AM
5 September Los Angeles Times commentary - Pakistan: Friend or Foe? (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-harrison5sep05,0,4635046.story?coll=la-opinion-center) by Selig Harrison.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf is supposedly a key U.S. ally in the "war on terror." But is he, in fact, more of a liability than an asset in combating Al Qaeda and the increasingly menacing Taliban forces in Afghanistan?...

Musharraf's most vocal defender is former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who has urged continued support for him "no matter how frustrated we become at the pace of political change and the failure to eliminate Taliban fighters from the Afghan border." Musharraf is better than what might come after him, Armitage argues, and is a moderate who has done his best to fend off the entrenched forces of Islamic extremism in Pakistan.

But this argument does not hold up against mounting evidence that, as an ally, Musharraf has been an opportunist from the start who has continued to help the Taliban (just as he had done before 9/11 ) and who has gone after Al Qaeda cells in Pakistan only to the extent necessary to fend off U.S. and British pressure.

On Sept. 19, 2001, Musharraf made a revealing TV address in Urdu, not noticed at the time by most Americans, in which he reassured Pakistanis who sympathized with Al Qaeda and the Taliban that his decision to line up with the U.S. was a temporary expedient.

To Taliban sympathizers, Musharraf directed an explicit message, saying: "I have done everything for the … Taliban when the whole world was against them….We are trying our best to come out of this critical situation without any damage to Afghanistan and the Taliban." He has kept his promise to the latter.

Taliban forces continue to have unrestricted access to Pakistani border towns as staging areas and sanctuaries. Pakistani soldiers look the other way when Taliban units cross the mountains at Bormoi. With U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan suffering increasingly heavy casualties in the face of a Taliban offensive this summer, their officers no longer mince words about Pakistan's role. Col. Chris Vernon, chief of staff of British forces in southern Afghanistan, charged recently that the Pakistan border town of Chaman serves as the "major headquarters" for a guerrilla network in southeast Afghanistan.

Musharraf sees the Taliban as a pro-Pakistan counterweight to Indian influence in Afghanistan and wants to keep it strong in case Afghan President Hamid Karzai is overthrown and Afghanistan collapses into chaos. As a sop to Washington and London, he ordered raids on two small Taliban encampments in July, and he occasionally rounds up key Al Qaeda figures — but in many cases only after the FBI and CIA have confronted Pakistani police with communications intercepts pinpointing their hide-outs.

Even if Musharraf wanted to remove Taliban and Al Qaeda forces from Pakistan, his ability to do so is limited by the political pact that he made with a five-party Islamic alliance in 2004 to win state elections in the two key border provinces. As a result, Al Qaeda and Taliban activity is openly supported by local officials there, and Pakistani groups allied with Al Qaeda are thriving, notably Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba. This prevents Musharraf from carrying out his pledge to crack down on madrasas (religious schools) linked to terrorist groups.

The Islamic parties are flourishing under the protective umbrella of the Pakistani armed forces. Their growth would be slowed if secular political forces had a chance to assert themselves through free elections and a parliamentary system liberated from army manipulation. Under Musharraf, the army has seized much more power than past military regimes, installing military officers in hundreds of government posts previously held by civil servants. Army-sponsored conglomerates control multibillion-dollar enterprises and will not be easily dislodged. As a Pakistani editor commented, "Most countries have an army, but in Pakistan, the army has a country." ...

Merv Benson
09-05-2006, 02:01 PM
According to the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5315564.stm), Pakistan has entered into an agreement with Taliban tribesman that amounts to a cease fire and a deal to turn over "foreigners."

Pakistan has signed a deal with pro-Taleban militants on the Afghan border aimed at ending years of unrest.

The North Waziristan accord calls on tribesmen to expel foreign militants and end cross-border attacks in return for a reduced military presence.

Tens of thousands of Pakistani troops are fighting foreign Islamic militants and their local supporters in the country's restive tribal belt.

Hundreds of people have been killed in violence in North Waziristan this year.

The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says some observers believe the deal offers the government an exit from a military strategy that has largely failed.


Under the accord, the Pakistani military promises to end major operations in the area.

It will pull most of its soldiers back to military camps, but will still operate border check-points.

Over the summer the military met other conditions, releasing a number of tribesmen in an apparent goodwill gesture to the militants and withdrawing soldiers from new check-posts.

Local Taleban supporters, in turn, have pledged not to harbour foreign militants, launch cross-border raids or attack Pakistani government troops or facilities.

Observers say meeting these conditions could be difficult, as the Taleban has support on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border.

The value of the agreement will depend in large part on whether the tribal leaders word is any good and what is meant by "harboring foreign militants." Does that mean they are going to turn over bin Laden and Zawahiri? Probably not.

09-07-2006, 07:14 PM
Islamabad, Pakistan (AHN) - After signing a truce with pro-Taliban militants on its border with Afghanistan, Pakistan is now extending the olive branch to America's most wanted man; Osama bin Laden.

Pakistani officials tell ABC that the leader of the terror group al-Qaeda, and the mastermind of the September 11th attacks in the U.S. will not face capture if he agrees to lead a "peaceful life."

Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan says that "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen" bin Laden "would not be taken into custody.

and the Treaty signed with the tribal leaders in North Waziristan.

The above are masterstrokes that Musharraf has played. Brilliant, in fact.

No longer will Pakistan's own troops battle its own people. It is a larger than life message to the Balochis - play by the rules and all will be well!

This is also a great message to fundamentalists and fundamnetalist leaning political parties and the Pakistani population that Pakistan will not fight its own people which is an unIslamic act, in that Moslems killing Moslem. A great coup.

The withdrawal of troops from North Waziristan means an open hunting season for western forces in the guise of 'Hot Pursuits" and if Osama is nabbed, then neither the Pakistani govt nor Musharraf can be held responsible. After all, the tribal leaders wanted the army to be out!

It is a brilliant move par excellence by Musharraf.

Abizaid's visit and the Canadian proclamation (that was taken back) that western troops should be placed on the Pakistan side of the border could be read in this context.

One has to see now how the cat jumps!

09-21-2006, 06:21 PM
Below is an article that explains the undercurrents that occur in Pakistan politics.

The article was published in the Indian Army ATRAC magazine PINNACLE

Owing to the space restriction of the posting, it is in parts.

Military Involvement in the Political Development of Pakistan and its Rationale


Pakistan shares a common heritage with India. Its Army, like the Indian Army, had inherited the apolitical culture of the British Army.

Yet, there have been four coup d’états that toppled the civil governments of Pakistan. This is extraordinary since they should have imbibed the British ethos more than the Indians as the British were closer to the Moslems community since the bulk of their retainers were Moslems, who had less of social inhibitions that the Hindus. Unfortunately, Pakistanis apparently have not imbibed the British legacy either in their military or in governance.


The rationale for the repeated coup d’états is very complex. It has its roots in militarism that diffused through the political and social ethos of the areas that became Pakistan. It was also spawned additionally in the psychological, social and political catharsis that the events during the Partition havocked on the mindset of the migrants from India. The illusion of having been the rulers of India prior to the British and then being reduced to being the legatee of a moth eaten state called Pakistan instead of the Indian Empire, too added to a serious irritant to the Pakistani ego. Therefore, it is not surprising, given the mix stated earlier, that the population sought salvation through the more disciplined military to rid them of the chaos, deprivation and ignominy that Pakistan has sunk to owing to the ‘dis-focussed’ governments that followed Jinnah and after the assassination of Liaquat Ali. The global ascension of Nehru and India’s stature in comparison also indirectly aggrandised the consolidation of militarism egged on by obscurantist element. Unfortunately, this practice of military in governance has become more of a rule than an exception even though the popular index has diminished.

An overview of the psyche that propels the destiny of Pakistan, continually wracked by military coup d’états, is thus essential since such ‘turbulence’ affects the stability of the region and impedes the progress of the sub continent in the highly global existence. Such analysis alone can assist in collaborating to bring stability and progress to the region. It is in the world’s interest that a responsible and incorruptible democracy permanently returns to Pakistan. Had Pakistan not been carved out of India and instead was a nation with its own history, it might have been a “normal” nation. Therefore, the cause and the impact of the anti Indian psyche leading to militarism, visitations of military dictatorships and the role of the military in the ‘development’ of Pakistan must be understood.

The Social Churn of Pakistan

Carved out of India, Pakistan came into existence with five provinces – Balochistan, North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Punjab, Sindh and East Bengal. Balochistan and NWFP were tribal in composition (and loosely administered, even in the British era) while Punjab, Sindh and East Bengal were peasantry predominant. Excepting in East Bengal, because of the feudal structure of areas that became Pakistan, there was a deficiency in the constitutional and institutional ethos or awareness. Axiomatically, the ‘mai baap’ (feudal lords being the sole arbiter) culture permeating the citizens’ interactivity was a way of life. There were the rich and there were the poor but hardly any middle class. There was barely any industry or commerce worth mention except to some extent in Karachi.

On the other hand, undivided Punjab, the epicentre of Pakistani politics, was the cradle for the military. During World War I, Punjab alone accounted for 66 per cent cavalry, 87 per cent artillery and 45 per cent infantry of the undivided Indian Army. It was obvious that Punjab became historically military sensitive and its administration was essentially committed to the welfare of the soldiery. The military cast it shadow in all the facets of the social milieu of Punjab. The extent of the military’s influence can be well judged by the fact that in the first two decades of the 20th Century, the Punjab government granted half a million acres of land as rewards to the soldiers. At Partition, Punjab, and to some extent the Rawalpindi district, swamped in domination in the Indian Army. There lay the foundation of the militarism that grips Punjab and in consequence, Pakistan.

Upon Partition, the Mohajirs, or migrants from India, comprised 20 percent of Pakistan’s population. They were socially aware, better educated and intellectually and politically empowered. These migrants formed the middle class and axiomatically had overwhelming representation amongst bureaucracy, judiciary, commerce and industry since the indigenous population was feudalistic and socially, educationally and politically backward. The Punjabis who were getting sidelined in governance, had never appreciated this ‘usurping of power’ by the migrants. Yet, given Jinnah’s (a Mohajir) stature as the Qaid e Azam, the Punjabis could do little to exert themselves.

Jinnah’s Moslem League dominated the political scene, which was virtually composed of the more educated, politically and socially savvy migrants of India. On the other hand, the Punjabis and other indigenous tribes staffed the military. This obviously led to a schism and the successive resurfacing of military governments was but a manifestation of the original inhabitants, predominantly the Punjabis, attempting to establish their hold on governance which they felt was rightful theirs. Thus lay the foundation of the jockeying for power between the indigenous and the migrant populations exemplified by the military and the rest, which is now history.

09-21-2006, 06:22 PM
Continued from above

Rationale for the Anti Indian Psyche – Catalyst for the Armed Forces Involvement

Interestingly, the anti Indian psyche that now forms the rasion d’être of the present shape of the Indo Pak relationship, and Pakistan’s overzealous quest to assert a Muslim identity, was not the handiwork of the indigenous Pakistani population. It was the migrants who shaped the psyche of the new nation. The migrants, being rootless, and without a common cultural and ethnic identity of their own, that they would be swamped into oblivion if sub-nationalism was allowed to develop roots in Pakistan. Being savvy, they realised that unless there was a bogey created that would divert attention, they would have no future. Hence, the whipped up the fear of India that was already prevalent because of the horrendous events of the Partition. However, realising that this phenomenon would not last, they used Islam as the bulwark since this would attain perpetuity. Hence, Islam was used as a cause célèbre in Pakistan to divert attention from sub-nationalism while propping ‘oneness’ (Islam) of the sole factor for the existence and propagation of Pakistan, and the anti Indian factor suited this line of militant Islamism immeasurably. (note: that is why Pakistanis cannot think beyond India being Hindu inspite of a huge minority of Muslims as it would not suit the agenda!) Sub-nationalism was thus pushed into an insignificant pale except to some extent in East Bengal (East {Pakistan).

The matter would have. However, in masterful sleight of hand, the indigenous population of Pakistan, which dominated the Army, with a view to best the Mohajir at their game, fed fat the Mohajir inspired hate psychosis by keeping the Kashmir issue and the bogey of India on the boil. This was also done to extract a hefty defence budget at the expense of progress in Pakistan and ensuring perks “beyond the call of duty”. Mohajirs in the Army like Musharraf, play ball to suit their personal interests. Thus, the one-upmanship game continues to the detriment of their citizenry and to the discomfort of the subcontinent and the world at large!

The anti Indian feeling has its foundation in the Partition. In India, which is a vast country, the basic tendency is for the reverberation to die out as these progress outward. Therefore, the mayhem and trauma of the Partition was experienced in Bengal and the Punjab alone and found sober repercussions in the rest of India. This was not so with the smaller Pakistan. The blood letting in these states was felt throughout Pakistan. Apart from the Punjab and East Bengal, the various elements of the Army extensively employed to control the mayhem, such as the Pakistan Miltiary Evacuation Organisation (PMEO) was also affected. Muslim, unlike other religious denominations, are more inward looking and cohesive and more subservient to their Mullahs. The mullahs had a field day. The gruesome stories reached the remote corners of Pakistan. The Hindu – Muslim animosity that caused the Partition turned into a deep rooted hatred. The Pakistani Army too got brutalised and politicised!

From Pakistan’s point of view, to add insult to injury, was the Radcliffe Award that demarcated the boundary of India and Pakistan. The Pakistanis felt shortchanged. In India, too, many felt shortchanged. However, while Indians accepted the same as a fait accompli, there being no option if Independence was to come about on schedule, the Pakistanis could not reconcile. This added to the cauldron of hatred for Indians.

The failure of being thwarted in 1947 in the annexation of Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim majority State which acceded to India; failure to capitalised on Islam to rouse the Kashmiris and being defeated in the war in 1965; the humiliating rout in 1971 with 90,000 of the best of the ‘redoubtable and invincible’ Pakistani Army being taken as prisoners of war and Pakistan torn in half; and the Kargil folly where Pakistan was ensconced in the international doghouse, have only added to the ‘hate India’ psyche. Worse still, through each defeat in the successive wars Pakistan thrust on India, was exploding the self deluding myth that Muslims are manifold braver and better than the avaricious, feeble and emaciated Hindus [little do they realise that the Nation is composed of all religious groups who are equally dedicated to the Indian nationhood!] This shattering of the psychological indoctrination, based on assumed religious superiority, makes it difficult for the Pakistanis accept the reality of India’s superiority in size and economy. The fact that in 1965 and also in Kargil, it was the Muslims who alerted the country is too insulting for Pakistanis to believe!

That India has stood tall in the international arena without buckling or aligning to any major power has added to their national shame wherein they have found their country a handmaiden of the US, mortgaging their destiny to the dictates of that country. For proud Muslims, it is yet another bitter pill and a fulcrum of jealous anger against India. Thus, that the cup if Pakistani hatred brims over, and India, in the Pakistani mindset, is the cause of their nation’s deprivations is but natural.

09-21-2006, 06:24 PM
Continued from abvoe


Growth of Military’s Predominance

As elucidated above, the Pakistani psyche was moulded to suit the migrants’ fear of sub-nationalism rising and swamping their rootless identity, the Punjabis’ ‘loss of power’ and their abating of their predominance, the fervent focus on Islam as the saviour and the uniting force, and impertinently, a contrived fear of India. This resulted in the tussle between these various powerful focal points in the governance of Pakistan. This, in turn, resulted in a schizophrenic morass in the quest for national identity. This unholy power struggle between the various vested interest groups and the mullahs led to a chaotic state which was neither democratic nor representative.

From Independence to 1958, turmoil and strife was commonplace and brimming subsurface. The Parliament was not representative since it had been elected indirectly. Even thought the Constituent Assembly was composed of the ‘locals’, the migrants controlled the executive wing of the government. The first coup had already taken place in 1954, at the hands of the bureaucracy, and not the Army! The Governor General, Gulam Mohammed, dissolved the National Assembly and formed a so called ‘government of talent’. It was an amalgam of various ethno-regional, industrial, landed, bureaucratic and military interests. However, the illegitimacy of the arrangement led to the indirect elections of 1955 to form the Second Constituent Assembly.

The elections were being postponed repeatedly because of the fear of various lobbies losing their clout to machinate governance to suit their interest. Making matters worse were the Bengalis who, as a’ bloc’, were in the majority. Suhrawardy of Bengal loomed as a Spectre, which could upset the delicate power equation of the Mohajirs and the Punjabis! The spatial distance between East and West Pakistans being large and discontinuous, the mentalities and ethos were equally disparate. This psyche obviously did not fashion any bonhomie with the Bengalis nor with the other communities. Thus, there was an internal schism.

The elections were to be held. This would mean the power base would shift to the representatives of the people; worse still to the Bengalis, who were unpredictable and were not too steeped in the form of zeal propagated by the Mohajirs and the Punjabis. The prospect of handing power to the peoples’ representatives, did not suit the vested interests of the bureaucracy, military, feudal satraps and other niches of privilege. In this disquieting milieu, the first military coup took place.

The President Iskander Mirza invited the Army in. The Army did not alienate the vested seats of interest. However, for the Army, it was their first savour of power and it was sapid. The tables were slowly turned to bring in the supremacy of the Punjabi influence, the army being predominantly Punjabi who were the erstwhile pacesetters of the destiny of the areas that came to be Pakistan. Ayub Khan’s military rule was more benign than his successors, though during his tenure, Pakistan shifted to a Presidential form of government. He did bring in stability as also attempted to make Pakistan self reliant through industrialisation to some extent.

In 1970, General Yahyah Khan was forced by circumstances to call an election. The result resurrected the sceptre that the vested interests feared, especially the military. The elections delineated the people along ethnic, linguistic, class and sectarian niches. The worst fear fructified. Mujibur Rehman, a fiery Bengali, would become the Prime Minister! This served none’s purpose including the common Punjabis, who illogically reposed on themselves the fallacy that they were a superior race! Therefore, the turmoil in Pakistani polity suited the military and bureaucracy. ZA Bhutto, another charismatic leader, a Sindhi and West Pakistani, and the second polestar of popularity, was covertly propped up by the military. Bengalis, realising that they had been shortchanged, rose in rebellion. The rest is the sad history of Pakistan. Yahyah and his military cahoots attempted to brutally goosestep the Bengali aspirations and this came to as sorry pass. East Pakistan, plundered, raped and pillaged rose as a phoenix and emerged as Bangladesh! The military was disgraced. The Punjabi domination ebbed, as Bhutto became the undisputed leader and Prime Minister.

The military and the Punjabis could not brook this shift in the seat of power, especially since democracy was becoming a bedrock in Pakistan and the power brokers and vested interests [to some extent] banished into oblivion. Like all despots, Bhutto too overreached himself and played into the hands of the military. A popular movement against his autocracy was set afire.

Gnereal Zia ul Haq, a Bhutto protégé, had Bhutto arrested and hung. He changed the form of government to semi Presidential one through the 8th Amendment to ensure that the Army ruled supreme. The Pakistani history from Zia to Nawaz Sahrif is too recent to repeat. However, it was Sharif who clipped the wings of the military by taking away the presidential powers to dissolve the national and provincial assemblies with the 13th Amendment in April 1997, much to the chagrin of the Army.

The paternalistic attitude that still prevails in Pakistan has allowed the Army during each coup to hold the populations’ adulation initially, since the same adulation was allowed to politicians in the interim to ruin democracy through misgovernance and corruption. Thus, the cycle continues with Pakistan meandering rudderless through a variety of government, both military and civil!

The Army has mastered the politics of ‘bringing democracy to the doorstep’.
Each successive coup engineered by the Army has used this trump card to justify the act. Ayub brought in ‘Basic Democracies’ in the 1962 Constitution. It had ensured that local counsellors were elected and they acted as the Electoral College that not only elected the President but also the national and provincial assemblies. This way Ayub ensured that politics was localised and de-radicalised. It was also ensured that there was a direct link between the villages and the central government, cutting across parochial party based patronage, especially since no party had the means to field 80,000 candidates! The District Administration was supreme in the allocation of funds. Indeed, this was a novel way to ensure a ‘panchayati raj’ while having a centralised control over the progress of he country. However, this scheme alienated the intelligentsia since they had no role to play. A turmoil ensued and Ayub had to quit.

Zia also realised that ‘bringing democracy to the doorstep’ was a failsafe method to ensure continuance of his power. He promised elections twice, but postponed the same since it could be disastrous for his regime since the environment clearly indicated a pro Pakistan Peoples’ Party [Bhutto’s Party] tilt. Therefore, he wanted to test the waters. He took the tested route through local bodies’ election, which was held regularly till the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) in 1983 forced him to opt for elections. However, cleaver as he was, Zia agreed for election but on non party basis. This ensured an inbuilt safety. In any case, the Constitution empowered the President to dismiss the government at will.

President General Musharraf too has taken the route of the military dictators before him. Instead of general elections that the Nation demanded, he opted for elections to the local bodies. To ensure centralised control, Parvez constituted the National Reconstruction Board (NRB), patterned on the Bureau of National Reconstruction that Ayub had constituted. In short, it was to bring democracy to the grassroots and yet did not devolve on it the revenue raising power.

Increasingly, in spite of of the cosmetic power to the local bodies, the actual power has rested with the Central government. This type of an environment where political and religious views in deciding the fate of the Nation was stifled, the political scene became murkier. With the political and financial patronage of the Central government (i.e. the Army, with Musharraf both as the Army Chief and the President), the Central government thus engineered the elections in the Districts, which threw up very odd bedfellows. This suited Musharraf’s designs to keep the US on tenterhooks as also appease the population. In fact, it became a strife between the Army and its bedfellows versus the Rest, which is composed of rather incongruous customers and hence more instability. This instability also fits the designs of the Army.

In this context, the Army has always distrusted the politicians even more than they distrust India. They hold them in contempt as corrupt and self serving with little concern for Pakistan. That is the reason why the Army has always insisted on its hold on the foreign policy, especially after they were in disarray after resounding defeat and the disgrace of 1971. Likewise in the democratic phase from 1988 to 1999, no defence policy could be framed without the sanction of the military. Every government of Pakistan had a watchdog body composed of the military to keep an eye on the affairs of the state.

09-21-2006, 06:24 PM
Concluding part


That the politicians are not the major players in the destiny of Pakistan, especially now, is borne by the fact that when Nawaz Sahrif took some steps to normalising the relationship with India, he was overthrown. In fact, he was backstabbed by Kargil! To his credit, he was the first Punjabi politician to be ready to reconsider the intangible position of Pakistan on Kashmir (his own father opposed it!). He and Vajpayee thawed the tense situation with the Lahore Bus, exchange of prisoners, visits of commercial and cultural delegations and the Lahore Declaration including the easing of the visa protocol. He also started the Track Two diplomacy. And yet, the Army prevailed! They orchestrated an asinine plan in Kargil, defying military tenets, without planning re-supply for suystenance of the troops (the diary recovered in Dras indicated so) and then finally overthrew him! These reflect the total supremacy of the Army in governance.


The Pakistan military, and to some extent the bureaucracy, will continue to be at the helm of affairs in the governance of Pakistan. The rationale and the ethos for the same have been already explained in detail in this article. It is too deep seated for any quick change. The migrants, whoa re intellectually superior and form the bulk of the bureaucracy, will continue to ensure their supremacy and not allow sub-nationalism to surface or else they are doomed to oblivion. Till today, even after 56 years of Independence, they are not accepted as a part of Pakistan and are still referred to as Mohajirs (refugees). Likewise, the self proclaimed ‘superior race’ Punjabis will not abdicate their predominance and they have the Army (70% still is Punjabis) to put their money where their mouth is! Lastly, there is always the India factor, to strike the fear of God in any deviate!.

The only hope of salvation of this complex situation is the economic, social and political stability of Pakistan. This is achievable only through interpersonal interactivity of the population of Indian and Pakistan and a better commercial equation between the two countries. A prosperous nation is a contented nation.

Kashmir will axiomatically find its slot.

(PINNACLE Vol 2, No 2 October 2003)

sorry about this long post. There are no links.

09-22-2006, 01:02 PM
This is just an FYI

U.S. threatened to bomb Pakistan over war on terror: Musharraf
Last Updated Thu, 21 Sep 2006 20:49:01 EDT
CBC News

The U.S. threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the Stone Age" after the Sept. 11 attacks if the country refused to help America with its war on terrorism, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says.

In an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes to air on Sunday, the Pakistani leader said the threat came from then-deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage. Musharraf said it was delivered to his intelligence director.

More.... (http://www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2006/09/21/musharraf-bomb.html)

Source: CBC News (http://www.cbc.ca/)

Speaking of "masterfulstrokes".....


09-30-2006, 02:14 PM
Evidence of Foreign Hand in Mumbai Train Blasts (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/2051921.cms) - Times of India
India Police: Pakistan Spy Agency Behind Mumbai Bombings (http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/09/30/india.bombs/) - CNN News
Indian Police Blame Pakistan in Bombings (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/30/AR2006093000226.html) - Associated Press
Pakistan ISI Involved in Train Blasts, Mumbai Investigators Say (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601080&sid=at_Z2NjvGsgQ&refer=asia) - Bloomberg
Pakistan 'Role in Mumbai Attacks' (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5394686.stm) - BBC News
Police: Pakistan Group Behind Mumbai Blasts (http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2006-09-30T105944Z_01_DEL12798_RTRUKOC_0_UK-INDIA-BLASTS.xml&WTmodLoc=NewsLanding-C4-World-2) - Reuters
India Makes Mumbai Train Blast Arrests (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/29/AR2006092901421.html) - Associated Press
'Foreign Hand' Behind Mumbai Bombings (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/30/AR2006093000226.html) - Associated Press
Pakistan Asks for Mumbai Blasts' Evidence (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/30/AR2006093000297.html) - Reuters

11-25-2006, 03:33 PM
24 November Der Spiegel - Headquarters of the Taliban (http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,450605,00.html) by Susanne Koelbl.

To understand the war in Afghanistan, one must go to Pakistan. There, in Quetta, the leaders of the Taliban find safe harbor. Afghan President Hamid Karzai claims Taliban leader Mullah Omar is living there.

Quetta is located in western Pakistan. It is the capital of Balochistan, the largest and poorest of the Pakistani provinces. Somewhat like a lunar outpost, the 800,000-resident city is situated at an altitude of nearly 1,700 meters between the sand-brown peaks of Chiltan, Takatoo, Mordar and Zarghun. Quetta originally means "fort," and it has always been just that: a fortress, where opposing forces are battling for regional hegemony.

Quetta is considered the center of terror and resistance against the Americans and their allies -- the "occupiers" of Afghanistan. In the backrooms of radical parties and in the white-washed mosques whose towers spiral decoratively skywards, the elite of the holy warriors meet regularly to organize their comeback. Right out in the open streets -- between the market stalls with pomegranates and dates, the currency exchanges and the vats where meat and beans steam on open fires -- the Taliban recruit the holy warriors who will blow themselves up as suicide bombers in Afghanistan...

Much more at the link.

12-11-2006, 02:48 PM
ICG, 11 Dec 06: Pakistan's Tribal Areas: Appeasing the Militants (http://www.crisisgroup.org/library/documents/asia/south_asia/125_pakistans_tribal_areas___appeasing_the_militan ts.pdf)

Taliban and other foreign militants, including al-Qaeda sympathisers, have sheltered since 2001 in Pakistan’s Pashtun-majority Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), seven administrative districts bordering on south eastern Afghanistan. Using the region to regroup, reorganise and rearm, they are launching increasingly severe cross-border attacks on Afghan and international military personnel, with the support and active involvement of Pakistani militants. The Musharraf government’s ambivalent approach and failure to take effective action is destabilising Afghanistan; Kabul’s allies, particularly the U.S. and NATO, which is now responsible for security in the bordering areas, should apply greater pressure on it to clamp down on the pro-Taliban militants. But the international community, too, bears responsibility by failing to support democratic governance in Pakistan, including within its troubled tribal belt....

12-24-2006, 09:55 AM
24 December LA Times - On the Trail of the Taliban's Support (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-border24dec24,1,6007723.story?coll=la-headlines-world) by Paul Watson.

... "A hundred armed Taliban men passed through the Pakistani border with their equipment, and with their rocket-propelled grenade launchers," said Qasim Khail, commander of the Afghan border police's 2nd Brigade, which guards the post here. "And they retreated the same way. There are only two escape routes out of here, and both of them end at a Pakistani border post."

Confidential documents obtained by The Times show that for at least two years, U.S. military intelligence agencies have warned American commanders that Taliban militants were arming and training in Pakistan, then slipping into Afghanistan with the help of Pakistani border control officers...

12-24-2006, 02:02 PM
24 December Washington Post - Taliban Figure Killed in Airstrike (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/23/AR2006122300214.html) by Pamela Constable.

A top Taliban leader and close associate of Osama bin Laden has been killed in a U.S. airstrike in southern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border, the U.S. military said in a statement Saturday...

"Osmani was in the top ring of the Taliban leadership, and he was also a close associate of Osama bin Laden," said Col. Tom Collins, a U.S. military spokesman. Collins said Osmani also had close ties to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan militia leader once allied with the United States who is now an anti-American fugitive.

02-28-2007, 03:44 PM
Moderator's Note: an old thread 'US and Pakistan Military Cooperation?' has been merged into this thread.

The Washington Quarterly, Spring 07:

When $10 Billion is Not Enough: Rethinking US Strategy Toward Pakistan (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/070227_cohen-chollet.pdf)

...For all the talk of the United States’ global dominance and despite considerable U.S. support to the Pakistani military, Washington finds itself with relatively little leverage to influence events in Pakistan. During the past five years, the United States has given Pakistan more than $10 billion in assistance, channeled primarily through the Pakistani military. What Pakistan gives in return may be only enough to keep the money coming.

After the September 11 attacks, many U.S. policymakers believed that Pakistan was one place where they were justified in saying, “You are either with us or against us.” Nevertheless, despite the billions of dollars spent, the United States has not made the necessary commitment to solidify the relationship for the long term. This is not merely a function of the scale of assistance, but of its type. U.S. engagement with Pakistan is highly militarized and centralized, with very little reaching the vast majority of Pakistanis. More problematic still, U.S. assistance does not so much reflect a coherent strategy as it does a legacy of the initial, transactional quid pro quo established in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks and a familiar menu of what the United States was already organized to provide. U.S. soft power in Pakistan, the ability to influence by attraction and persuasion, is far lower than it could be, considering the historic, economic, and personal bonds that unite the two countries....

02-28-2007, 06:04 PM
Soft power often entails the transfer of money with good itentions and plans on the part of the donor and recipient but with no quality control over the element of corruption and misappropriation that invariably creeps in. If you want an extension of good will and constructive effort on the part of the US and the Pakistani goverment extended to and into the frontier region, send in an all Muslim Peace Corps with a sole focus on agricultural, educational and health care development. Said components are totally compatible with fundamentalist Islam, which prevails in the frontier region.
I think the cultural barriers are so high in 3rd world countries that the usual soft approaches can't readily be employed. I'm a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Peace Corps and I recall a time in our training village in Africa when some of the Jola people came to the Peace Corps school where we were doing cross cultural and language training. The Jolas were preparing to go out in the bush for a puberty ceremony. Their shamans were with them carrying traditonal weapons and everyone was fully decked out with their cultural accouterments. We were all outside under a shade of a tree getting a lecture at the time when they approached, singing, drumming, dancing, etc. Everyone except me and one interpretor went running inside the school house like so many frightened school kids. So much for reaching out and cultural interaction and sharing and all that good stuff. The Jolas came to share and show off and were insulted instead. This occured in about the 4th-5th week of some pretty intensive training given to some pretty intelligent, dedicated people. This was predominately a Muslim area and even though the people were good people, very peaceful and quite pro-West, the successful integration into the bush villages was dismal at best. The soft approach is simply going to have to involve American Muslims. I remember a number of the old men who would very politely and respectfully ask some of the male volunteers to accompany them to their masjid, but none would ever go. Commonality cannot always be acquired, sometimes it has to be a given.
I think traditonal soft approaches can be adjusted ,reinvented and reinterpreted and need to be. There was a reforestation project in which all kinds of sapplings were obtained and this one village got fired up and hundreds and hundreds of trees were planted. Kids and women and volunteers were hauling water to beat the band, waiting for the arrival of the chickenwire to fence the sapplings to keep the goats out. It never arrived - it ended up being sold out of a store in Banjul. Had the wire been simply shipped to Peace Corps headquarters instead of the government, it would have gotten to the village and saved the trees. By the end of the 3rd day, goats had eaten all the bark off all the sapplings. This was a traditional soft approach failure that not only killed trees but pretty much killed the faith of the people of that village in their government and the Peace Corps.

03-19-2007, 05:18 AM
It is in the interest of the US to maintain and foster a lasting partnership with Pakistan. However, there are conflicting requirements that makes the task difficult.

Pakistan in the US sphere of influence would allow the US the following benefits:

1. It would keep the Islamic fundamentalist under surveillance and check, even if unable to root it out. The point to note is that Pakistan is the womb of international Islamic terrorism since all actions of the Islamists somehow have its root from Pakistan.

2. It would allow surveillance and intelligence on the AQ activities since ObL and the leading AQ think tank members are holed up in Pakistan or along the borders with Afghanistan.

3. It would reduce the influence that China has on Pakistan.

4. It would allow surveillance to Pakistan's north and into the Uighur insurrection in China's Xinjiang area, as also allow the US to 'influence' the Uighur rebellion to China's discomfort. It will be recalled that the US is already undertaking promotion of better relations with Kyrghyzstan to the West of the Xinjiang area and has a air base there.

5. With Pakistan in the US sphere of influence, the fructifying of the oil and gas pipeline the Central Asian Republics through Afghanistan to Gwadar port in Pakistan's Baluchistan province would become all the more easier, once the situation in Afghanistan stabilises.

There is, however, the issue of India and the historical animosity including four wars! India, apparently is of major interest to the US because of her vast markets as also as a counter balance to China.

It would require delicate balancing so that both India and Pakistan are kept on the US bandwagon.

It is true that the US has not been able to influence Pakistan adequately to prevent the Taliban from using NWFP and Waziristan as its safe havens for action against the US and NATO forces operating in Afghanistan. Nor has the western nations adequate forces to "guard" Afghanistan's frontiers to minimise infiltration nor troops to "sanitise" the areas within a la India in Kashmir.

In fact, it is not possible for any Pakistani leader to toe the US line, owing to the "awakening" Islam and pan Islamic jihad movement has experienced of late thanks to ObL.

So long as Islam fundamentalism continues along with the accompanying mayhem, no strategy change will wean away Pakistan from the madness unleashed by ObL.

At best, a compromise has to be accepted.

04-01-2007, 03:09 AM
CRS Report, 27 Mar 07: Pakistan and Terrorism: A Summary (http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/82600.pdf)

This report provides a summary review of issues related to Pakistan and terrorism, especially in the context of U.S. interests, policy goals, and relevant assistance. The outcomes of U.S. policies toward Pakistan since 9/11, while not devoid of meaningful successes, have neither neutralized anti-Western militants and reduced religious extremism in that country, nor have they contributed sufficiently to the stabilization of neighboring Afghanistan. Many observers thus urge a broad re-evaluation of such policies....

05-20-2007, 09:44 AM
20 May NY Times - U.S. Pays Pakistan to Fight Terror, but Patrols Ebb (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/world/asia/20pakistan.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin) by David Sanger and David Rhode.

The United States is continuing to make large payments of roughly $1 billion a year to Pakistan for what it calls reimbursements to the country’s military for conducting counterterrorism efforts along the border with Afghanistan, even though Pakistan’s president decided eight months ago to slash patrols through the area where Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters are most active.

The monthly payments, called coalition support funds, are not widely advertised. Buried in public budget numbers, the payments are intended to reimburse Pakistan’s military for the cost of the operations. So far, Pakistan has received more than $5.6 billion under the program over five years, more than half of the total aid the United States has sent to the country since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, not counting covert funds.

Some American military officials in the region have recommended that the money be tied to Pakistan’s performance in pursuing Al Qaeda and keeping the Taliban from gaining a haven from which to attack the government of Afghanistan. American officials have been surprised by the speed at which both organizations have gained strength in the past year...

07-01-2007, 01:02 PM
I'm beginning to wonder whether the strategic and ethical costs of the U.S. relationship with Pakistan have surpassed the benefits. Personally, I see little sign that nation is serious about transcending its benighted condition.

From Times Online
June 18, 2007
Pakistan says Rushdie knighthood justifies suicide bombings (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article1948375.ece)
Jenny Booth, Joanna Sugden and Stewart Tendler

Britain's decision to award Salman Rushdie a knighthood set off a storm of protest in the Islamic world today, with a Pakistani government minister giving warning that it could provide justification for suicide bomb attacks.

Rushdie was awarded the title in the Queen's Birthday Honours on Saturday. He has lived under police protection since the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran pronounced a fatwa (a religious ruling) calling for his death over alleged blasphemies against Islam in his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses.

Today, Pakistan's religious affairs minister suggested that the knighthood was so grave an offence that any Muslim anywhere in the world would be justified in taking violent action.

"If somebody has to attack by strapping bombs to his body to protect the honour of the Prophet then it is justified," Mr ul-Haq told the National Assembly.

The minister, the son of Zia ul-Haq, the military dictator who died in a plane crash in 1988, later retracted his statement in parliament, then told the AFP news agency that he meant to say that knighting Rushdie would foster extremism.

"If someone blows himself up he will consider himself justified. How can we fight terrorism when those who commit blasphemy are rewarded by the West?" he said.

He said Pakistan should sever diplomatic ties with Britain if it did not withdraw the award, adding:"We demand an apology by the British government. Their action has hurt the sentiments of 1.5 billion Muslims...

07-01-2007, 01:34 PM
It's the age old question: Why do bad typos happen to good people?

Tom Odom
07-01-2007, 02:09 PM
It's the age old question: Why do bad typos happen to good people?

Done and done :D

07-01-2007, 02:19 PM
Done and done :D

Wow, the force is with you! Can you lift heavy objects with your mind as well?

Tom Odom
07-01-2007, 02:45 PM
Wow, the force is with you! Can you lift heavy objects with your mind as well?

Yep ever time I get up:cool:

07-02-2007, 09:50 AM
Can I ask, do you mean end our ties with Pakistan, or with the Musharaff regime?

In the light of the widespread public protests against his dismissal of the former Chief Justice Chaudry there, it's debatable how much longer he'll be able to cling to power; and while Musharaff finds the specter of Islamist takeover useful to rationalize his continued value to the States, I believe the Islamist parties last polled somewhere around 12%.

While Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif's parties have no shortage of blemishes in their past themselves, I think writers like Stephen Cohen (The Idea of Pakistan) and Hussain Haqqani (Pakistan Between Mosque and Military) make a good case that some of Pakistan's greatest problems can be traced to the military's regular usurpations of the democratic process, more than the demagogues like Zia Jr — while not something to be ignored, he and those like him are symptoms of a larger problem.

07-02-2007, 11:05 AM
Can I ask, do you mean end our ties with Pakistan, or with the Musharaff regime?

In the light of the widespread public protests against his dismissal of the former Chief Justice Chaudry there, it's debatable how much longer he'll be able to cling to power; and while Musharaff finds the specter of Islamist takeover useful to rationalize his continued value to the States, I believe the Islamist parties last polled somewhere around 12%.

While Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif's parties have no shortage of blemishes in their past themselves, I think writers like Stephen Cohen (The Idea of Pakistan) and Hussain Haqqani (Pakistan Between Mosque and Military) make a good case that some of Pakistan's greatest problems can be traced to the military's regular usurpations of the democratic process, more than the demagogues like Zia Jr — while not something to be ignored, he and those like him are symptoms of a larger problem.

I actually meant Pakistan. I think any alternative regime there is going to be even worse than the current one. The bottom line is that the perceptions and objectives of the Pakistani public and elite are so diverse from our own that I don't see grounds for cooperation.

It's harsh, but I think all we can do is downgrade ties, control Pakistani immigration to the United States, and be prepared to take out or control their nuclear weapons if necessary.

07-02-2007, 03:17 PM
Mullah Omar, DNO (director nuclear operations) ???

"....be prepared to take out or control their nuclear weapons if necessary."


07-02-2007, 11:02 PM
Mullah Omar, DNO (director nuclear operations) ???

Look at the bright side--he only has one eye so there's a decent chance that if he fires one off toward us it will actually hit Venezuela. Or some other foreign country like Southern California.

07-03-2007, 02:33 AM
...It's harsh, but I think all we can do is downgrade ties, control Pakistani immigration to the United States, and be prepared to take out or control their nuclear weapons if necessary.
How about something simple, like stop importing from Pakistan? It ain't China, but we get plenty of sheet sets, soccer balls and weightlifting gloves from the Pakis. If you realized how bad security is along the entire factory-to-port supply chain in that damn place, how strong (not to mention corrupt and linked to the bad guys in the NWFP) is the Pathan presence in the trucking and "security" industries, and how much of an ugly joke it is to even begin to consider Port Qasim for CSI status....

07-03-2007, 06:26 AM
Of course, stopping the importation of US dollars INTO Pakistan would be tops on my list....

07-03-2007, 11:00 AM
Of course, stopping the importation of US dollars INTO Pakistan would be tops on my list....
...the U.S. government puts a bit of official pressure on domestic companies to continue doing business with Pakistan, despite the threat, in the hope that it will contribute to stability there.

07-03-2007, 12:45 PM
Considering Pakistan is already precariously close to state failure by a number of criteria as it is, I have to say I'm not really clear on how economic boycott / trade cessation could be seen as an ideal strategy for managing the problems it presents... or how we 'take out' their nuclear weapons without risking the irradiation of the subcontinent.

07-03-2007, 03:07 PM
- we may have no choice but to pray for the bad aim of one-eyed Omar if Musharraf falls and fundamentalists get their paws on nukes, or succumb to major blackmail, hegemony via escalation in Kasmir and a massive Taliban escalation in Afghanistan. With Mullah Omar's fingers on the red buttons, I opt for massive irradiation.

07-11-2007, 01:36 PM
CEIP, 10 Jul 07:

Rethinking Western Strategies Toward Pakistan: An Action Agenda for the United States and Europe (http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/grare_pakistan_final.pdf)

Without Pakistan’s active and full cooperation, the United States and the broader international community cannot reconstruct Afghanistan, defeat the Taliban, and turn the tide of international terrorism. Yet most observers agree that Pakistan has not provided the fullest possible cooperation. Debate is growing about whether the Pakistani state is merely unable to do better or is actively undermining international efforts in Afghanistan and against terrorism.

This report makes the case that the Pakistani state bears responsibility for the worsening security situation in Afghanistan, the resurgence of the Taliban, terrorism in Kashmir, and the growth of jihadi ideology and capabilities internationally. At the core of the problem is the Pakistani military, which has dominated Pakistan’s politics since 1958 and has developed over the years a nationalism based more on its own delusions of grandeur rather than on any rational analysis of the country’s national interest. Inheriting a highly divided polity, the Pakistan Army has tried to muster solidarity by stoking religiosity, sectarianism, and the promotion of jihad outside its borders, particularly in Afghanistan and Kashmir....

07-11-2007, 02:33 PM
We really are stuck in between the proverbial rock and the hard place with the Pakistanis.

Musharaff is able to keep the radicals somewhat at bay, but it is just a matter of time until he overthrown and assassinated. I think he's survived 8 assassanition attemps since he's been in power.

I am of the mindset that what comes after Musharaff is going to be much worse than what we have to deal with now. Even though we've done good things with the Pakistanis (Earthquake relief comes to mind), they continue to support terrorism in Kashmir, they have an ungodly amount of madrasses, and Waziristan has been given de facto autonomy.

So what de we do? Like Steve Metz said, plan a buttload of contigency ops against their nuclear facilities in case of the worst case scenario, and continue to support Musharaff in the meantime. What else can really be done?

07-12-2007, 02:08 PM
Musharaff is able to keep the radicals somewhat at bay, but it is just a matter of time until he overthrown and assassinated. I think he's survived 8 assassanition attemps since he's been in power.

Even a cat is only allowed 9 lives. I wonder if fate is catching up with Musharaff?

This remarkable statistic is usually just glosed over. Can anybody think of a head of state who has survived this many attempts on his life? That's more than the reported amount of attempts on Castro by the CIA, I think. I checked the guinness book of world records website, but couldn't find a category for "survival of assassination attempts."

Perhaps he graduated from this course in Vegas?

07-12-2007, 02:19 PM
Four attempts (http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2007/07/06/some_assassination_attempts_on_musharraf/?rss_id=Boston.com+%2F+News+%2F+World+news+-+Boston+Globe), assuming you buy the fourth.

I'm not buying the much ballyhooed Islamist takeover of Pakistan. The greatest threat to the President does not come from al-Qaeda and associated radicals in Pakistan, but rather the PPP of the Bhutto family and Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif.

07-12-2007, 02:31 PM
Four attempts (http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2007/07/06/some_assassination_attempts_on_musharraf/?rss_id=Boston.com+%2F+News+%2F+World+news+-+Boston+Globe), assuming you buy the fourth.

So we have one source saying it is just four. I wonder if there is double counting going on here. Interesting. It wouldn't be the first time the media misreported the facts.

I've never really heard alot of details on these attempts to kill him, just a story on the news saying he has just dodged another attempt on his life. It does seem, however, that I've heard this more than four times.

Are his assassins incompetent, or is he just plain lucky?

07-12-2007, 04:44 PM
If we sever ties, can we then launch a cross-border operation to grap/kill UBL? If Musharaff is killed, who takes over and what is the effect on Pak relations with the US? India?

07-12-2007, 05:01 PM
If we sever ties, can we then launch a cross-border operation to grap/kill UBL? If Musharaff is killed, who takes over and what is the effect on Pak relations with the US? India?

Some rather large questions.

I'm pretty sure that a Pakistani government which we severed relations with would view a U.S. military incursion onto its territory as a violation of sovereignty/invasion.

If Musharraf was killed, I'm pretty sure another general selected by the Pakistani general staff would take over. Relations with both the U.S. and India are reasonably good at present, notwithstanding certain tensions, and would probably continue down the same path.

07-26-2007, 06:24 AM
26 July Washington Post - Strike by U.S. in Pakistan Is an Option, Officials Say (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/25/AR2007072501776.html) by Walter Pincus and Joby Warrick.

Top Pentagon and State Department officials said yesterday that U.S. Special Forces would enter Pakistan if they had specific intelligence about an impending terrorist strike against the United States, despite warnings from the Pakistani government that it would not accept U.S. troops operating independently inside its borders.

The statements were the clearest assertion yet of the Bush administration's willingness to act unilaterally inside tribal areas in northwestern Pakistan where al-Qaeda's top commanders are believed to have taken refuge. But the officials also voiced strong support for President Pervez Musharraf, who they said has repeatedly backed U.S. anti-terrorism efforts in the region at great political cost...

Pragmatic Thinker
07-26-2007, 06:18 PM
My frustration and subsequent sarcasm in my writing has to do with what I believe is a real lack of knowledge regarding the playing field we find ourselves fighting the Global War on Terrorism. Especially, when we start to talk about the Afghanistan-Pakistan side of the world. I am often amazed that people act like this is our first jaunt into that region militarily, plus I can't seem to wrap my arms around our support for Musharraf. I am not convinced that Pakistan does everything it can for us in our fight against Al Qaeda, however, we continue to dump aid ($$) into his military and economy without any kind of expectation of a return on our investment.

I will point out two items from Clapper's testimony (http://armedservices.house.gov/pdfs/FC072507/Clapper_Testimony072507.pdf) that I am finding misleading in their logic.

1) "The NIE highlights one such way in which the enemy has adapted: in response to its loss of Afghanistan: it has reconstituted some of its command and support network in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border."

Is this really an enemy adaptation? They have always traveled in and out of Waziristan. The Durand Line isn't recognized by the Pashtun nor their foreign guests who continually travel in and out of Afghanistan attacking US and coalition forces, so how does this equate to adaptation by the enemy when this capability has always been there? They exploit our unwillingness to pursue them into Pakistan is a more accurate statement then giving them (Al Qaeda) credit for discovering some sort of technique or tactic. Maybe word smithing but I find the language a little too one sided.

2) "At the same time, there are signs of a reaction against the extremists. On April 17, 2007, a convention attended by over 2,000 Pakistani religious figures in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's ethnically Pashtun North-West Frontier Province (which includes the FATA), proclaimed that suicide bombings were against Islam and condemned the forcible implementation and enforcement of Shari’a (Islamic Law). Also, internal disputes in Pakistan's tribal agency of South Waziristan recently erupted into conflict between Taliban-allied local tribes and al Qaeda-allied Central Asian groups, mostly Uzbeks. Uzbek forces offended local Pashtun groups by their criminal activity and insensitivity to local tribal customs, resulting in open warfare between locals and Central Asian fighters."

I think he takes a huge leap here implying that a limited reaction by some locals against a particular group equates to a consensus among the people of North Waziristan that there is an exploitable fissure between the Pashtu and the Taliban/AQ and their foreign guests. He couldn't be any further from the truth and this sounds a little like "cherry picking" reporting to paint the picture you want and not the picture that is actually there. There has been some limited (and I want to underscore limited) success by the Pakistani security forces in punishing tribes that allow foreigners among their midsts, but this hasn't taken hold long term and in the end most tribals see the Peshawar based Punjab military and political leaders as U.S. puppets. I would recommend the writers of this testimony spend some time along the border region talking to locals and getting the "ground truth" and not relying on single source reporting from questionable sources to support your arguments.

Again, not taking anything away from the man personally but I didn't read anything in his testimony about the enemy that was too promising. We can beat these guys and we can win this fight, but real issues need to be addressed and the first one is defining who really is our enemy? If Usama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are the leaders of the enemy organization we wish to defeat then why do we allow them sanctuary in Pakistan? Why do we ally ourselves with Musharraf after he publically states, 1) he believes Al Qaeda's top leaders are in his country but he claims he is supposedly powerless to do anything about it, and 2) he would rather see anyone else BUT the United States be the ones that capture/kill Usama Bin Laden within Pakistan should he be found.... Also, we say the enemy has "adapted" to using Waziristan as a sanctuary, but it only remains a sanctuary if we don't go after them...

I am no genius (militarily or otherwise) but there lacks basic logic in our policies and actions that I find too easily dismissed by the people who are supposedly "great leaders" and "no nonsense types"....


07-27-2007, 11:25 AM
[R]eal issues need to be addressed and the first one is defining who really is our enemy? If Usama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are the leaders of the enemy organization we wish to defeat then why do we allow them sanctuary in Pakistan?
For the US to cross into Pakistan unilaterally would be perceived (rightly, I think) as an overt act of aggression and would lose us even more of the little international public support we have for our anti-AQ efforts. It would also undercut the internal support Musharraf has in his own country. Do we really want a nuclear-armed Pakistan to lose his rule? His replacement may be far worse.

Why do we ally ourselves with Musharraf after he publically states, 1) he believes Al Qaeda's top leaders are in his country but he claims he is supposedly powerless to do anything about it, and 2) he would rather see anyone else BUT the United States be the ones that capture/kill Usama Bin Laden within Pakistan should he be found....
Musharraf (or his handlers) is pretty astute IMHO. Regarding your question 1), see my point above--he at least provides some stability in the government of a predominantly Islamic nation state member of the "nuclear club."
Regarding 2), I submit that having any nation other than the "Great Satan US" capture/kill UBL would lessen UBL's future "Martyr" status. Were the forces of a Moslem nation to effect the kill/capture, I believe that could be used to send a strong message to show that the efforts of the terrorists are wrong in the eyes of Allah and the Prophet.

I am no genius (militarily or otherwise) but there lacks basic logic in our policies and actions that I find too easily dismissed by the people who are supposedly "great leaders" and "no nonsense types"....

Logic has very little real play in the world of international diplomatic affairs. If you want to discuss whether we need more consistency in our policies and actions, that might very well be a topic worth exploring more fully.

Pragmatic Thinker
07-27-2007, 12:12 PM
For the US to cross into Pakistan unilaterally would be perceived (rightly, I think) as an overt act of aggression and would lose us even more of the little international public support we have for our anti-AQ efforts. It would also undercut the internal support Musharraf has in his own country. Do we really want a nuclear-armed Pakistan to lose his rule? His replacement may be far worse.

Musharraf (or his handlers) is pretty astute IMHO. Regarding your question 1), see my point above--he at least provides some stability in the government of a predominantly Islamic nation state member of the "nuclear club."
Regarding 2), I submit that having any nation other than the "Great Satan US" capture/kill UBL would lessen UBL's future "Martyr" status. Were the forces of a Moslem nation to effect the kill/capture, I believe that could be used to send a strong message to show that the efforts of the terrorists are wrong in the eyes of Allah and the Prophet.

Logic has very little real play in the world of international diplomatic affairs. If you want to discuss whether we need more consistency in our policies and actions, that might very well be a topic worth exploring more fully.

I have heard the nuclear argument before that we must proceed cautiously for should Musharraf fall the nukes will fall into the hands of madmen. I think there is some merit to this, however, we went through this same supposed scare when Musharraf stole the reigns in '99 and now look at him, he is the toast of Washington when he comes into town. So much so that during his last visit he was plugging his autobiography on the Daily Show. So I am not convinced that some Islamic loon would get his hands on the keys and launch codes. In my dealings with Pakistan there is one thing that remains consistent there and that is a strong military who doesn't seem opposed to stepping on the toes (or pushing them aside for that matter) of their civilian leaders when they feel the country is in "trouble", so again I am not discounting the argument but I am not taking that fear-ladened approach either.

As for Musharraf's support at home, I would again say that he has it among his Punjabs in places like Peshawar and Islamabad, but you wander out to Waziristan and it is a whole other world out there. We're talking about a Pashtu populace that has attacked its own military and police, so this is nothing less than a "restive" place in my opinion and no greater place for our enemies to find sanctuary.

My argument isn't against Musharraf the man, but our policies in that region... I have studied the history of our foreign policy in South Asia and it sucks with inconsistencies. There isn't a Pakistani who doesn't believe that as soon as UBL, other AQ senior leaders, and to some extent the Taliban are no longer deemed a threat to the U.S. that we will once again "abandon" Pakistan and continue our economic dealings with their arch-enemies the Hinuds of India. I get that piece and fully understand the underlying political constraints, BUT from a strictly tactical sense if you want to take away your enemy's ability to reconstitute, re-arm, and re-fit from within his sanctuary then you need to take his sanctuary from him. The fact that many of these Taliban and foreign fighters are living mere kilometers across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border yet they seem almost invicible is absurd. I would take one thing from the Soviet playbook of the Soviet-Afghan War and that is not to leave places like Quetta and Miram Shah in the of the bad guys without a price. How many American, British, Canadian, and other coalition soldiers will have to die before someone realizes that this sanctuary only exists because we allow it to? I will not buy into the premise that Musharraf's government will collapse if we were to lead offensive operations into the FATA. I am not convinced whatsoever. We have asked, cajoled, threatened, and requested that the Pakistanis do it themselves and they are incapable of long term sustainment in that region. I don't want to argue why they can't do it themselves but rather lets address the real problem -- our enemy finds sanctuary inside the borders of a supposed ally on the Global War on Terrorism.

07-27-2007, 12:55 PM
I will not buy into the premise that Musharraf's government will collapse if we were to lead offensive operations into the FATA. I am not convinced whatsoever. We have asked, cajoled, threatened, and requested that the Pakistanis do it themselves and they are incapable of long term sustainment in that region. I don't want to argue why they can't do it themselves but rather lets address the real problem -- our enemy finds sanctuary inside the borders of a supposed ally on the Global War on Terrorism.

What sort of offensive operations are you talking about? Are we talking about the 82nd Airborne or I MEF setting up shop independently in North Waziristan and basically occupying the area?

If so, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find any Pakistani government that could survive under such circumstances.

Pragmatic Thinker
07-27-2007, 03:21 PM
What sort of offensive operations are you talking about? Are we talking about the 82nd Airborne or I MEF setting up shop independently in North Waziristan and basically occupying the area?

If so, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find any Pakistani government that could survive under such circumstances.

I am talking about any kind of continuous operation that denies the enemy freedom of movement to enter Afghanistan to kill coalition forces along their (bad guys) preferred LOCs. I have heard the argument that Musharraf would be pressured internally, but why not allow limited joint U.S.-Pakistani forces to conduct operations inside Pakistan? Much like we do in the Philippines? Is he not truly concerned about ridding Al Qaeda and Taliban influences from within his country? Is he truly committed to the fight to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban which is the major destabilizing force inside Afghanistan? If he is then why refuse U.S. forces who are admittedly better capable some sort of limited ability to strike targets within his borders or complain when they do?

Anyway, this is turning into a discussion about South Asian politics and not about the Intelligence Estimate released earlier this month and the testimony from Gen. Clapper, so I will disengage from it. We can agree to disagree and my tactical perspective will remain the same -- a sanctuary is only a sanctuary if you allow it to remain as one. I get that Pakistani soldiers are dying in these operations inside Waziristan, but remember this a conscript Army and not to say their loss of soldiers is not as great at the personal level, but I do NOT want to use the metric of dead bodies as a measurment of resolve and/or dedication to a fight...it is illogical and one I see bantied around Washington by the pro-Musharraf crowd. If you're interested, read how many soldiers they (PAK MIL) lose annually fighting Baluch insurgents in the south and their occassional forays in Kashmir against the Indians.


07-27-2007, 04:12 PM
PT - Don't misunderstand me, I am hardly a Musharraf apologist. I think the best result for all would actually be if he resigned and left the country and open elections were held - unfortunately he appears to believe that he is Ataturk come again, sans French-style laicite, judging from my quick skim of his autobiography.

I do think, however, that a unilateral American intervention in the FATA would be seen by almost all the varied Pakistani publics as an American invasion.

I agree that it would certainly be to the good of both America and Pakistan if joint ops could be run - though I do think that the U.S. footprint in any such should be small and avoid any appearance of occupation. A Filipino- or Colombian-style advisor/trainer program would be best, with a discreet American air presence as well.

An important thing to remember, however, is the large Pashtun constituency in the Army --- I think they are upwards of 25% of the officer corps. In intra-Army politics, while they do not constitute a single faction, the feelings of Pashtun officers, who often have clan or family affiliations in FATA, cannot be ignored as is the case in Baluchistan. This is another case where a democratic civilian leader would be less amenable to Army pressure than a general like Musharraf.

Pragmatic Thinker
07-27-2007, 04:29 PM
An important thing to remember, however, is the large Pashtun constituency in the Army --- I think they are upwards of 25% of the officer corps. In intra-Army politics, while they do not constitute a single faction, the feelings of Pashtun officers, who often have clan or family affiliations in FATA, cannot be ignored as is the case in Baluchistan. This is another case where a democratic civilian leader would be less amenable to Army pressure than a general like Musharraf.

I agree that sympathies within the ranks is a problem and that factionalism is something of a problem too...Pashtu, Baluch, or Punjab...especially when you consider the company level leadership (where the rubber meets the road and policy is executed) mirrors the ethnic make-up of the civilian populace. I have seen where local border commanders are sympathetic if not complicit in allowing armed personnel to cross the border into Afghanistan. It isn't so much they're anti-American but they don't "see" the battlefield the same way we do. If their cousins go up on a hill and fire off rockets because the local imam paid them x-amount of rupees to do it, they don't see that as dishonorable but merely a way to make a living and feed their families, and in the end who gets killed? Some Afghans and Americans? Oh well, as long as they didn't bring dishonor to their tribal faction then they're good to go. I fully understand the internal problems but lose patience easily. I am, however, glad to see the latest round of Pakistani actions in regards to the Red Mosque and the FATA. I only hope this lasts longer than the remainder of the summer and we see a long term commitment to the fight against these religious extremists and fighters.


07-27-2007, 04:36 PM
The appeal to operations like the Phillippines is problematic. Local perceptions of US involvement during the Phillippine Insurrection at the beginning of the last century painted us as supporting the Catholic Filipino minority in certain Moro areas. We were, therefore, largely viewed by the Islamic Moros as "handmaidens" of the Filipino oppressors, which I suspect caused the insurrection to last much longer than it m,ight have otherwise. I fear a similar type of reaction by the Pashto tribes, where we would be perceived as supporting the Punjabis to suppress them should we engage in in a joint intervention/AQ-Taleban hunt in the tribal areas. I suspect that we are caught in a similar kind of perception trap in Iraq right now, vis-a-vis Sunnis and Shias.

In matters of the kind under discussion here, perception (no matter how distorted) is reality for most of those involved.

07-27-2007, 11:45 PM
What sort of offensive operations are you talking about? Are we talking about the 82nd Airborne or I MEF setting up shop independently in North Waziristan and basically occupying the area?

If so, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find any Pakistani government that could survive under such circumstances.

Okay, so we decide to launch some kind of Pakistan "incursion", reminiscent of Cambodia. I haven't looked on a map lately, but these tribal areas seem to cover a pretty fair amount of real estate. Here's some questions for the Council.

Are we supposed to then occupy this area, to prevent it from becoming a sanctuary after we leave? This could start sounding like the problems we have right now in Iraq, where U.S. forces can't withdraw until the state can regain control of the area.

How many men is this going to require? Are they there? Are they available from elsewhere?

Or is this envisioned as just some kind of punitive expedition to go across the border and kill/capture some people. Do we think we have the kind of intelligence to know who is who in this part of the world?

Last, but not least, does anybody think there is support in Congress for this sort of thing? I do believe most people view the war in Afghanistan quite differently from our democracy project in Mesopotamia. But I guarantee that any administration that did this would face questions like "Okay, do you have a plan once you get there? Show me. I want details, not promises, after what we've seen in Iraq. Who's in charge? What are the political goals? At what point, would you consider this mission accomplished? How will you know when you have achieved it? etc." I think Congress is going to demand more than a "Trust me, I know what I'm doing" statement from the military and the executive on this.

Pragmatic Thinker
07-28-2007, 01:29 PM
Okay, so we decide to launch some kind of Pakistan "incursion", reminiscent of Cambodia. I haven't looked on a map lately, but these tribal areas seem to cover a pretty fair amount of real estate. Here's some questions for the Council.

Are we supposed to then occupy this area, to prevent it from becoming a sanctuary after we leave? This could start sounding like the problems we have right now in Iraq, where U.S. forces can't withdraw until the state can regain control of the area.

How many men is this going to require? Are they there? Are they available from elsewhere?

Or is this envisioned as just some kind of punitive expedition to go across the border and kill/capture some people. Do we think we have the kind of intelligence to know who is who in this part of the world?

Last, but not least, does anybody think there is support in Congress for this sort of thing? I do believe most people view the war in Afghanistan quite differently from our democracy project in Mesopotamia. But I guarantee that any administration that did this would face questions like "Okay, do you have a plan once you get there? Show me. I want details, not promises, after what we've seen in Iraq. Who's in charge? What are the political goals? At what point, would you consider this mission accomplished? How will you know when you have achieved it? etc." I think Congress is going to demand more than a "Trust me, I know what I'm doing" statement from the military and the executive on this.

Tequila -

I won't begin to speculate about numbers of personnel needed but suffice it to say that we would need to be a lot more than we have in country right now. I am against any unilateral actions on our part, but instead would like to see the U.S. government attach more expectations to the economic and military aid we provide the Pakistanis. For example, if they (PAK MIL) claim it is too difficult for them to do it on their own in the FATA then why not demand they allow us to support them overtly (mobility, planning, ISR, joint patrols, etc..). We are either allies with a unified vision of the enemy situation and have an agreed upon end state or we aren't allies and we don't agree upon the enemy situation and if that is the case then we cease all money until we see tangible long term results and we do it ourselves. Let us stop giving away millions of dollars to a government that is incapable or unwilling to attack this problem or refuses to comply with the conditions in which we hand over our money.

I am not calling for occupation, but I am saying that it is absurd for our forces to continually be wounded and killed by an enemy force that sits mere kilometers inside a border that only we recognize. A piece of terroritory that the sovereign of Pakistan himself states "he cannot control" yet he snubs any assistance from the U.S. that would put our forces on the ground with his. These same terrorists/fanatics/ACM/whatever your flavor we would be going after are the same people who fund, recruit, and support the fighters that kill our soldiers in Afghanistan. They are the same people who plan large scale attacks against us and our allies at home. I think most people who really follow these attacks and their post-mortems know the fanatics who carried them out had gone into the the FATA region of Pakistan to recieve their indoctrination and guidance from Al Qaeda affiliated personnel. Since we invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, they have planned and carried out numerous attacks against us (the west) from this area. The 7/7/05 London attack, the 3/11/04 Madrid bombing, and last year's thwarted U.K. airline attack were all hatched within Pakistan's FATA region.

I am not a policy expert and I am not a security expert, but I am a low-level neanderthal military type. A couple of things my military mind are certain of -- 1) there are violent religious fanatics just inside Pakistan who continually plan and execute attacks against us inside Afghanistan; 2) these same religious fanatics just inside Pakistan are planning to attack us and our western allies at home. They have been successful in the past (read examples above) and if we don't radically change our approach they will be successful again. If you're comfortable letting Pervez Musharraf lead the fight against these people then rest easy, but if you're like me you might want to see a more aggressive approach taken to eradicate this threat. They won't stop planning and attacking, and we're not about to stop involving ourselves in matters of economy and state with Muslim "apostate" countries. Our courses have collided the west and its global economic/political interests have collided head-on with their desire to return to the Caliphate and Sharia law. I have obviously over-simplified the issues but in my mind this what I see, and from a tactical perspective we fight the fight on their terms. If they don't recognize the border, then neither do we...if we know Quetta and Miram Shah are staging areas (just as in the Soviet-Afghan War) then we deny them this terrain. If that means bombings, cross-border raids, joint U.S.-PAK ground operations along the border regions, or whatever the guys wearing stars come up with it then that is what happens, but we tactically take the fight to them and stop waiting for them to come across the border before we kill them.

My fear is that most Americans know only the Iraq fight and don't realize that the right hook that is going to knock us on our ass (9-11 style) will most likely originate in the FATA. I would hate to see another large-scale attack happen before our leaders and citizens take action and to realize we allow our enemy sanctuary to plan his attacks through our inaction.

Sorry for the lenghty replies and ramblings.... PT

Pragmatic Thinker
07-28-2007, 05:29 PM
My apologies for addressing my last reply to Tequila when it should read Tacitus... PT

07-28-2007, 07:18 PM
The continued use of the FATA by AQ is an issue the British government (HMG) wishes to push out of the headlines, let alone pay attention to. The steady trickle of deaths, let alone injuries, in Helmand Province to British forces will keep the issue in HMG's "too difficult" policy box.

Yes, some U.K. terror plots are reported as having their roots in FATA and Pakistan generally. Just as many I would suggest have their roots closer to home, or as many allude to the web at home.

Any overt or covert Allied incursuion into the FATA, disregarding the immense practicalities, is political madness.

Pakistan is an ally, which has its own difficulties, for example the secular parties may have a more nuanced stand on AQ and terrorism that Musharraf. An incursion before the Pakistani election is hardly pragmatic.

What would HMG do if the logistic support Pakistan gives now was stopped or restricted? I refer to the reported use of Karachi docks and the overland movement of heavy supplies to Hlemand and Afghanistan.

I am sure somewhere there is an author who has analysed and written on the lessons HMG learnt from the North West Frontier (up till 1947).

It is odd sixty years later British national security is so bound up - again - by the NW Frontier and this time the BRitish military are on the other side of the Durand Line in Afghanistan.

In our struggle against AQ terrorism in this region history can teach us much, we too found it frustrating and bloody for a very long time. Brute force is not the answer on this "playing field".

(sitting in an armchair in the UK)

Pragmatic Thinker
07-28-2007, 08:50 PM
The continued use of the FATA by AQ is an issue the British government (HMG) wishes to push out of the headlines, let alone pay attention to. The steady trickle of deaths, let alone injuries, in Helmand Province to British forces will keep the issue in HMG's "too difficult" policy box.

Yes, some U.K. terror plots are reported as having their roots in FATA and Pakistan generally. Just as many I would suggest have their roots closer to home, or as many allude to the web at home.

Any overt or covert Allied incursuion into the FATA, disregarding the immense practicalities, is political madness.

Pakistan is an ally, which has its own difficulties, for example the secular parties may have a more nuanced stand on AQ and terrorism that Musharraf. An incursion before the Pakistani election is hardly pragmatic.

What would HMG do if the logistic support Pakistan gives now was stopped or restricted? I refer to the reported use of Karachi docks and the overland movement of heavy supplies to Hlemand and Afghanistan.

I am sure somewhere there is an author who has analysed and written on the lessons HMG learnt from the North West Frontier (up till 1947).

It is odd sixty years later British national security is so bound up - again - by the NW Frontier and this time the BRitish military are on the other side of the Durand Line in Afghanistan.

In our struggle against AQ terrorism in this region history can teach us much, we too found it frustrating and bloody for a very long time. Brute force is not the answer on this "playing field".

(sitting in an armchair in the UK)

I concur with brute force not being the ONLY solution, however, we can't let ourselves be hamstrung. I understand Karachi's importance as a POE for supplies for the troops going over land into Afghanistan, which in my opinion remains a serious wekaness in our military strategy. I can't speak for the RAF but I know the USAF is over burdened as it is trying to keep supplies flowing into Iraq and Afghanistan, so relying soley on aerial resupply is out... My point remains a tactical dilemma which is why allow your enemy sanctuary? I keep getting political problems as reasons why we can't have a tactical solution to this and I am not quite buying it. I don't see Pakistan imploding if we decided to conduct precision bombing of key Taliban and Al Qaeda targets in the FATA, and I am not talking about the onsies and twosies we do now but an all out bombing campaign followed by ground incursions. If nothing else it would show our resolve to take the fight to them. I know the Pashtu understand and respect violence, and again I am not advocating a wholesale bombing campaign but a precise campaign of continuous strikes and raids. We haven't tried it yet, so I am not convinced we can sit here and predict the outcome accurately.


08-14-2007, 11:59 AM
Asia Times Online - Taliban a step ahead of US assault (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/IH11Df01.html)

KARACHI - The ongoing three-day peace jirga (council) involving hundreds of tribal leaders from Pakistan and Afghanistan is aimed at identifying and rooting out Taliban and al-Qaeda militancy on both sides of the border.

This was to be followed up with military strikes at militant bases in Pakistan, either by the Pakistani armed forces in conjunction with the United States, or even by US forces alone.

The trouble is, the bases the US had meticulously identified no longer exist. The naive, rustic but battle-hardened Taliban still want a fight, but it will be fought on the Taliban's chosen battlegrounds.

Twenty-nine bases in the tribal areas of North Waziristan and South Waziristan on the border with Afghanistan that were used to train militants have simply fallen off the radar.


The death in May of Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah in Afghanistan during a coalition raid set in motion a major change within the Taliban's command structure.

The loss of the heroic commander was a huge blow for the Taliban in southwestern Afghanistan, as a major symbol of success had been killed - and there was no one of his stature to replace him, as another top Taliban commander, Mullah Akhtar Osmani, had earlier been killed in Helmand.

Amid the demoralization, the entire Taliban leadership left Helmand, Urzgan, Zabul and Kandahar and sat idle in Satellite Town in Quetta, Pakistan, for several weeks.

Finally, in June, Taliban leader Mullah Omar outlined new guidelines, which included:

No members of the central military command would work in southwestern Afghanistan.

Group commanders would be given control of specific districts and be allowed to develop their own strategy.

This strategy would be passed on only to the Taliban-appointed "governor" of the area, who in turn would relay it to the Taliban's central command council. From these various inputs, the council would develop a broader strategy for particular regions.

The Taliban would discourage personality cults like Dadullah's, as the death of a "hero" demoralized his followers.

Four spokesmen were appointed to decentralize the Taliban's media-information wing. Each spokesman would look after only a specific zone so that in case of his arrest, only information about that zone could be leaked. They also have all been given the same name, at present it is Qari Yousuf Ahmedi.

08-30-2007, 12:06 PM
CSIS - A Perilous Course: U.S. Strategy and Assistance to Pakistan (http://www.csis.org/images/stories/pcr/070727_pakistan.pdf) (pdf)
Over $10 billion in aid to Pakistan since 9/11, and what to show for it?

Recommendations include shifting aid from a purely short-term military counterterror strategy focused on the western border to more state-building and internal stability for Pakistan itself. Sounds good on paper, and I can see the temptation, but how to avoid watching funds disappear into what is essentially a massive development project?

10-11-2007, 03:48 PM
10 Oct 07 HASC testimony testimony on security challenges involving Pakistan and policy implications for the Department of Defense:

Teresita C. Schaffer (http://armedservices.house.gov/pdfs/FC101007/Schaffer_Testimony101007.pdf), Director South Asia Program, CSIS

Marvin G. Weinbaum (http://armedservices.house.gov/pdfs/FC101007/Weinbaum_Testimony101007.pdf), Middle East Institute

Husain Haqqani (http://armedservices.house.gov/pdfs/FC101007/Haqqani_Testimony101007.pdf), Director, Center for International Relations, Boston University

Lisa Curtis (http://armedservices.house.gov/pdfs/FC101007/Curtis_Testimony101007.pdf), The Heritage Foundation

10-11-2007, 05:04 PM
Thanks, read all four. The forthcoming Pakistani provincial and national assembly elections, probably in January 2008, will clear some of the "smoke" as to who is the elected government. I remain unconvinced Ms Bhutto will succeed.

Lots of wishful thinking on external support for civilian power, without considering how American support could harm those in power. Yes, the Pakistani Army has taken US military aid, can this be re-directed to enhancing COIN capability now?

Worth reading from this armchair.


11-29-2007, 02:02 PM
CEIP, 28 Nov 07: Pakistan: Conflicted Ally in the War on Terror (http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/pb56_tellis_pakistan_final.pdf)

Arguably the greatest reverse suffered by the United States in its war on terror has been the rejuvenation of al-Qaeda and the Taliban—a revival the intelligence community believes is owed to their ability to secure a sanctuary in Pakistan. Accordingly, many Americans blame the regime of Pervez Musharraf for not delivering on its commitment to root out terrorist operatives from its territory despite receiving massive U.S. aid for that purpose.

The reality, however, is more complex. Although Pakistani counterterrorism effectiveness has fallen short of what Americans expect, Islamabad’s failures in this regard are not simply due to a lack of motivation. Instead, the convulsive political deterioration in the North West Frontier Province in Pakistan, Islamabad’s military ineptitude in counterterrorism operations, and the political failures of the Karzai government in Afghanistan have all exacerbated the problem. The war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban will thus be a long one requiring considerable patience on the part of the United States.....

01-17-2008, 02:51 PM
16 Jan 08 testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on U.S.-Pakistan Relations: Assassination, Instability and the Future of U.S. Policy:

Christine Fair (http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/110/fai011608.pdf), RAND

Ashley Tellis (http://foreignaffairs.house.gov:80/110/tel011608.htm), CEIP

Lisa Curtis (http://foreignaffairs.house.gov:80/110/cur011608.htm), Heritage Foundation

01-24-2008, 01:44 PM
CEIP, 23 Jan 08: Pakistan and the War on Terror: Conflicted Goals, Compromised Performance (http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/tellis_pakistan_final.pdf)

....The growing dissatisfaction in the United States about Pakistani performance in counterterrorism operations is premised largely on the assumption of Islamabad’s mendacity: that Musharraf’s regime, despite being well compensated and despite its habitual claims to be performing at par, is willfully neglectful of its commitment to root out al- Qaeda and Taliban cadres operating from its territory for a combination of strategic and ideological reasons. The reality, however, is more complex. Although Pakistani performance in the war on terror has undoubtedly fallen short of what is expected in the United States, Islamabad’s inability to defeat the terrorist groups operating from its soil is rooted in many factors going beyond its admittedly serious motivational deficiencies in regard to combating terrorism.

This monograph seeks to provide an analytical understanding of the problems associated with Pakistani performance in the combined counterterrorism operations currently under way in the FATA and in Afghanistan. Such an understanding is essential if the United States is to avoid becoming locked into the paralyzing choices of either coercing Pakistan—with varying degrees of discrimination—as urged by many voices in the current political debate or standing steadfast through publicly uncritical support for Musharraf as the Bush administration has done so far. The discussion that follows underscores the fact that, although Pakistan is a conflicted ally in the war on terror, it faces difficult counterterrorism challenges that cannot be overcome quickly for good reasons. The campaign against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, accordingly, will be a long one requiring considerable patience on the part of the United States. Further, the analysis suggests that there are no easy choices for Washington, but it also emphasizes that Islamabad’s approach to defeating terrorism is sufficiently risky and could end up transforming Pakistan into an object of U.S. wrath should a major attack on the United States in the future reveal Pakistani origins, neglect, or, in the worst case, connivance.....
Complete 64 page paper at the link.

01-29-2008, 08:37 AM
Moslems cannot kill Moslems. It is said to be against the tenets of Islam. Therefore, to expect Pakistan to wage war against the AQ or Taliban is illogical and even unfair.

Pakistan, thus, has not joined the War on Terror because it sincerely believes in the same. It is because of realpolitik that the approach is but ambivalent, wherein a semblance of both the western requirements and the Islamic necessities are addressed is showcased. It is another matter that neither parties are convinced of the effort nor contribution that is made, since the end statement for both the parties is neither here nor there.

Pakistan, which would have been clubbed amongst the countries grouped under the Axis of Terror, joined the War on Terror, having no options, because it qualified for Bush’s parameters – having WMD and links with Terrorism. Pakistan had known WMD and her madrassas were the known and established womb of Islamic terrorism being perpetuated worldwide. This is the primary reason why Pakistan had no option but to hitch onto the WoT bandwagon.

Further, it was advantageous for Pakistan to be seen as an ally with the US, the WoT notwithstanding. It reinstated her in the comity of nation (till then a pariah) as also it brought badly need financial aid (including WB and IMF) that salvaged her from the ignominy of becoming an international breadbasket case. Military aid that followed, ostensibly to fight Terrorism, was funnelled to bolster her defence, not against terrorism alone, but also against India. Thus, it was a win win situation for Pakistan, but for the fact, that it also brought in the unsavoury baggage of having to combat fellow Moslems.

Pakistan cannot abandon its strategic aim of having a pro Pakistan Afghanistan. It gives in to the Pakistani strategic thinking of a strategic depth vis a vis a conflict with India, as also, it opens up a shorter route to the growing markets of the co religionist Central Asian Republics – an area where arch rivals, India, is making some headway. Therefore, to abandon the Taliban, a Pakistan created organisation and the sword arm of Pakistan in Afghanistan’s political scene, is suicidal. There it is essential for Pakistan to have a covert understanding and a quid pro quo with the Taliban, irrespective of the overt “actions” undertaken to appease the Western sensitivities. Terrorist organisations are, for Pakistan, ideal vehicles to extend her strategic goals, without resorting to war. Kashmir and terrorism perpetuated in the rest of India is a case in point.

The aligning with the US in the WoT and the killing of Moslems thereof, even if only for token significance, has not been appreciated by the common Pakistanis. Therefore, there is a groundswell of sympathy for the fundamentalists and the Mullahmen. Except for the educated westernised elite, and that too not all, the power of Islam, overwhelms the Moslem psyche. Therefore, to expect Mullahs, no matter how irrational and ridiculous as they may seem to the western mind, to be spurned by the Moslem, who are bound by sincere belief in the ‘truth’ that is Islam and the absolute essential of following the ways of the “perfect man”, Mohammed, is kiteflying. Musharraf is no exception either!

However, by joining the US in WoT, even if superficially, and in consonance with the Islamic tenet of Takiyya (religious deception), Musharraf, whose regime was technically illegal (having come to power by a coup), used the same to rid himself of the powerful opposition amongst the religious fanatics, who were actively advocating his (Musharraf’s) end in worldly existence! This also helped in fostering of his image of being a great secularist! Thus, the action of the Red Mosque, where to appease the Moslem sentiments he allowed it to build up to project the image of a great exponent of Islamic championing and later, as an aggrieved party, forced to act ruthlessly in the interest of Pakistan! Hence, he hunted with the hounds and ran with the hare!

Apparently, the West seems to have seen through the game and so is veering away from Musharraf.

But then is there anyone better in a country that has never ever had a democracy as the world understand?

Historically, it has never been a democracy, since it was only in 1956, way after its creation in 1947, did it have a Constitution and that too, it was only in name with the myriads of military dictatorships that usurped governance in actuality and even during the marginal “democratic phase” was always the arbiter, as per Musharraf’s book, “In the Line of Fire” and independent commentators on Pakistan.

02-02-2008, 05:28 PM
CSIS, 1 Feb 07: The Afghan-Pakistan War: Threat Developments (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/080201_afghanthreat.pdf)

This briefing provides a broad view of the rising level of violence in the country based on a visit to Afghanistan in late January 2008, and unclassified data from the UN, NATO/ISAF, and US sources in Afghanistan. It provides an analytic overview of threat developments that map and chart a growing overall threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It shows that the more traditional Taliban structure under the Mullah Omar in the south remains a major problem, and that the mix of Taliban and other Islamist elements in the East has become far more sophisticated and cooperative during the course of 2007. Al Qa'ida influence over the Afghan groups has increased, and the combined role of Al Qa'ida and the emerging Pakistani Taliban has sharply increased in influence and in the territory over which it has de facto control.

Taliban support areas inside both Afghanistan and Pakistan have increased during 2007, and the Taliban has expanded its control over political and economic space in the south, far northeast, the area around Kabul, and in the central, western, and northwestern areas of Afghanistan. As the briefing shows, US experts in Afghanistan believe that the Taliban has set very clear objectives to expand its activity throughout the country in 2008, and into previously secure provinces and districts.

The situation in Pakistan is shown as critical, and few in Afghanistan or Pakistan believe the situation will not deteriorate even further in 2008 unless the Pakistani government takes far more decisive action than it has to date. Experts do, however, question Pakistan's willingness to act, the role of the ISI in supporting the Taliban and other threat elements, and whether the Pakistani Army and government are acting with anything like their claimed firmness.....
Complete 65 slide brief in pdf available at the link.

02-02-2008, 06:17 PM
This CSIS powerpoint is useful, particularly the details on drug production.


02-07-2008, 04:56 PM
MISNA (http://www.misna.org/news.asp?a=1&IDLingua=1&id=205619) is reporting today that the Pakistani government is seeking a ceasefire with the Taleban and the local tribes in South Waziristan prior to elections:

The Pakistani government has begun negotiations with the Taliban and allied tribal elders ahead of the crucial February 28 legislative elections, drawing criticism from both the opposition and United States.

A little more at the link.

02-16-2008, 01:39 PM
USIP, 15 Feb 08: Pakistani Public Opinion on Democracy, Islamist Militancy, and Relations with the U.S. (http://www.usip.org/pubs/working_papers/wp7_pakistan.pdf)

In this fierce succession of events, it is important to not lose a broader perspective. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has gone through many crises in its 60 years, and its resilience has been often underestimated. One source of this resilience has been, necessarily, the Pakistani public. Thus it is vital to ask what are the strengths and weaknesses, the areas of agreement and polarization that characterize the public’s attitudes.

Naturally a key concern, especially from an American perspective, is how Pakistanis view the proper role of Islam in society. Central to the US “war on terror” is concern about militant groups, such as al Qaeda and the Taliban, who seek to create an extremely conservative and theocratic Islamist state. How responsive are Pakistanis to the siren song of such ideas? The Pakistani government has taken a number of steps in recent years to reform the madrassahs and laws related to the treatment of women: how do Pakistanis view these developments?

Conversely important is the question of how Pakistanis view democracy. How important is democracy to them and how do they assess the reality of democratic functioning in Pakistan? Likewise, how do they value the independence of the justice system, which has been sorely tested over the last year?

Perhaps most centrally, does the majority feel there are contradictions between democratic governance and Islam’s social role, or do they see these as essentially in harmony? Does the current political turmoil arise from deep-seated ideological conflicts on these questions, or do they primarily arise from political power struggles?
Complete 47 page paper at the link.

02-16-2008, 03:57 PM
As I have said before the people who should decide are the Pakistani voters. Recent opnion polling indicates still 80% support for secular parties and this week there was an article from NWFP indicating the fall in support for the religious parties in control. Plus a report that the state (read ISI, police etc) are planning to "fix" the voting.

A spectacular failure has been the lack of international independent observers, which apparently Musharraf opposed.

The militants attacks on political rallies, building on the attacks on politicians, will I suspect intimidate the voters, not to vote at all.

Kashmiris who I've known for many years guide my judgement on Pakistanis. Kashmiris invariably prefer to sit on the fence and take time plus pressure to move off. For the Pakistani voter what a choice to make?

I did wonder this week, chatting with a British Pakistani, whether the USA and the UK have stood back so far - since Musharraf's declaration of a State of Emergency - that we will see ideologues cry 'Who lost Pakistan?'.

We watch and wait.


02-17-2008, 11:50 AM
A good, short read on what is happening and what could be done:



02-27-2008, 05:13 AM

To put it bluntly, the writer is an apologist and has sugarcoated the issues to make it palatable to the western ideas as to what Pakistan should be.

The Pakistani President, who had a better insight of the going ons inside his country, having various intelligence and security agencies under his command, himself in a televised address on 12 January 2002 stated that the greatest danger facing Pakistan came not from outside Pakistan, not from India, but from Pakistan’s own homegrown religious radicals—“a danger,” he said, “that is eating us from within.”

The unabated fundamentalist activities in FATA, NWFP, Balochistan, and the meek surrender of Forts, the surrender of soldiers without firing a shot, is indicative that the Islamic tenets rule the average Pakistani mindset, even if the killings of military personnel including their Surgeon General, numerous suicide bombings are taken to be acts of fanatics and not spurred by Islamic fervour.

The Awami National Party has won in NWFP. Its leader is Khan Abdul Wali Khan, whose father was the 'Frontier Gandhi', Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan aka Bacha Khan, who espoused the Pakhtoonistan movement. It is interesting to note that the Awami National Party continues to support the Pakhtoonistan cause i.e. the Union of the Pashtun people on either side of the Durand Line.

Therefore, while the election has indicated a decline of the fundamentalist parties, it has raised another spectre of subnationalism that may in times to come, if not alrady there, have some affinity with those who have the same aim, but are using Islam and the Taliban as an all encompassing shroud!

The spectre of subnationalsim does not stop at NWFP. To the offer by the PPP's head Zardari that negotiations were welcomed with the Balochistan Liberation Army, the BLA spokesman BLA spokesman Bibarg Baloch is supposed to have said, ""Is he capable of conceding our demand for an independent Balochistan?"

Therefore, a new threat of subnationalism is on the rise. And like it or not, Islamic fundamentalism cannot be far behind to murky the waters.

Therefore, the author is flawed in his attempts to lull the western mind that all is well in Pakistan and things are taking shape. In fact, the environment is getting dangerous.

Pakistan has an affinity to Sufism?

Sufism is an anathema to other schools of Islamic thought.

BBC states (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4746019.stm):
Post-colonial Pakistan has had a schizophrenic policy towards Sufi shrines.

By subsuming them under the Auqaf department, the state has sought to weaken the powers of the spiritual heirs of the saints.

Established under Ayub Khan in 1959, the Auqaf department received its charter from Javed Iqbal, the son of Pakistan's founding visionary poet, Mohammad Iqbal, who actually bemoaned the superstitions of Indian Muslims

It is true that Quawalis are popular, but then that is no endorsement that there is an overwhelming love for Sufism in Pakistan. If it were so, then there would be more Sufis than Sunnis and Shias! Sufism, is at best, tolerated. The area where Sufism is widely prevalent is in Kashmir. Event indicate that there, too, fundamental Islamism is overtaking Sufism.

The writer uses isolated incidents to show that the locals are banding against the Taliban and fundamentalists. If that were so, then why are there the reports that the fundamentalists are once again daring to raise their ugly heads in SWAT and elsewhere, where they had been nearly wiped out, as per the media? Without local support the rise once again of such elements would be impossible. Therefore, who is the writer trying to fool?

There is indeed indications that people are tiring with militancy. But Islam and its tenets continues to predominate the mind. As the writer himself admits, the Pakistanis are against the War on Terror and thus the US and its actions in Afghanistan and FATA. Indeed, they are and they feel that it is but a War on Islam instead. This feeling is strong and this feeling will predominate any 'feel good' sentiments that the elections may have given. The civilian govt, which will be a coalition govt of dissimilar elements, will hardly be in a position to deliver to either the Pakistani aspirations or the US needs.

This non deliverance will frustrate the common Pakistanis and also the US. And once again the cycle will repeat.

No matter how many feel good articles are churned out to appease and assauge the fears of the Western mind, the reality and the ground situation does not portend to a peaceful stability and a changed Pakistan.

In fact, it could get worse!

05-04-2008, 04:22 AM
And from the Pakistani Paper The International News (http://thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=110586)

The federal government has begun the process of negotiating a peace agreement with the Tehrik-e- Taliban (TeT) in South Waziristan. There are certain important reflections on this matter which need consideration.

Earlier this month, the NWFP government signed a peace agreement with the TNSM, which is a religious movement in Malakand division, where the TNSM is demanding the implementation of Shariat. In the agreement, the TNSM promised to abandon violence and to propagate its views peacefully. It also condemned the recent militant violence in Swat. Although, the agreement was signed by the TNSM, its fighting rank and file, led by Maulvi Fazlullah, has condemned it! There is a danger that this agreement will wither away without having accomplished much.

The NWFP government has thus opened itself to criticism for failing to include an enforcement clause based on indemnities, as well as the absence of any mechanism through which the agreement can be monitored and enforced.

On the other hand, the proposed agreement with TeT of Baitullah Masud is in a totally different category. Firstly, this agreement, though not yet finalised, is the responsibility of the federal government as it relates to tribal areas. Secondly, it is not understood how the government can sign an agreement with TeT, when it is not a tribe but an armed organisation. Thirdly, TeT is signing the agreement in South Waziristan. How will it, for example, be effective in Mohmand agency, which is different from South Waziristan? How will it be monitored by the federal government in the NWFP, where TeT is also active? If the government signs the agreement with the Mahsud tribe it will not be with the TeT, who could ignore it and continue to fight. There are thus so many technical bottlenecks in the signing of an agreement with TeT that it is unlikely to materialise.

06-11-2008, 09:47 PM
Under the headline 'Tensions rise....' the UK Daily Telegraph reports: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/2111326/Tensions-rise-after-Pakistan-soldiers-are-killed-in-US-bombing-raid.html

I know other websites have commented upon events in Pakistan recently, I cannot recall much on SWC.


06-11-2008, 10:33 PM
Under the headline 'Tensions rise....' the UK Daily Telegraph reports: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/2111326/Tensions-rise-after-Pakistan-soldiers-are-killed-in-US-bombing-raid.html

I know other websites have commented upon events in Pakistan recently, I cannot recall much on SWC.

There has been some very interesting reporting in regards to the incident reported in linked article, which is very different from the statement, The Afghans were persuaded to return "amicably"..... I'm looking forward to hearing the rest of the story.

06-12-2008, 08:05 AM
A different account, with more details after what appears to be a press briefing by the US command: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080611/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_pakistan;_ylt=AjVv_ral9N8FuttMb9NlKkys0NUE

I draw attention to this part of the story and my italics: 'The Pentagon did not rule out the possibility that friendly forces were killed, but officials did not discount the idea that paramilitary fighters may have attacked coalition troops. The Pakistani army said the coalition strike hit a post of the paramilitary Frontier Corps and was a "completely unprovoked and cowardly act."

Note it was suggested in '07 that the USA provide training and support to the Frontier Corps, a locally recruited para-military force.

Different sources and background: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/06/afghan_troops_clash.php


Rank amateur
06-12-2008, 04:17 PM
Video has been released (http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2008/06/12/von.pakistan.drone.dod.dod). There is a bomb explosion off camera, so I guess the video doesn't answer all the questions. It does make me wonder if the Pakistan Army was shooting at the good guys.

Ken White
06-12-2008, 04:45 PM
Video has been released (http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2008/06/12/von.pakistan.drone.dod.dod). There is a bomb explosion off camera, so I guess the video doesn't answer all the questions. It does make me wonder if the Pakistan Army was shooting at the good guys.who has a head wound and a son who got a merit badge that says emphatically that the Waziris and Pushtuns in the Frontier Force on the south side of the border are far more in tune with their friends and neighbors than they are with Islamabad...

Happens a lot.

Thus our message that it needs to stop. Because we won't stop, and should not, even though we're trying to fix it through 'diplomacy' (whatever that is...). Our patience with probes from the ME for 22 years only encouraged more. We don't need to repeat that mistake.

Rank amateur
06-12-2008, 05:38 PM
who has a head wound and a son who got a merit badge that says emphatically that the Waziris and Pushtuns in the Frontier Force on the south side of the border are far more in tune with their friends and neighbors than they are with Islamabad...

Happens a lot.

That could explain why it took 45 minutes; somebody wanted approval from higher up. I wonder how high?

Ken White
06-12-2008, 07:13 PM
but with a feed to Doha where the JAOC is located. Certainly no higher than CentCom (who have their fingers further into things than they probably should).

06-22-2008, 08:35 PM
Found in today's UK The Observer: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/22/pakistan.afghanistan

Refers to a RAND report which touched upon the Frontier Corps; which may have appeared here before?


06-23-2008, 04:04 PM
Found in today's UK The Observer: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/22/pakistan.afghanistan

Refers to a RAND report which touched upon the Frontier Corps; which may have appeared here before?
The study was previously posted in the Afghanistan Security and Stability thread (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2123).

06-25-2008, 07:32 AM
Strategy Targets Pakistan Ties (http://www.washtimes.com/news/2008/jun/25/strategy-targets-pakistan-ties/) - Sara Carter, Washington Times

The new U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, said he will visit Pakistan in the next few weeks to coordinate strategy amid a deteriorating relationship between the two U.S. allies.

As a NATO command, the mandate for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) "does not extend across the border to Pakistan," Gen. McKiernan told The Washington Times in an exclusive interview. "So we do have a right to self-defense, but we do not have any ISAF military operations in the sovereign territory of Pakistan."...

06-27-2008, 10:25 PM
Found on the Kings of War blogsite, a Canadian journalist based in Kandahar reports on interviewing a Taliban prisoner who alleges being trained by the Pakistani Army: http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/War_Terror/2008/06/26/5996761-cp.html


06-30-2008, 03:12 PM
IHT, 30 Jun 08: Amid Policy Disputes, Qaeda Grows in Pakistan (http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/30/america/30tribal.php)

....Just as it had on the day before 9/11, Al Qaeda now has a band of terror camps from which to plan and train for attacks against Western targets, including the United States. Officials say the new camps are smaller than the ones the group used prior to 2001. However, despite dozens of American missile strikes in Pakistan since 2002, one retired CIA officer estimated that the makeshift training compounds now have as many as 2,000 Arab and Pakistani militants, up from several hundred three years ago.

Publicly, senior American and Pakistani officials have said that the creation of a Qaeda haven in the tribal areas was in many ways inevitable — that the lawless badlands where ethnic Pashtun tribes have resisted government control for centuries were a natural place for a dispirited terror network to find refuge. The American and Pakistani officials also blame a disastrous cease-fire brokered between the Pakistani government and militants in 2006.

But more than four dozen interviews in Washington and Pakistan tell another story. American intelligence officials say that the Qaeda hunt in Pakistan, code-named Operation Cannonball by the CIA in 2006, was often undermined by bitter disagreements within the Bush administration and within the intelligence agency, including about whether American commandos should launch ground raids inside the tribal areas.....

06-30-2008, 03:42 PM
Pakistan has a population of about 167 million, growing by about 1.8% annually.
It has a GNP of about USD 144 billion, growing by about 6.4% annually (this surprised me).

That's about 4-5 % annual GNP/capita growth. Make that 10-15 % for ten years with a Marshall plan (concentrated on the politically decisive lowlands).
The costs would probably be about 1/5th of the overall effect at most, that's about 2% of their GNP = USD 3 billion in the first year and less than USD 12 billion at the end of the period.

Wouldn't that be surprisingly cheap in comparison to 'classical' national security / great power games policy? Even the military aid is expensive and equals just consumption, not investment.

The result would be that the youth migrates from the backwardish tribal areas into the cities. The population in the cities would be busy with business/jobs and with the exploitation of their new wealth.
Pakistani parents would more often than ever before consider (free!) secular schools as important for their youth instead of religious schools.

Poverty isn't the reason for terrorism, but it sure helps to recruit jihadists and it helps populists of all political wings.

A major problem of such a project would be the relationship to India, though.
India is a bit large and difficult to influence. Well, unless you look at it from the perspective of U.S. national security spending...

Ken White
07-05-2008, 05:00 PM
rather it was due in part to the fact that such an initiative would require getting a fractious Congress to agree to put up the money and most of us would deem that a highly unlikely prospect for several reasons. Those reasons, ranging from simple bias in a few cases to the long term impact on US spending in the view of most are compounded by the India - Pakistan relationship conundrum.
I supposed it would be surprisingly cheap in comparison to military actions & sanctions.Arguable at best but a part of the problem is the US Congress view of spending money -- it is generally predicated on very short term efforts that will realize a benefit for the incumbents. Long range thought is, very regrettably, not in the makeup of too many in Congress.
The members of this forum/board are so proud about their "non-kinetic" approaches...Most also are in favor of other approaches that will work and are not prone to favor those that come equipped with obvious difficulties that may not be overcome; to wit (from your original post)
...Even the military aid is expensive and equals just consumption, not investment.True, however, you're asking us for an investment and like most investors, we'd prefer that there be a guarantee of no harm and a good expectation of some small profit. Lacking that, the desire to invest is reduced. Another factor leading to non-response is, I think, that in dealing with other Nations since 1945, we've discovered that spending massive amounts of money will not buy love and indeed can often be counterproductive. You may have noted that our net government to government foreign aid has declined considerably over the years -- lack of return for the investments involved is a significant contributor to that.
The result would be that the youth migrates from the backwardish tribal areas into the cities. The population in the cities would be busy with business/jobs and with the exploitation of their new wealth.In an ideal world -- indications lead me (and, I suspect, most observers) to believe that the Imams would fight that tooth and nail and it would not happen. That too is, IMO, a reason for the lack of response.
Pakistani parents would more often than ever before consider (free!) secular schools as important for their youth instead of religious schools.Possible but also highly improbable in the near term -- which, as sadly stated above, is Congress' focus.
Poverty isn't the reason for terrorism, but it sure helps to recruit jihadists and it helps populists of all political wings.True -- but so is this;
A major problem of such a project would be the relationship to India, though.
India is a bit large and difficult to influence. Well, unless you look at it from the perspective of U.S. national security spending...Now, back to your most recent post:
As I said, it represents a mainstream reply from European peace & conflict studies, a whole academic field.It would also represent the thoughts of many in this country; mostly those that lean a little to the left and who oppose conflict on principle. Fortunately or unfortunately, viewpoint dependent, the fact is that the majority of people in the US do not lean that way, they're pretty well centric in their views -- and they're very pragmatic. Moderate centrists far outnumber both left and right leaning persons in the US; those folks tend to be pretty thoughtful and realistic (they also tend to be quiet; that old 'silent majority'). Your suggestion would be nice in an ideal world and it would have great merit were it proposed for a nation with a western orientation. Pakistan is not such a nation -- and most Americans are well aware of the subtle differences therein involved. Yet another factor in no responses, perhaps.

Another pair of very minor factors are your noted "European peace & conflict studies, a whole academic field." Rightly or wrongly, that mass of moderate American is suspicious of anything emanating from Europe and anything from the vales of Academe. Neither font of knowledge and rectitude has proven to really have all the answers. Au contraire... :wry:
Are we so hard-wired to consider force (even "non-kinetic" one) as answer to international security concerns?No, I don't think so. History since 1945 and most particularly in the last 30 years seems to point away from that. Recall that we would not be in Afghanistan or Iraq lacking the attacks on the World trade Center and the Pentagon.
(Or is the English-speaking countries bias here so overwhelming and the understanding of rather foreign approaches to security concerns too small?)Pragmatic versus dogmatic, I think.

07-05-2008, 06:41 PM
Not sure about the details, but the UK has recently announced a new aid package to Pakistan, with an emphasis on the FATA; see links below:


A respected Pakistani columnist commented on the issues a few weeks ago: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7433349.stm

The UK has sound strategic reasons to be involved in Pakistan and the FATA. Considerable emphasis is given to the links to the UK, with 400k Pakistani origin UK citizens travelling there each year and an estimated 100k citizens being there at any one time. Note most of the UK's Pakistani population come from Kashmir and not the FATA.

This aid package started in 2006 and I do wonder if the announcement has been timed for when US policy is so un-decided.

I am wary of any aid to Pakistan, knowing that other civil irrigation projects, have been seriously weakened by corruption and the diversion of materials. That was a decade ago and how any external, let alone UK, aid can be delivered effectively in the FATA is a moot point.


Bill Moore
07-05-2008, 11:55 PM
Economic investment has merit, but has you stated Pakistan (and Bangladesh) are already in an upward trend economically. I think our bias isn't being military focused, but rather our bias is a few bombs go off in a country and there are some insurgents/terrorists in their midsts, so we assume the country is a basket case, and that is far from the reality. The majority of Pakis don't want anything to do with the extremists.

I think we already invest enough in Pakistan, and we encourage economic growth by providing technical expertise to assist them. The issue is diversifying the wealth distribution, but that needs to be tied to some sort of behavior change by the tribes in the FATA.

I think you hit the main issue and that is their relationship with India. If we could cool the flames between India and Pakistan (it may take a Christmas miracle), then both countries could direct more attention on their internal troubles. They're both allies, so like Egypt and Israel, we have to balance our aid to both to avoid the perception we're picking a side.

Economic incentives are not enough to quiet the radical voices of discontent. Saudi Ariabia is an example where radicals emerge from the middle class. Poverty may assist their propaganda campaign, but it isn't the reason that terrorists become radicals.

07-18-2008, 02:39 PM
CFR, 16 Jul 08: Securing Pakistan's Tribal Belt (http://www.cfr.org/content/publications/attachments/Pakistan_CSR36.pdf)

....Few dimensions of dealing with Pakistan are the source of as much frustration as the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, the subject of this Council Special Report commissioned by the Center for Preventive Action. Daniel Markey analyzes the unique challenges of this region, which has long been largely outside Pakistani government control. He argues that the United States must work with Islamabad to confront security threats and improve governance and economic opportunity in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), something that could reduce militancy. The report lays out a cooperative, incentives-based strategy for the United States that would aim to increase the capacity of the Pakistani government and its security institutions, foster political and economic reform, and build confidence in the bilateral relationship. At the same time, the report outlines alternatives to be considered should this positive approach fail to advance U.S. interests. These alternatives, be they coercive sanctions to induce Pakistan to act or unilateral U.S. action against security threats, could bring some short-term progress in dealing with significant threats—but at the cost of bringing about a more hostile Pakistan that would cease to be a partner of any sort.....

07-19-2008, 09:18 PM
This CFR report is worth reading, the description of the situation is excellent; the policy options are well intentioned and from my armchair hopelessly optimistic. Particularly over any effective American or other Western presence in the FATA, for both civil and military aid, training etc.

Pakistanis are proud of their country, whatever it's flaws; any perceived "hardline" by the USA to achieve change will reinforce those opposed to this difficult relationship.

Let's be honest there are two strands to the relationship, not one joined up national government; there is the military - who control security policy and civil politics - who do little for most Pakistanis.

Any US / NATO / Western policy needs to acknowledge this. Can we influence enough change in the military to achieve jointly held objectives? How is this done, in view of the "stop go" Pakistani policy to date? At the same time we will seek to build up civil politics, for good governance plus and in the medium term hopefully gain more influence on security policy making.


08-01-2008, 08:50 PM
NYT, 1 Aug 08: Pakistanis Aided Attack in Kabul, U.S. Officials Say (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/01/world/asia/01pstan.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin)

American intelligence agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan’s powerful spy service helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7492601.stm) of India’s embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to United States government officials.

The conclusion was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants who carried out the attack, the officials said, providing the clearest evidence to date that Pakistani intelligence officers are actively undermining American efforts to combat militants in the region.

The American officials also said there was new information showing that members of the Pakistani intelligence service were increasingly providing militants with details about the American campaign against them, in some cases allowing militants to avoid American missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.....

09-04-2008, 01:35 PM
CEIP, 4 Sep 08: Engaging Pakistan—Getting the Balance Right (http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/pb64_tellis_pakistan_final.pdf)

Pakistan will remain a daunting challenge for the next American administration. The near-term challenge of defeating terrorism requires Washington to strengthen ties with the Pakistani military—the source of its national problems—whereas the long-term goal of nursing Pakistan to health requires a robust partnership with civilian leaders, which could undermine the military’s counterterrorism cooperation. Unfortunately, the United States cannot choose between these approaches. U.S. strategy in these circumstances ought to consist of:

- Strengthening the civilian government in Pakistan.

- Investing in Pakistan’s human capital and supporting its civil society.

- Assisting Pakistan with counterterrorism while emphasizing the long-term U.S. commitment to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

- Encouraging Indo–Pakistani reconciliation without American mediation.

- Encouraging Indo–Pakistani economic integration.

Because Pakistan’s problems are deep-rooted, the United States should be satisfied in the interim with positive trends in governance, macroeconomic management, foreign policy, and temperate ideological orientation.....

09-26-2008, 05:42 PM
Pak Helicopter's fly in support of Taliban (http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2008/09/military_pakistan_091808w/)

Anybody else see somthing on this or have any first-or second hand knowledge of the event described?
Also, just today..Pak troops fire on US helicopters (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/sep/25/nato-pakistani-troops-fired-their-chopper/)

Whats the breaking point before we openly engage Pakistani troops?

09-26-2008, 05:49 PM
Pak Helicopter's fly in support of Taliban (http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2008/09/military_pakistan_091808w/)

Anybody else see somthing on this or have any first-or second hand knowledge of the event described?
Also, just today..Pak troops fire on US helicopters (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/sep/25/nato-pakistani-troops-fired-their-chopper/)

Whats the breaking point before we openly engage Pakistani troops?

In a couple of the accounts, the US Soldiers on the ground fired at the Pakis in retaliation.

Ken White
09-26-2008, 06:07 PM
both sides since 2002. It surfaces to the media on occasion but not always.

Some times, there are casualties. Here's one I happen to know personally; note the date. The articles is not quite correct -- some of the Pakistanis helped the US, others engaged and a healthy fire fight was going on before it got calmed down. LINK (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=42350)

09-30-2008, 06:29 PM
Pakistan Policy, 29 Sep 08: Ahmed Shuja Pasha, New ISI Chief (http://pakistanpolicy.com/2008/09/29/ahmad-shuja-pasha-new-isi-chief/)

Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha has replaced Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj as director general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The Australian reports that Washington had been pressing Islamabad/Rawalpindi hard to replace Taj as late as Sunday night. President Asif Zardari reportedly met with CIA Director Michael Hayden this weekend in New York. What they discussed specifically is unclear — but Hayden reportedly provided Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will a proposal for “ISI reform” in July.

Taj, a Musharraf relative and appointee, is depicted as the face of the organization’s alleged double game vis-a-vis militants along the border with Afghanistan. He will now head Gujranwala’s XXX Corps.

Pasha, just promoted from major general, had been director general of military operations (DGMO). In this capacity, he headed the Pakistan Army’s operations in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and so his appointment provides no indication of a change in the military establishment’s war on terror policy.....

10-10-2008, 03:23 AM
USIP, 2 Oct 08: The Next Chapter: The United States and Pakistan (http://www.usip.org/pubs/ppwg_report.pdf)

.....Washington needs to rethink its approach to Pakistan. If we genuinely believe that a stable, prosperous Pakistan is in our interest, we must be much smarter about how we work with Pakistan and what sort of assistance we provide. As the September 19th bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad demonstrates, there is little time to waste. Our options in Pakistan are diminishing rapidly.

Political developments in both Pakistan and the United States, however, make this an opportune moment to recalibrate U.S. policy. A new civilian government headed by the Pakistan People’s Party has emerged in Pakistan, and President Pervez Musharraf has departed the scene after nine years of military rule. The upcoming U.S. presidential election will similarly bring a new set of policymakers to power and a potential willingness to consider fresh approaches to managing the difficult but exceedingly important U.S.–Pakistan relationship.....

10-20-2008, 02:53 PM
Apologies for late addition thought I'd dropped the link in.

IN mid-September the American think tank Council Foriegn Relations published a report on 'The next chapter in US-Pakistan relations', a good overview and described the options available for the next US President:



12-10-2008, 06:34 AM
The more I follow the complexities of the Pakistan and Indian involvement in A-stan, the more I fear we are trying to sit on the fence, with all the risk of serious groin injury that this entails. I think the time has come to seriously re-evaluate the sides we have chosen in this fight. In the following LINK, (http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=16899) two passages stand out to me. One.

Wednesday's attack could have a negative impact on Indo-Pakistani ties, which--due to revelations of Pakistani intelligence involvement in the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul on July 7, 2008--were already strained.
Does anyone here have confirmation of this? To me this is big, if the Pak Intelligence community is still supporting terrorist activities in A-stan, my support for them would be gone.

The historical animosity between Pakistan and India has also begun to increasingly manifest itself in Afghanistan, where Pakistan fears it is losing influence to India. New Delhi has pledged over $1 billion in assistance to the Afghan government and increased its political and economic influence throughout the country over the last few years. Pakistan's ability to maintain influence in Afghanistan throughout the 1990s stemmed from its support to the Taliban, whose leadership is allied with al-Qaeda. Other than strengthening ties to Kabul through stronger economic and trade linkages, Pakistan now finds itself with few options to project influence in Afghanistan; any further dealings with the Taliban risk isolation from the international community.

My embarrassing random thought of supporting India as the key counter-terrorist agent in the region has begun to seem less whacko to me all the time. I understand the desire to appease everyone in the region, but my gut says that this is a bad idea, and we will lose ALL support and influence in the region if we keep it up.
Any thought on how peacekeepers from either Pak or India would be viewed by the Afghan populace compared to the US and NATO?

12-10-2008, 06:42 AM
Rand Paper Abstract (http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB136/index1.html)
I would love to get the whole document but this abstract sums up the challenge and options fairly well.

Rex Brynen
12-10-2008, 12:55 PM
Any thought on how peacekeepers from either Pak or India would be viewed by the Afghan populace compared to the US and NATO?

The Indians would be regarded as just as foreign as NATO, and—given how Indian RoE work out when they are under threat—likely involve even more collateral damage against the civilian population as things got messy. More important, any Indian troop deployment would be considered by the Pakistani military-intelligence complex as confirmation that the Karzai government is a major strategic threat, and would lead them to throw their full-blown support behind the Taliban as a strategic counter. (While there is no doubt that elements in ISI currently provide some support to the Taliban now, it is very, very far from full fledged institutional support at present.)

Pakistani peacekeepers in Afghanistan? I wouldn't assume that they would be seen as much more "local"—the Pakistani army is seen as already "foreign" by many Pakistani Pashtuns in the FATA/NWFP/etc. It would also be resented by many local pro-Karzai Afghans as an extension of (malevolent) Pakistani influence. Finally, I have serious doubts about the PKO or combat efficiency of the Pakistani armed forces (their performance against radical Islamists within Pakistan, or on PKO missions such as Somalia, is far from stellar).

12-10-2008, 01:23 PM
It's not known for sure, but it's likely ISI had some involvement in the attack. Whether this was limited to general support for the group or whether it provided direct assistance in support of this particular attack isn't known. There is a very important distinction there between general support and specific support for a particular attack.

Also, one thing you have to keep in mind about Pakistan is that it is a factional country that lacks the kind of centralized power and authority that we have here in the US. The civilian government, military and intelligence services all have a lot of independent power - indeed the civilian government serves at the pleasure of the Army - so there are many times when the right hand not only doesn't know what the left is doing, but the foot is doing something completely different and lying to both hands about it. And there are times when the government may want to do something and the military say's no. In those arguments, the military usually wins and gets its way.

This makes choosing "sides" difficult when talking about India/Pakistan because when something like the India Embassy bombing occurs, and there are indications of Pakistani involvement, we don't know if that involvement was an official act of the Pakistani government, or just another in a long line of ISI going off the reservation and pursuing its own, independent agenda. It must be quite frustrating to the civilian government as well, who might find out that an instrument of its supposed national power has gone and done something from al Jezeera or when the US Ambassador calls.

This reality in Pakistan makes dealing with them very complex and frustrating, but they still remain an ally of necessity. Even if parts of the Pakistani government are working against us, we need those parts which are working for us if we want to continue operations at all in Astan.

I also strongly endorse Rex's comments. Pakistan has long sought to control Afghanistan to gain strategic depth against India. It's one of several reasons why Pakistan does not want to see a strong, independent government in Afghanistan. Indian "peacekeepers" in that context would be seen as an existential threat to Pakistani interests. In fact, the main reason India is playing in Afghanistan at all has little to do with Afghanistan and everything to do with causing problems for Pakistan.

Ken White
12-10-2008, 04:15 PM
strongly disliked in order, Pakistanis, Brits and Russians. Guy I know with two tours and current contacts there tells me that's still true.

That suggests that any thought of Pakistani troops in Afghanistan would not be a good idea...

Entropy is of course correct on the problems that Pakistan possesses as a nation. There is no easy solution there or in Afghanistan and there was never going to be one. We did something that needed to be done, are still doing that as best we can and that's good. The bad thing is that it seems to me we have yet to determine what we can and will accept as an achievable end state. We really need to do that, be very clear and public about it and set out to achieve that goal.

Devil's Advocate
12-10-2008, 09:30 PM
I think your take on the ISI is well placed. I think the Pak govt serves at the pleasure of the army, while the ISI upholds the agenda of the "true believers", while allowing the govt and army "plausable deniability".

Every so often the ISI will provide a scape goat and talk about reform.

The bottom line, IMO, is Pakastan's pathological fear of India. That fear determines Pak foreign policy. If Pak continues to see US policy as favoring India we can only expect more "disappointments" from Pak.

The bad thing is that it seems to me we have yet to determine what we can and will accept as an achievable end state.

Unfortunately, others are not operating without a strategic goal. Events may pass us by while we try and figure out what to do. The SCO grows, while NATO shows it's impotence.

Since about 1965 China has been Pak's most important strategic partner, while USSR/Russia has ebbed and flowed with India. I don't think the GWOT has altered the China/Pak relationship at all.

I read these recently and thought there were some interesting points.



Some people don't like the source, but I think it provides a good start point to do further research. I think the region gives a new meaning to "Byzantine politics". Just 2cents from someone trying to learn about the region.

12-11-2008, 02:26 PM
Rand Paper Abstract (http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB136/index1.html)
I would love to get the whole document but this abstract sums up the challenge and options fairly well.
The entire document is here: The Counterterror Coalitions: Cooperation with Pakistan and India (http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2004/RAND_MG141.pdf)

12-11-2008, 08:24 PM
I accept "sitting on the fence" can be painful, but the campaign in Afghanistan does not face the dilemma of choosing between India and Pakistan.

Neither nation can really supply "boots on the ground", for a variety of reasons, although I'd be interested to learn how the small Indian para-military presence, guarding road builders, has gone down with the Afghans (sibject of a thread a long time ago).

IMHO India can only play a small part whilst without Pakistan's assistance we cannot campaign fully in Afghanistan; as discussed on the supply routes thread recently.

We do need to work on ensuring India and Pakistan do not return to their historical bickering etc. Reinforced by the Mumbai attacks and the attendant allegations of a Pakistani state role.

Alas neither nation is readily amenable to diplomacy and pressure. The two rival intelligence agencies are known to "play games" in Afghanistan, much to the annoyance of former Western government figures. The Indian Embassy attack has been widely leaked as being linked to ISI, sometimes in surprising detail in semi-public forums; whether there is any foundation to this remains elusive.

The real issue in Afghanistan is securing Afghan support, preferably in the fight; I exclude what our objective is (covered in another thread) and whether an Afghan nation state exists that can provide that support.

Reed - I hope this helps.

12-14-2008, 08:52 PM
Found on another site and on my first read an interesting story, which I suspect has gained prominence with Gordon Brown's visit to the region: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5337881.ece

Note the dead Pakistani general is SF.


(Added here as the latest thread on the issue, although there are other threads).

Ken White
12-14-2008, 08:59 PM
Wheels inside of wheels...:(

01-30-2009, 05:04 PM
CSIS, 27 Jan 09 The Afghan-Pakistan War: The Rising Threat: 2002-2008 (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/090129_afghanwar.pdf)

NATO/ISAF (http://www.nato.int/ISAF/), the US government, and UN (http://www.unama-afg.org/) have provided some unclassified data on the rising intensity of the conflict, but coverage has often been limited and much of the data are contradictory. Other material has been leaked by the UN, or has been complied by private organizations like Senlis (http://icosgroup.net/) -- whose results are generally more negative than those of the US and NATO/ISAF.

This paper provides a graphic comparison of such data in graphic and map form. No one source can be said to be reliable and no one set of trends is definitive. The only way to track the the trends in the war is to look at different sources and metrics.

The reader should also be aware that there are particularly sharp differences in estimates of Taliban and other insurgent influence depending on whether that influence is measures in terms of clashes, poll, presence, or risk to NATO/ISAF, and UN/NGO (http://afghanistan-analyst.org/ngo.aspx) personnel. This is clearly reflected in the maps in showing the rise of violence, high risk areas, and areas of Taliban influence.

The data are further limited by the fact that NATO/ISAF, the US and other sources do not cover the Pakistani side of the fighting. This ignores one of the most critical aspects of the conflict.

George L. Singleton
01-30-2009, 08:14 PM
CSIS, 27 Jan 09 The Afghan-Pakistan War: The Rising Threat: 2002-2008

Jedburg's comments are deeply appreciated and on target.

Pakistan has been "overlooked" for way too long.

A rebellion is going on inside the FATA, Waziristan, and related parts of the NWFP for some months now.

In Swat the Taliban and al Qaida, but especially the Taliban, are slaughtering the locals, who ethnically are not all Pukhtuns.

I get pleas for help frequent via private e-mails, starting from when I wrote/published a letter during 2008 testing the waters on theme "what if the US/NATO" came across the borders in force, literally?

Nub of most replies I got was they would prefer "us" the Pakistan Army and their ISI.

Problem is this is a backward, feudal, tribal society which cannot be changed for time to come, could take 100s of years. Bad as the Pak Army and ISA may be, they of late appear to be doing a better job, and should police up their theoretical provinces.

However, it is worth noting that these and related areas in Northern Paksitan allege to hate and oppose the terrorists, Taliban and al Qaida, but they, themselves have to get their guns and butter from somewhere? Guess who? From the Taliban and al Qaida, and lately from the Pakistan Army who have tried to sign up "enmasse" whole tribes to fight against sthe Taliban.

Convoluted and confusing for sure.

Again, thanks much for Jedburg's remarks and references.

George L. Singleton
01-31-2009, 04:01 AM
During 2008 a perhaps young Pukhtun man 20s age, posted on HUJRA ONLINE website (part of Khyber Watch.com syndicate of websites) a photo of himself in front of an Austrian syndicate built in Swat ski lodge/resort, coupled with photos (this was spring, 2008) of fast flowing area/nearby streams/river.

Within a few months the Taliban or al Qaida, probably the Taliban, had burned/blown up the former ski resort hotel and the young man who made the mistake of posting his own photo standing in front of this now gone Swat ski resort has not been back "on the air," most likely, my guess only, murdered by the Taliban.

The Taliban are using low strength FM radios to communicate and push their agenda in Swat and elsewhere in these northern areas. My antique knowledge of radio is that AM radio waves bounce and work best in mountaineous/hilly terrain. FM radio waves move in a straight line.
I assume you all know what I am saying.

Tough doings over there. Also last spring [2008] the Taliban fighters in some strength came into the NW city limits of Peshawar, a sprawling frontier city of a couple million folks, while Musharraf was still in power. Pakistani Army, Froniter Corp, and Peshawar Police battled for weeks, on and off, and lost then regained a major auto tunnel used on a main highway in and out of northern parts of City of Peshawar.

George L. Singleton
02-01-2009, 02:20 PM
Some bits and pieces of references as background for a few observations.




(I referred in a Jan. 31, 2008 posting to University of Lahore. CORRECTION: I should have referred to University of Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan. George Singleton.)

Here are some opinions which I invite comment, criticism on from my fellow SWJ thinkers and writers.

- Russia has agreed to have it's territory used vs. Pakistan for land movement of military supplies for NATO in Afghanistan.

- I believe that the sudden collapse of the Russian oil and gas money based national economy created to me a literally overnight opportunity for NATO shipments as this is a new revenue source to a financially upset and distressed Russian national and provincial economy(s).

- The hoped for benefit as we attempt a new form of surge inside Afghanistan is now based, for the time being, on a less threatened by Taliban and al Qaida land route vs. Pakistan where the Khyber Pass has been a narrow bottleneck attacked more regularly in recent months with pretty much impunity by the Taliban terrorists.

- Pakistan's government and military can now suck air and contemplate cooperating more fully in what was supposed to be a common war on terrorism, as Pakistan, too is faced with a heavily upset national and provincial economy(s) and in great need of the revenue from movement of NATO supplies on land through Pakistan.

- The newly opened Port of Gwadar, in Pakistan, on the Arabian Sea, built by the Chinese for Pakistan, needs the cargo revenue of continued movement of NATO supplies through Gwadar, by road up to the Khyber pass and thence into Afghanistan.

- Confused with the terrorist war with the Taliban and al Qaida is one camp of peaceful proponents of an independent Kashmir, composed of both Pakistan and Indian occupied parts of Kashmir. One of the above posts provides background on a heavily overlooked [my opinion] profile of Yasin Malik, who is Chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front.

- One of Yasin Malik's chief fund raisers is Sagir Ahmed of Bedford, England. Sagir started e-mail correspondence with me at the end of 2001 when I started having artices and letters giving an American's point of view, one who lived and worked in then West Pakistan at the old US Embassy, Karachi, as the liaison officer for the US U-2 base [U-2s and comm intel] at Badabur, which is a suburb of Peshawar, Pakistan.

- As is true historically with Europe, the Indian Subcontinent is filled with different cultures, tribes, alliances which in many instances are violent, but in his instance the JKLF has moved past violence to a peaceful process to seek political change in Kashmir.

- Side note: There is a third small piece of Kashmir held by China since their invasion of Tibet in 1960 (date ?). I don't attempt to address it, nor does Yasin Malik clearly try to address it, either, but you guys and gals may want to add it to the discussion I am seeking here.

- A final thought: Yasin Malik did a speaking tour of campuses and other groups here in the US circa 2006. I noted at the time that Howard University in DC was a major point of his visitation and lectures. I tried hard, without success, to get the then Chancellor of Vanderbilt University to invite Yasin Malik to speak with or without a panel at Vanderbilt in Nashville. Lack of a more open academic platform to such peaceful revolutionaries here in the US bothers me, but understand, I don't pretend to know everything about anything. I just think we could have and can in future do better.

Hoping for discussions of any tangental or synthesis nature now from you all.

08-02-2009, 09:45 PM
The problem is Pakistan and our self-deceit.

This war, and the taliban, have no traction in the absence of external sancturary provided by the GoP. In the absence of such, all things ARE possible and we hardly can imagine what the possible positive permutations might have arisen.

It's not to be so long as we aid our enemy in making war upon ourselves. There is, evidently, little recognition by Pakistan of the infectious influence the "good" taliban and their associates- A.Q. Haqqani & Son, and Hekmatyar have had upon the likes of locals like Nazir, Bahadur, and (most notably) Mehsud.

Equally, in their obsessive quest to deny Afghanistan to India and thus dodge the "envelopement" bullet, the GoP fails to see the final manifestation of a re-empowered taliban gov't and its friends.

That, of course, will be the cooperation between "good" and "bad" taliban to seize Pakistan. And they shall.

We've deliberately steered politely around this harsh reality about our ostensible "ally"- rationalizing our need for access to trans-ship goods/equipment. We've justified this by believing that no alternative exists and that we must "engage" them to gently sway their perspectives our way.

We've failed and now aid an enemy opposed to the U.N. mandate and prepared to use proxy armies to achieve it's ends.

Everything else trickles from that leaky faucet...

George L. Singleton
08-02-2009, 11:14 PM
S-2, the Paks are for over two years or more now using primarily air, artillery, and limited special forces instead of large numbers of troops on the ground where it counts.

The Pak-Afghan border is huge and rugged as the devil, I have been primarily in the Khyber Pass area myself.

As the Taliban are by blood Pakthuns they rely, successfully, on the Pakhtun unwritten code or constitution to seek sustainment and cover from being found out.

My sopa box again here: Huge Voice of America radio and TV broadcasts to demean and show how unIslamic the Taliban, and AQ, actually are...then there is some hope to stopper parts of the rugged border, provided the tribesmen there seek Pak military long term, not in and out, military support for permanent security.

Lack of trust in the GoP is a huge problem, but doing their duty, long term, could at least start to restore future trust in the GoP.

My two cents.

08-03-2009, 07:20 AM
"...doing their duty, long term, could at least start to restore future trust in the GoP."


"...doing their duty, long term,..." would win the damned war, IMHO. Again, this insurgency has no traction in the absence of sanctuaries. If mutual trust is the by-product of that action I'm all for it.

I don't see it though. Pakistan's army is wired for India. Sustaining their modest success in Buner and SWAT will challenge their stamina in ways they've heretofore not needed to face- policing their own.

Already the slain bodies are showing up in the streets of Mingora and its effect on the military (i.e. down at the squad/section level) shall be morally corrosive.

Further, every troop west is one less troop in the east. I'm convinced this grates on their leadership and each reinforcement sent west is done so with the most grudging acknowledgement.

There's a long P.R. investment in fighting the Indian bogey-man. That stuff pays the bills and then some. They'd like to keep it that way in my view.

No profit in fighting themselves from the army's POV.

To "do their duty", nearly all of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan and most of eastern Baluchistan await their army. That includes the "good" taliban were they to carry through fully.

There's easily a decade's work there. Maybe they realize it. Maybe not. I don't know. I only wonder if I'll see them start in my lifetime.

I'm 53...

08-19-2009, 04:06 PM
I posted this comment on "land of 10,000 wars": http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2009/08/the-land-of-10000-wars/ and was wondering where I would post such a query on this discussion board?

"I am curious to know if most people here agree with boatspace? What "accomodation" would allow the US to leave?

In my personal opinion (based on zero inside information), the real issue is not Afghanistan, its Pakistan. Lets imagine that the US leaves Afghanistan in disarray, right down to the iconic helicopter takeoff from the Kabul embassy roof (maybe with Karzai hanging on to the rope ladder); even in that scenario, the real loss is loss of face. There is no oil in Afghanistan and no easy way to have a functional modern country in the foreseeable future. Taliban ruled Afghanistan would become a haven for the world's adventure seeking jihadis, but the taliban would not have peace. The Northern alliance has been revitalized and will continue to get Indian and Iranian (and probably Russian and American) support and will hold the North. The rest will be one big mess, Somalia X 10, occasionally bombed and cruise-missiled as the need arises. How many international terrorist plots have been launched from Somalia? probably zero. Without Pakistan, the jihadis have nothing except endless brutal war in the world's poorest country.

The real prize is Pakistan.

My question to you is this: do you think the US has finally flipped the Pakistani army or can the Pakistani army go back to training and arming jihadis?

If they dont go back to being jihad central, isnt the job in that region pretty much done? (And I will admit I am trying to start a conversation and learn, these are not necessarily my final views). The Pakistani army could be fighting the jihadis for decades, but as long as they hold the major cities and control the ports and airports, how is that any worse than what is happening now?

It will probably be very bad for the Afghans if the US leaves soon, but is it really that bad for the US?

08-19-2009, 09:23 PM

My question to you is this: do you think the US has finally flipped the Pakistani army or can the Pakistani army go back to training and arming jihadis?

No, my opinion is that the Pakistani Army has not been flipped by the USA, who have tried repeatedly to achieve a change in policy and implementation. There are other threads that indicate a number of internal factors led to the Pakistani Army to fight the internal Taliban i.e. Swat Valley and less dramatically in the FATA. Take a peek at these recent threads: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=5023 and http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=7222

For a variety of reasons parts of the Army and ISI may still pursue supporting militant factions. Hopefully this desire and perceived national interests at stake will change.

Remember Pakistan has had hundred of soldiers, let alone civilians killed by militants and Jihadis - before 2009.


George L. Singleton
08-19-2009, 11:44 PM
Having served long ago in Pakistan (then West Pakistan) with side trips to the old US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, mixing in events since 911 I do not favor walking away from Afghanistan when a new plan and policy for there takes one to two years to complete forming and testing.

Premature and very questionable judgement to even suggest such, implying a pro-Taliban and al Qaida bias on the part of the writer of this question in my mind.

08-20-2009, 02:40 PM
I am the farthest thing from an alqaeda or taliban sympathizer, so lets not jump to conclusions here!
I will say that from several years experience on other email groups, I do expect massive misunderstanding in the first few exchanges. We all use heuristics that are generally useful but may be totally wrong in particular cases. Patience is the only real solution since no single email can present all the assumptions that underlie a particular position. Things will get clearer with time.
In any case, as I said upfront, the main purpose was to start a discussion and try to get a clearer sense of what people think the US is doing in afghanistan and what may or may not be its essential interests in that region. If the conversation continues, we will get there.....

Rex Brynen
08-20-2009, 03:11 PM
Premature and very questionable judgement to even suggest such, implying a pro-Taliban and al Qaida bias on the part of the writer of this question in my mind.

Far from being a biased question, its actually a very good one, identifying the policy alternative that rarely gets properly aired (even, I might add, in Ex's excellent week-long AfPak blogfest at Abu Muqawama (http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/08/afghanistan-strategy-dialogue-my-thoughts.html)): can the threat of a resurgent Taliban and al-Qa'ida be contained in other ways than thousands of US and NATO boots on the ground?

Omarali50 identifies one way this might be done: pulling back, supporting local proxies, and throwing some occasional drones/cruise missiles/airpower/SF/covert operations into the fray of what would likely become a full-scale civil war. It is a horrible thing to condemn the Afghan people to, and might generate massive refugee flows anew (that alone possibly destabilizing for Pakistan). However, it is a strategy which kind-of-works in Somalia: the place is a tragic, bloody, and sad morass, but it hasn't proven to be a place from which AQ has been able to build a particularly productive or effective sanctuary in recent years (despite past efforts to do so (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/aq/aqII.asp))

I don't favour the approach myself. It is odd, however, that it receives so little airing in polite company (although I imagine things are a little different in less polite company, or even at "The Company").

Interestingly, the specter of this sort of Plan B is one way to nudge the Pakistanis into more robust action against the Taliban, since they certainly don't want to see Washington to switch to Somalia-like containment on their doorstep.

08-20-2009, 08:21 PM
I don't favour the approach myself. It is odd, however, that it receives so little airing in polite company (although I imagine things are a little different in less polite company, or even at "The Company").

Interestingly, the specter of this sort of Plan B is one way to nudge the Pakistanis into more robust action against the Taliban, since they certainly don't want to see Washington to switch to Somalia-like containment on their doorstep.

I guess its time for me to add that I dont favor it myself either. Mostly because it would be hell for the Afghans and probably for ordinary Pakistanis and Indians (I am guessing a Pakistani military deprived of its American subsidy would turn around and reactivate the jihadi option against India). But I think its good to know what the options are to get a clearer picture of what we should or should not do. In actual fact, I am modestly optimistic that the US WILL succeed in some recognizable shape or form.

George L. Singleton
08-20-2009, 09:55 PM
I guess its time for me to add that I dont favor it myself either. Mostly because it would be hell for the Afghans and probably for ordinary Pakistanis and Indians (I am guessing a Pakistani military deprived of its American subsidy would turn around and reactivate the jihadi option against India). But I think its good to know what the options are to get a clearer picture of what we should or should not do. In actual fact, I am modestly optimistic that the US WILL succeed in some recognizable shape or form.

We certainly hope so!

10-13-2009, 07:21 PM
I was just sent this article (
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/917tltdv.asp) and I think it gets the background right and correctly points out that the biggest reason for staying and winning in Afghanistan is Pakistan. Such a victory would force a complete overhaul of "national security thinking" in Pakistan, while US defeat in Afghanistan would confirm to the generals that their assessment was correct and having beaten their second superpower, they can go back to plan A (you would be surprised at the speed with which the supposed "revenge to the tenth generation" business evaporates and corps commanders are again hugging taliban commanders on TV).
Some of the other suggestions are weak tea. They are also (in my opinion) misdirected. The US (or any superpower) with interests in the region is not going to win hearts and minds by doing good deeds and paying journalists to highlight them. They should still DO good deeds, but the expectation that you can spend X dollars on some hospitals and "everyone" will love you in return is not correct. They will love you in return IF their perceived national interest is aligned with yours OR if they have NO "strategic issues" to do with you. Thus, its easy for, say, Cuba to buy goodwill. Its operating on neutral ground and 8 doctors and a mobile hospital earned it tons of goodwill in 2005. But India cannot earn similar goodwill with 800 doctors. ..and so on.


10-29-2009, 11:16 PM
I'd like to know what everyone thinks about Sec Clinton's remarks (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/30/world/asia/30clinton.html) in Pakistan. Personally, I think it is a good thing. She is being direct about the (or lack of) responsibility and accountability of the Pakistanis to secure areas of their nation-state and hunt down al Qaeda.

Highlights include:

“I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are, and couldn’t get to them if they really wanted to,” she said to a group of Pakistani journalists on her second day here. “Maybe that’s the case; maybe they’re not gettable. I don’t know.”

“Slowly, but insidiously, you were losing territory,” Mrs. Clinton said. “If you want to see your territory shrink, that’s your choice. But I don’t think that’s the right choice.”

“I am more than willing to hear every complaint about the United States.” But she said the relationship had to be a “two-way street.”



10-29-2009, 11:40 PM
Pretty good article Mike thanks for posting. She did the best she could I suspect, she had a lot guts to keep to her schedule no matter what was happening and I like guts.:wry:

10-29-2009, 11:40 PM
Mike F refers to Mrs Clinton's remarks
She is being direct about the (or lack of) responsibility and accountability of the Pakistanis to secure areas of their nation-state and hunt down al Qaeda.

First big mistake is the wording; it should have read: She is being direct about the lack of Pakistani military and state responsibility and accountability to all Pakistani. To secure areas of their nation-state and hunt down our common enemies (al Qaeda, Pakistani Taleban and 'foriegn militants).

Was this really the advice of the State Dept. to make such remarks in Pakistan? Given the common public view that the USA is the enemy, her remarks are rude, even critics of the Pakistani state and military will be bewildered - and silent.

Then add: We share a common enemy and that is why we offer our help. Not for hi-tech weapons, simple things for the police and others in the fight.Our help is for non-military change too.


10-30-2009, 07:08 AM

I disagree. When I receive my monthly bills in the mail, I don't consider that it is rude for the bank to demand in such an informal tone that I pay the required amount.

We've given billions to Pakistan (avg $50 Billion/yr I think) since 9/11. They squandered most of it on building a conventional army to defend against Pakistan. This is not an equal partnership. Regardless of how xenophobic or anti-American some of the Paks may be, they still absorb our money. That's not an equal partnership.



10-30-2009, 01:52 PM
$50 billion a year? Not that much ... more like $11 billion total from 9/11 to 2008, I think.


The vast majority of it is to the military. Most Pakistanis, of course, never see any American aid.

The Kerry-Lugar bill, which sought to rebalance some of this, caused the Pakistani military to throw a massive bitch fit (http://blog.taragana.com/n/kerry-lugar-bill-a-triumph-for-india-shujaat-hussain-190360/), supposedly because this impinged on Pakistani national sovereignty.

It's emotionally satisfying for me to hear Sec. Clinton give the Pakistanis a little bit of honesty given the military's duplicity, but I'm a bit afraid that this will only feed the Pakistani political sphere's basic anti-Americanism.

10-30-2009, 04:00 PM
$50 billion a year? Not that much ... more like $11 billion total from 9/11 to 2008, I think.


The vast majority of it is to the military. Most Pakistanis, of course, never see any American aid.

Are Tequilla's numbers correct? If so, we're spending pennies in Pakistan compared to Iraq or Afghanistan. That's strange. Moreover, that report cited that only 2% of the funds went to education or development.


10-30-2009, 04:16 PM
Additional figures from the Congressional Research Service via FAS:


From 2002 - 2008, this adds up to 12.087 billion.

The FY 2009 request is for 3.352 billion.

10-30-2009, 04:20 PM
Additional figures from the Congressional Research Service via FAS:


From 2002 - 2008, this adds up to 12.087 billion.

The FY 2009 request is for 3.352 billion.

I gotta rethink my comments now. I guess that I had some assumptions wrong :confused:. For an area that we consider the center of gravity or main effort, we are not pushing a lot of effort there.


10-30-2009, 04:25 PM
Well, you gotta figure the vast majority of money we spend in Afghanistan is spent on combat operations and our own forces. Plus we don't have to build a state or an army or a police force from nothing in Pakistan, only assist what's already been there for decades. Yes, none of those institutions are in spectacular shape, but they're decades ahead of what's in Afghanistan.

10-30-2009, 05:26 PM
Here's an interview where she explains her actions (http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/30/clinton.pakistan/).

I did this on a very micro-level (just one village). I'd acknowledge the US failures during the initial years of the Iraq war, but I would follow it up quickly that our missteps did not give the villagers the right to:

- Behead/murder/displace their neighbors.
- Steal from each other.
- Blow up their roads.
- Refuse to vote and then complain that they were not represented in the government.

It was a different tactic, but it worked.

Here's what the Sec had to say:

She referred to the experience of former President Bill Clinton. "I watched in the '90s as my husband just kept pushing and pushing and pushing, and good things happened. There wasn't a final agreement, but fewer people died, there were more opportunities for economic development, for trade, for exchanges. It had positive effects, even though it didn't cross the finish line. So I think that being involved at the highest levels sends a message of our seriousness of purpose."

Clinton said it's time to "clear the air" with a key U.S. ally. She added, "I don't think the way you deal with negative feelings is to pretend they're not there."

"I think it's important, if we are going to have the kind of cooperative partnership, that I think is in the best interest of both of our countries, for me to express some of the questions that are on the minds of the American people,"

"No, no," she said. "What I was responding to is what I have been really doing on this trip, which is there exists a trust deficit, certainly on the part of Pakistanis toward the United States, toward our intentions and our actions. And yet we have so much in common, we face a common threat. We certainly have a common enemy in extremism and terrorism, and so part of what I have been doing is answering every single charge, every question."

Trust "is a two-way street," she added. While Pakistan's military operation has been "extremely courageous in both Swat and now in South Waziristan, success there is not sufficient," she said. "... I just want to keep putting on the table that we have some concerns as well. And I think ... that's the kind of relationship I'm looking to build here."

10-30-2009, 05:28 PM
Mike F,

Many of the issues and the dismay you showed earlier have been seen in previous threads on Pakistan.

I simply don't think her words helped, hence my suggested phrasing. It would be interesting to know how direct, robust other envoys have been in private, Richard Holbrooke and Admiral Mullen to name two.

Funding the Pakistani conventional military has hardly helped Pakistani national security, but then such a concept is not embedded in the civilian part of Pakistan. Others elsewhere, including David Kilcullen have advocated switching funds to the national and provincial police.

Just thought, out of all these US$ how much has ended in the ISI budget? I am sure some of the support has been in cash. That would be weird.


10-30-2009, 05:55 PM
DAWN is about as pro-Western a publication as one can find in Pakistan, and a leading voice against militancy.

Here is an article about Secretary Clinton's outreach in Pakistan (http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/03-clinton-faces-pakistani-anger-at-drone-attacks-ss-12).

During an interview broadcast live in Pakistan with several prominent female TV anchors, before a predominantly female audience of several hundred, one member of the audience said the Predator attacks amount to 'executions without trial' for those killed.

Another asked Clinton how she would define terrorism.

'Is it the killing of people in drone attacks?' she asked. That woman then asked if Clinton considers drone attacks and bombings like the one that killed more than 100 civilians in the city of Peshawar earlier this week to both be acts of terrorism.

'No, I do not,' Clinton replied.

Earlier, in a give-and-take with about a dozen residents of the tribal region, one man alluded obliquely to the drone attacks, saying he had heard that in the United States, aircraft are not allowed to take off after 11 pm, to avoid irritating the population.

'That is the sort of peace we want for our people,' he said through an interpreter.

The same man told Clinton that the Obama administration should rely more on wisdom and less on firepower to achieve its aims in Pakistan.

'Your presence in the region is not good for peace,' he said, referring to the US military, 'because it gives rise to frustration and irritation among the people of this region.'

At another point he told Clinton, 'Please forgive me, but I would like to say we've been fighting your war.'

A similar point was made by Sana Bucha of Geo TV during the live broadcast interview.

'It is not our war,' she told Clinton. 'It is your war.' She drew a burst of applause when she added, 'You had one 9/11. We are having daily 9/11s in Pakistan.'

10-30-2009, 06:14 PM
The NYT has a comment:
It is extremely rare for an official of Mrs. Clinton’s rank to say publicly what American politicians and intelligence officials have said in more guarded ways for years. The remarks upset her hosts, who have seen hundreds of soldiers and civilians killed as Pakistan has taken on a widening campaign against militant groups that have threatened the country from its tribal areas. But her skeptical comments also gave voice to the longtime frustration of American officials with what they see as the Pakistani government’s lack of resolve in rooting out not only Al Qaeda, but also the Taliban leadership based in Quetta, and a host of militant groups that use the border region to stage attacks on American and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

From: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/30/world/asia/30clinton.html?ref=world

There's also the NYT editorial: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/30/opinion/30fri2.html?adxnnl=1&ref=opinion&adxnnlx=1256893720-QYUvgv47jP2r9LoM3GUMBg


11-19-2009, 02:15 PM
NBR, 13 Nov 09 Pakistani Partnerships with the United States: An Assessment (http://www.humansecuritygateway.com/documents/NBR_PakistanPartnerships_UnitedStates_Assessment.p df)

This essay assesses the relationships between the U.S. and different elements within Pakistan's political and military leadership in the context of ongoing regional counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts....

11-19-2009, 09:39 PM

Good catch, with some good points: on making US civil aid more visible; aid to the police (qualified by their corruption); better info ops (pointing at the success of the BBC World Service) and the standard better COIN kit and training for the army.

Nothing exceptional, except the description of Pakistan's political parties and their stance on shared issues - that is excellent.

01-20-2010, 10:52 PM
From a new analysis on Pakistan, from a Reuters summary:
Pakistani society is likely to become more Islamist and increasingly anti-American in the coming years, complicating U.S. efforts to win its support against militant groups, a report released on Tuesday said.

The report, which looks at Pakistan over a one-to-three year time horizon, rules out the possibility of a Taliban takeover or of it becoming the world's first nuclear-armed failed state.

"Rather than an Islamist takeover, you should look at a subtle power shift from a secular pro-Western society to an Islamist anti-American one," said Jonathan Paris, who produced the report for the Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank.

Paris forecasts that Pakistan is most likely to "muddle through," with its army continuing to play a powerful role behind the scenes in setting foreign and security policy.

The actual report summary says:
Pakistan today faces five main challenges:

1. Threat of fragmentation and the loss of state control over various territories that undermine the integrity, sovereignty and solidarity of the country;
2. Security and terrorism throughout the country;
3. Economy;
4. Governance issues including corruption; and
5. Rebuilding the Pakistan Brand.

The Pakistani state has shown itself to be both the source and recipient of instability, but it has also been remarkably resilient. This Report analyses the prospects for Pakistan over a one to three year time horizon. It looks at economic, political, security, and bilateral issues. There are three possible scenarios for Pakistan over this relatively short time horizon; Pakistan probably will avoid becoming a “failed state” and is unlikely to find a “pathway to success” but, as Pakistan confronts a myriad of vexing challenges, the most likely scenario is that it will “muddle through”.

Link to report (as yet un-read):http://www.legatum.com/newsdisplay.aspx?id=2926

01-20-2010, 11:05 PM
In a recent book launch for 'Pakistan; eye of the storm' (3rd edition) in London, Owen Bennett Jones, a former BBC World Service correspondent in Pakistan, commented that - in summary:
The US$20 billion in aid had very little appreciation or understanding amongst Pakistanis. Public opinion which supported the military action in the Swat Valley could just as rapidly rebound and the military simply thought for fifty years the FATA was uncontrollable. Public support for the military campaign would last three to four years. Finally he'd never met a Pakistani Army officer who was not convinced the Afghan Taliban would win.

As regards who is in control of ISI, he replied - in summary:
that it was under military control, citing the reversal inside a day of placing them under Interior Ministry control. Secondly the ISI-administered Kashmir policy of helping nationalist groups attack Indian forces was government policy and clearly had been "turned off & on" when required.

01-21-2010, 12:13 PM
Moderators Note

Clearly this thread is closely related to threads on Afghanistan and the spillover effect. See recent post on one thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=7128&page=32

01-21-2010, 09:57 PM
This is a hypothetical question. Purely hypothetical (because I am afraid of what disaster may lie in store for the poor people of the region if this line of thought advances and unexpected reactions and responses run amuck).
I have always wondered what would happen if the US were to turn around, and instead of trying to cajole Pakistan's unhappy army into doing them massive favors, tell them to take care of things as they see fit and wash their hands of the matter? Reserving, of course, the right to bomb or rocket any characters who may be shooting at US troops and taking refuge in Pakistan? how would that unhappy situation differ from the current one?

As an accompaniment to this koan, I will proffer Wittgenstein's quip: Walking through Oxford or something, W asked a colleague why human beings had spend so many thousand years believing the sun went around the earth? his companion said: "because it looks that way". To which W replied "how would it look if the earth went around the sun while spinning on its axis??".
Sometimes it may be useful to rethink our model. In the case of astronomers, what a difference it made in the next few hundred years....

01-23-2010, 12:24 AM
The Indian role in the region and in Afghanistan has appeared before on SWC, with para-military troops being deployed to guard road construction (in 2007): http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=3166 and the feuding IIRC between Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies.

Clearly Pakistani national strategy is predicated on the No.1 threat being India and another thread looks at the changing US policy towards Pakistan

These new items deserve their own thread which I found today, via a Kashmiri website:

a) Britain and US consider asking India to train Afghan National Police, in The Times:
Now, however, India appears to want to play a more active role in Afghanistan largely because it fears that Pakistan will engineer a Taleban takeover when foreign troops leave.


b)India’s Military Intelligence Chief conducts covert visit to Afghanistan

—General Loomba held furtive, yet detailed meetings with Afghan, US and NATO officials
—Delhi plans Afghan military takeover after US/ ISAF pullout
—Indian Military spy master’s stealth Afghan trip conducted ahead of top US defence officials’ India visit
—Holbrook kept Pakistanis busy in futile talks as per Pentagon, Langley plan
—Indian MI boss visited covert Indian troopers’ positions in Afghanistan, met Indian Army instructors of ANA
—Indian government, army resort to cohesive hostile approach towards Pakistan after Loomba’s Afghan trip
—Analysts smell some secret US development in Afghanistan through Indian army

From a Pakistani newspaper :http://dailymailnews.com/0110/18/FrontPage/FrontPage1.htm

Not sure what is going on here, 'The Great Game' is appropriate. Just before a London conference on Afghanistan too (as per SWJ press review).

Pressure on Pakistan to "stay aboard" the "train"? High risk in my view.

01-23-2010, 02:00 AM

I am surprised at how you seem to have been taken in by this website. Whatever India and the US are or are not planning, "the daily mail" is the last place you should look for information! All this tells you is what the bright young psyops people in ISI want to say. You can then spend a few hours trying to figure out why some ISI colonel thought this is a good line to take. But relying on this "news item" to figure out what is really happening would be a disastrous error.
Again, I am not saying A is not conspiring with B. How would I know what is goin on. But I can most definitely tell you that this website and the whole stable of "paknationalists", "pakalert", PKKH etc is one big joke. The newspapers turn out to be fictitious. The foreign sounding reporters are non-existent in real life. And the funniest thing is their fondness for giving female names to their "reporters"....you can insert your favorite psychoanalytical bull#### at this point, wondering why the
"paknationalists" are so fond of female pseudonyms...

01-23-2010, 01:49 PM

I am fully aware that ISI has a "hand" in Pakistani new management, but 'The Times of London' too? Unlikely and SWC readers will make their own conclusions aided by both our contributions.

I am aware that India aided the Northern Alliance before 9/11, a relationship that I suspect may linger on. What is interesting is an official Indian role within the ANSF, in this story with ANP training.

As for the 'Christine Palmer' the Pakistani Daily Mail, they did announce this:
The management of The Daily Mail would hereby like to apprise its valued readers that Christina Palmer is a pen name of a very senior Non-Indian journalist. The Daily Mail not like to reveal the real name or actual nationality of Ms. Palmer due to security and immigration threats that she can may face on the hands of Indian Intelligence agencies and other official organizations.

A quick search found some of 'her' reports are strange, so the cautionary note is correct.

02-11-2010, 10:23 PM
Kings College ICSR has an intriguing comment by Stephen Tankel on:http://icsr.info/blog/Lets-Make-a-Deal#comments

Pakistan offered to mediate with Taliban factions who use its territory and have long served as its allies..(later in the article)...if the U.S. does pull back from an Afghanistan where Pakistan has greater influence without rolling up al-Qaeda elements in the tribal areas then it is going to be much more difficult to keep the pressure on..

He comments on a NYT piece I'd missed:

02-12-2010, 06:59 PM
Something is going on and obviously we (the general public) have not been told exactly what is going on, so everyone is speculating. My own thoughts are:
1. The US wants to get out of Afghanistan reasonably quicky, but not without establishing a government that can hold the country, that is not dominated by any one regional power, and that will not openly host terrorists in its midst. Pakistan is offering to help arrange an honorable exit and (at least some people in) the US is/are interested.
2. This has set off a definite frenzy of self-congratulatory back slapping amongst the "paknationalist" crowd about how the ISI was right all along, the Americans are going to leave and we hold the cards, aka Taliban and Haqqani sahib and whatnot.
3. The Pakistani army is prone to delusions (maybe all armies are, but in many states their brilliance is restrained by civilians with other priorities) and it will be no surprise if many of them put out propaganda in the morning and then rejoice in the evening when they see the "good news" on their TV sets.
4. But the hard reality is that there is no going back to the good old days of "strategic depth" in Afghanistan. No way, no how. It doesnt matter if some distant American can even be tricked into giving the whole jihadi apparatus back to the ISI to play with....it STILL wont work.
I suspect that the people at the top know this, but everyone else (the officers you are meeting who are one hundred percent sure the taliban will win) has no idea what a contradictory set of positions they are trying to reconcile. On the one hand, the army (and the civilian political establishment) are in no position to become jihadi outcasts from what Chomsky calls "Int com" (the "international community"). In their more deluded moments (very common after 8 pm in any army mess in Pakistan) I have had officers tell me that China and Saudi Arabia will pay our way no matter what because we will keep India in check (China pays for that) and Saudi Arabia pays for needling Iran and sharing the bomb.
Thats total dangerous delusion. First of all, even China (where some PLA types, "strategic thinkers" no doubt, may have such illusions) is not in a position to bankroll Pakistan (and doesnt necessarily want to use them as their pet attack dog against India) and neither is Saudi Arabia. Secondly, the country is on the verge of social and economic chaos as it is, no amount of Chinese or Saudi help will put humpty together again if Uncle Sam is not in a good mood. So, the good old days of arming and training a jihadi army (and then losing track of who you trained) are not coming back and the state has to find a way to coexist more normally with everyone around them. And that means no more hardcore taliban or jihadis. But if they cannot bring back the hardcore jihadis and taliban, then what can they offer? "reconcilable taliban" have less loyalty to Pakistan than Karzai does. Its all an illusion. I dont see them getting anything beyond what was always on offer, a chance to work WITH intcom on THEIR side and against the jihadis. I think the high command knows this by now and that is exactly what they will end up doing. In the end, they will be fighting their dearest Mullah Nazir and Haqqani and Gul Bahadur as well as the current "bad taliban". The army may wish to play both sides, but the jihadis will not oblige.
The problem is that a lot of them (Pakistani army officers) have no "vocabulary" for such an existence (as an anti-jihadi army). The ideological background is all jihadi all the time. Monumental feats of hypocrisy and "compartmentalization" are needed to prevent A from mixing with B and blowing up. THAT is going to to be their problem for the foreseeable future, not how to manipulate a "friendly" regime in Kabul.
5. No one is getting out anytime soon. Underneath all the calculations and manouvering, there is a real clash. Between the irreconcilable jihadis and an international community which cannot afford to live with them running countries, and certainly not with them running nuclear armed countries. It doesnt even matter if the US leaves Afghanistan before the war is settled. There will still be a war. The diference is in how it ends...with existing countries or new arrangements? The first is much much more likely, the second is the worst case scenario and involves very vicious fighting for a long time. Either way, no one is going back to the late nineties. One way or the other (one way being less painful than the other), Pakistan is going to be allied with the US, fighting against irreconcilable jihadis and benefiting from "normal" relations with Afghanistan IF Pakistan can keep the peace on OUR side of the border. Neither India, nor Pakistan will own Afghanistan, and either would be foolish to try.
Who knows, maybe this "competition" is another way the evil imperialists make fools of both countries and get them to buy more weapons and "do more" to help out the elders of Zion? Just kidding. Just kidding.
or at least, that's what it seems to my amateur view....

03-08-2010, 10:00 PM
An unusual headline until one reads on and recalls history. Hat tip to Watandost for highlighting this Charlie Rose interview in a Pakistani newspaper:http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27658

I wouldn’t allow you to put words in my mouth,” General David Petraeus, Commander of the US Central Command told Charlie Rose of the PBS in an interview when he asked: “So the bottom line is you are satisfied with the Pakistani effort and the Pakistani cooperation and the Pakistani effort to wipe out the Taliban in Pakistan?

05-14-2010, 07:18 PM
RAND, 13 May 10: Pakistan: Can the United States Secure an Insecure State? (http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2010/RAND_MG910.pdf)

....The broad expanse of U.S.-Pakistan engagement shows that both countries hold a fundamentally different hierarchy of goals that each seeks to secure through engagement. Until very recently, Washington has not tried to persuade Islamabad to reorder its goals or at least to be more engaged in helping Washington achieve its goals in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the wider region in exchange for U.S. financial assistance. Yet, until U.S. and Pakistani goals are brought into greater alignment and unless meaningful progress is made in securing critical U.S. interests, Washington may grow increasingly disinclined to lavish Islamabad with financial inducements and may even conclude that Pakistan is an unsuitable partner for some or all forms of U.S. allurements.....

05-14-2010, 10:39 PM
A thoughtful opinion article by Professor Paul Rogers, who IMHO has an ability to look at the difficult issues and succinctly write.

Opening paragraph:
The new pattern of United States military attacks in the AfPak borderlands is fuelling ever-greater hostility on the ground. The arrest of a presumed Taliban militant in New York is one of its symptoms. The long war is recharging itself.

Ends with:
The consequence may not always be incidents such as the Times Square bomb. But the conditions that sparked this attack will have a steadily accumulating effect. This will confirm the unwinnable nature of the war, but also do something deeper: reinforce even further the fundamental difference in outlook and understanding between Washington and Waziristan.


Not an easy ending.

SWJ Blog
06-14-2010, 01:30 AM
ISI "Directly" Funding Taliban? (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2010/06/isi-funding-taliban/)

Entry Excerpt:

Pakistan’s ISI Military Intelligence Accused of Directly Funding Taleban (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article7149515.ece) - Jeremy Page, The Times.

Pakistan’s military intelligence agency directly funds and trains the Afghan Taleban and is officially represented on its leadership council, according to a report by a British academic. The study, published by the London School of Economics, also alleges that Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani President, met Taleban leaders imprisoned in Pakistan and promised them early release and future support.
Pakistan dismissed the report by Matt Waldman, a Harvard fellow who interviewed current and former members of the Taleban, as “baseless” and “naive”. A spokesman for the Pakistani Army said that the state’s commitment to opposing the Taleban was demonstrated by the number of soldiers killed fighting on the Afghan border. Western officials and analysts have often accused elements within Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of supporting the Afghan Taleban, even as its army combats the Pakistani Taleban on the northwestern frontier.
However, Mr Waldman’s report goes further, arguing that support for the Afghan Taleban is “official ISI policy” and is backed at the highest levels of Pakistan’s civilian administration. “Pakistan appears to be playing a double game of astonishing magnitude,” the report says. “There is thus a strong case that the ISI orchestrates, sustains and shapes the overall insurgent campaign,” it said. “Without a change in Pakistani behaviour it will be difficult if not impossible for international forces and the Afghan Government to make progress against the insurgency.” ... More at The Times (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article7149515.ece).

Link to report: http://www.crisisstates.com/download/dp/DP%2018.pdf

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2010/06/isi-funding-taliban/) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

06-14-2010, 04:18 PM
ISI "Directly" Funding Taliban? (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2010/06/isi-funding-taliban/)
CSRC, 11 June 2010: The Sun in the Sky: The Relationship Between Pakistan’s ISI and Afghan Insurgents (http://www.crisisstates.com/download/dp/DP%2018.pdf)

Many accounts of the Afghan conflict misapprehend the nature of the relationship between Pakistan’s security services and the insurgency. The relationship, in fact, goes far beyond contact and coexistence, with some assistance provided by elements within, or linked to, Pakistan’s intelligence service (ISI) or military.

Although the Taliban has a strong endogenous impetus, according to Taliban commanders the ISI orchestrates, sustains and strongly influences the movement. They say it gives sanctuary to both Taliban and Haqqani groups, and provides huge support in terms of training, funding, munitions, and supplies. In their words, this is ‘as clear as the sun in the sky’.

Directly or indirectly the ISI appears to exert significant influence on the strategic decisionmaking and field operations of the Taliban; and has even greater sway over Haqqani insurgents. According to both Taliban and Haqqani commanders, it controls the most violent insurgent units, some of which appear to be based in Pakistan.

Insurgent commanders confirmed that the ISI are even represented, as participants or observers, on the Taliban supreme leadership council, known as the Quetta Shura, and the Haqqani command council. Indeed, the agency appears to have circumscribed the Taliban’s strategic autonomy, precluding steps towards talks with the Afghan government through recent arrests.....

06-14-2010, 05:08 PM
What I find unbelievable is the notion that this could all happen without the US knowing about it. Obviously the US and its allies know how much contact ISI does or does not have with the taliban. IF this report is true and yet the US and allies are paying Pakistan regularly then they must have some other plan in mind. I mean they cannot just be fooled....

06-15-2010, 10:47 PM
I mean they cannot just be fooled....

Why not? Wouldn't be the first time...

Rex Brynen
06-15-2010, 11:21 PM
Why not? Wouldn't be the first time...

It also wouldn't be the first time a public research report overstated a far more complex and nuanced situation.

06-21-2010, 09:47 PM
A new RAND report, the full title is 'Failed Strategy to Halt Pakistan-Based Militant Groups Has Helped Lead to Rising Number of U.S. Terror Plots' and a short summary on:http://www.rand.org/news/press/2010/06/21/?ref=homepage&key=t_pakistan_military

A second AEI report on the situation in the Punjab 'Could the Taliban Take Over Pakistan's Punjab Province?' Link:http://www.aei.org/outlook/100967

Something to read one day when I have more time.

07-12-2010, 05:36 PM
I always commend Londonistani's postings on Pakistan on AbuM and the latest was:http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2010/07/back-pakistan.html

Today FP's daily briefing has a good short article 'Pakistan's Suspicious Public' which starts with:
Caught between a vicious Islamist insurgency and CIA drone strikes, Pakistanis are growing increasingly disenchanted with the Taliban. But they still hate the United States, too.


Yes, I do acknowledge that traditionally decisions on national security in Pakistan rest with the Army, but as other posts refer public support was required for confronting the "internal enemy".

07-25-2010, 11:09 AM
A thoughtful comment article, which could fit a number of threads, so it is here and on the Londonistani thread too. Hat tip to Abu M and the comment is on Afpak Channel:http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/07/22/engaging_pakistans_moderate_majority

His penultimate paragraph:
For decades internal and external actors have been exploiting religious fervor in Pakistan for political gain. That feeling has morphed, evolved, and developed a life of its own. The future of Pakistan will be decided by the outlook adopted by its people. And as of yet, that outlook is still being formed. Right now, despite the best efforts of extremists, the majority of Pakistanis see the core principles of their faith revolving around peaceful coexistence, social justice and community service. If the public sees Barelvis and Deobandi leaders marching their communities to war, the groups will threaten their own legitimacy. On the other hand, if extremists succeed in redefining what is considered "Islamic" and convincing ordinary Pakistanis that differing views of religion are worth fighting and killing over, the consequences will be devastating for Pakistan, and disastrous for the world.

He adds this on what the West can do:
A few months ago, I read Hilary Synnott's International Institute for Strategic Studies report Transforming Pakistan. I thought at the time that Sir Hilary's suggestion that the international community basically take it on itself to transform Pakistan was unrealistic and an even bigger disaster waiting to happen. However, I'm beginning to think that a major game change is needed and the only question remains who the real domestic partners should be. The best option, and the most willing potential allies, are the general public. The question is how to approach them and how to tool the options avaiable to the international community so that they actually work effectively.

The aboev comment comes from the article and there is a poor discussion on:http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2010/07/making-friends-pakistan.html

07-26-2010, 05:22 AM
It's been no secret that aspects of Pakistan's ISI (their spy agency) have aided the insurgency in Afghanistan. The recent leak of 92,000 classified military documents fuels these allegations even more.

First off, where are the ISI networks receiving their orders? This question is still unanswerable. In my opinion, it seems that these actions are committed by lower level agents. Essentially, I do not thank that Islamabad is secretly encouraging the ISI to aid the insurgency. The effects don't make sense (unstable borders, tense relations with a superpower, minimal economical growth, allying with a poor partner, etc). Yes, if done properly, Pakistan can turn Afghanistan into a puppet. However, it doesn't seem like it's worth it.

That is why I believe that the ISI's actions are coming from the lower levels. The actual structure of the ISI appears to be composed of different networks that are loosely connected with each other (if anybody knows of any papers off hand that describe this, mention them). Many intelligence agencies embrace this kind of structure because it allows them plausible deniability, requires less resources, and can yet be quite effective. However, I think that the ISI is suffering from the negatives from this structure. Lower networks are using their assets to support their interests in Afghanistan. Their interests may be friends in the Taliban, financial gains, religious beliefs, opposition to Indian influence, etc. Different motives are persuading ISI agents to act against ISAF with their government resources. That is my opinion, so I may be wrong. Islamabad may be behind this whole thing...

The next question, how does the US respond to this? Do we continue providing substantial amounts of assistance to Pakistan? Or do we pursue assistance from India to counter their influence? I have yet to take a stance on this question. In my opinion, the current methods the US is pursuing to assist Pakistan are not affecting the whole population. However, if the US pursues more assistance from India, more enemies may be made. Possibly there are other solutions?

08-03-2010, 08:44 AM
Hat tip to Abu M for pointing to this Newsweek article, with
The Afghan Taliban logistics officer laughs about the news he’s been hearing on his radio this past week. The story is that a Web site known as WikiLeaks has obtained and posted thousands of classified field reports from U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and hundreds of those reports mention the Americans’ suspicions that Pakistan is secretly assisting the Taliban—a charge that Pakistan has repeatedly and vehemently denied. “At least we have something in common with America,” the logistics officer says. “The Pakistanis are playing a double game with us, too.”

And ends with:
The Pakistanis, for their part, continue to resist U.S. pressure for strikes against Taliban sanctuaries. “Their aim seems to be to prolong the war in Afghanistan by aiding both the Americans and us,” says the logistics officer. “That way Pakistan continues to receive billions from the U.S., remains a key regional player, and still maintains influence with [the Taliban].” And which side is Pakistan on? “That’s a foolish question,” says Anatol Lieven, a professor in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. “Pakistan is on Pakistan’s side, just as America is on America’s.” Nobody knows that better than the Taliban.

No great surprises, but pulls it all together.

08-05-2010, 02:40 PM
Re the assassination of Sifwat Ghayoor, Commandant FC: my note is at


The problem remains the divided loyalties of the security establishment. And I am not talking about "divided between loyalty to the USA and loyalty to Pakistan". Of course, they should be loyal to Pakistan. I am referring to the division between those who support a pan-islamic anti-Indian agenda (which automatically necessitates saving the "good taliban" and the "good jihadis" for future use and containing or even killing off secular forces) and those liberals/pragmatists/rationalists who understand that the jihadi project may destroy Pakistan before it destroys India and conquers the world.

08-14-2010, 08:32 PM
An irregular, indirect contributor Hamid Hussain has written a historical article for the Pakistan Defence Journal on the 'United States, Pakistan and Reconnaissance during Cold War', which some may enjoy and I quote only the conclusion which is appropriate today:

Fifty years down the line and Pakistan and United States are again engaged in wide ranging defense and intelligence operations in the context of fight against extremism. One lesson that can be learned from the past such endeavourers is that each party should be realistic in its objectives as well as fully comprehend its own as well as other party's limitations. Exaggerated expectations will invariably result in huge disappointments on both sides. Every one understands that some intelligence operations need to be classified, however overall relations between the two countries and general defense relations should be discussed at different forums so that a more practical and somewhat transparent relation focusing on common interests is established. One simple fact which is missing in most discussions is that no policy can be pursued without minimum consensus from the population. Conducting all transactions in dark simply adds more suspicion and confusion and dividends are usually marginal in the long run.

For reasons I do not understand the article is not on the journal's website and was found elsewhere:http://drug-trafficking.blogspot.com/2010/08/united-states-pakistan-and.html

Backwards Observer
08-16-2010, 03:07 AM
I have lived some years among Pakistanis. I cannot claim to have done them much good. Instead, my preoccupations have been those which animate the game of nations. I have served a great power which hunts its enemies, pursues its interests, and tries to meet what it sees as its responsibilities in distant places, far from home. I make no apology for this; neither do I expect great credit.

But one cannot travel among the Pakistanis, as I have been privileged to do, without developing a great admiration for their decency and their dignity.

In SEAsia during the Seventies, most of the Americans we knew spoke in this manner, with a frankness that few other would-be power brokers could be bothered to muster. They also seemed to have an approach that defaulted to viewing people as fellow human beings, whether a snot-nosed local rapscallion or a local towkay; another trait that was unusual, although not non-existent, among the mat sallehs. 'Tis passing strange that with all the slings and arrows hurled at the American Empire that one would likewise feel privileged to have known such folks.

Flood of Misery (AlJazeera) (http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/floodofmisery/2010/08/201081163736786937.html) - - Article by Robert Grenier, CIA Chief of Station, Islamabad, 1999-2002.

08-26-2010, 04:08 AM
My latest note on the current buzz in Pakistan:


08-26-2010, 10:02 PM
My article is now up on outlookindia.com


09-21-2010, 09:54 PM
Hat tip to a Canadian DFA pointer. A report (as yet unread):
Prospects for the Conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In this paper from the Center for International Governance Innovation, Bruce Reidel, a former CIA officer and former advisor to several U.S. Presidents, describes the strategy that President Obama has implemented to combat al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and discusses the al-Qaeda links behind recent terrorist plots.


On a quick read he does not "pull his punches", like the loss of control at the Bagram detention facility.

I think the paper fits well here.

09-22-2010, 07:20 PM
I think the paper fits well here.

The paper is worth reading as look into the mind of an insider. He seems to be trying to paint the President as a great man of vision while at the same time hinting that thing are being done right. He makes no mention of the deadline but he also states "Rather, the end goal is to build stable countries in South and Central Asia. That’s the standard we should use to measure success. " referring to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I often wonder about how the inside the beltway crowd continues to be flim-flammed by the Pak Army/ISI but after reading this paper I am getting an inkling. He says there Pakistan is complex and there is "ambiguity" and that we have to give the Pakistan Army what they need to fight with. To me, that sounds like talking points provided courtesy of the ISI.

I must read the appendix in McChrystal's report about Al-Qaeda and the Taliban running Bagram prison. I can understand us forgetting these lessons in decades between wars but we learned that running and controlling prisons in Iraq, just a little while ago! So now I read we don't control the prison in Bagram while we were learning we must control prisons? This is very discouraging.

09-26-2010, 01:20 PM
Professor Paul Rogers comments on several recent publications and comments on the AfPak scene:http://www.opendemocracy.net/paul-rogers/afghanistan%25E2%2580%2599s-decade-of-war-and-endgame?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_content=201210&utm_campaign=Nightly_'2010-09-26%2005:30:00'

Taken from the concluding passages:
the Afghan war is now effectively lost. This makes inevitable a fundamental rethinking of strategy and tactics...When will it be undertaken? The imminence of the mid-term elections in the United States in November 2010 means that little will happen before then. A strategy review is due in December, though it is unclear how thorough it will be. It is probable in any event that reality finally impinges on politics during the coming Washington winter. If this is indeed the case, then there may well be some radical changes in policy by the next Afghan spring.

10-05-2010, 09:51 PM
An intriguing FP AfPak post 'Pakistan Goes Rogue: What the sole footnote in Bob Woodward's Obama's Wars tells us about Europe's growing fears of a terrorist attack'.

Yes written amidst the posturing over terror alerts and copious briefing. Plus a certain book being published.

How about this for the closing:
So Europe is on alert for terrorist attacks that would likely originate in Pakistan and be controlled from Pakistan -- the two distinguishing features of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Until Woodward's book, observers might have assumed that, in the intervening two years, the United States might have succeeded in pressuring Pakistan to place the ISI under tighter control. We can no longer make that assumption.

Perhaps we should be asking: Why is General Pasha still head of the ISI? He was, after all, appointed a month before the Mumbai attacks that Woodward, in his footnote, linked firmly to the ISI.


Try this sensible article on alerts: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/04/AR2010100403090.html?nav=rss_opinion/columns

Which ends with:
In truth, the only people who can profit from such a warning are the officials who issue it. If something does happen, they are covered: They warned us, they told us in advance, they won't be criticized or forced to resign. And if nothing happens, then we'll all forget about it anyway.

Except that we don't forget about it. Over time, these kinds of enigmatic warnings do al-Qaeda's work for it, scaring people without cause. Without so much as lifting a finger, Osama bin Laden disrupts our sense of security and well-being. At the same time, such warnings put the U.S. government in the position of the boy who cried wolf. The more often general warnings are issued, the less likely we are to heed them. We are perhaps unsettled or unnerved, but we don't know what to do. So we do nothing -- and wish that we'd been told nothing as well.

Makes one ponder the value of alerts.

10-05-2010, 10:58 PM
I think in this case the alert was used as a way to signal that the so-called "mumbai-style attack" threat was real. This probably became necessary because people were starting to think that the US had cooked up this threat posthoc after killing more people than usual in FATA and that the helicopter incursions were unjustified escalation...this was meant to put that escalation in context and make it look justified (rightly or wrongly).
Pakistan has not gone rogue, it has always been rogue, though it is LESS rogue now than it ever was in the last 20 years, so this headline is a bit ironic..
btw, have you seen Musharraf shooting his mouth off and offering juvenile justifications for the policy of arming and training jihadis against India? http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,721110,00.html
Put that stupid interview together with Admiral Fasih Bokhari's article (http://www.allvoices.com/s/event-6784093/aHR0cDovL3Bha3RyaWJ1bmUuY29tL25ld3MvaW5kZXguc2h0bW w/MjMxNjc4) and you can see that the overgrown adolescents who are America's great white hope in Pakistan are in fact far more dangerous and deluded than the ball-scratching, nose-dripping, illiterate and corrupt gangsters in the civilian political parties...but military men being military men, no pentagon general seems to be able to resist the sight of a man in a finely starched uniform, especially if he also likes whisky (the one sure sign of "enlightened moderation", if the diplomatic reports of the last 50 years are any guide)

10-06-2010, 01:25 AM
The Pak Army/ISI won't change. They will allow something like the attempted Times Square attack to happen again. If it succeeds, we know what we will do. They will do something like Mumbai again. I know nothing about Indian military capabilities and politics. So, what do you all think India will do? How will they do it? One thing I would guess they are not inclined to do is listen to us when we urge restraint.

10-06-2010, 04:29 AM
India is in a tough spot on this. They would much prefer that this situation just doesnt come up, since they are not ten thousand miles away, they are right next door. While their economy is bigger, the armed forces are not that much superior to Pakistan (qualitatively, several arms are inferior, especially in the light of American transfer of some advanced weaponry to Pakistan and Pakistan's distorted political system leads to the army being able to hog resources that the Indian army has to beg from civilian politicians). Another Mumbai style attack would be hard to ignore, but their options are limited unless they get significant help from NATO.....
The US is saying the next attack on Europe or the US will be met with a major response, but the jihadi faction in the ISI may actually welcome such an outcome. They think ahead....
I am still hoping that the moron faction will realize that their good life is over if this delicately balanced apple cart is upset. But with the morons, you never know. In any case, they may simply lose control. They have spent years inculcating anti-Americanism into the population. And being not too bright, may start believing their own propaganda. The problem is that the realization that is needed is rather subtle and complex and involves reorienting not just the overt jihadi policy but the very "ideology of Pakistan" that they live by. I suspect there is at least a 33 percent chance this will spiral out of control and end in disaster.
Of course, one still hopes the 44 percent probability that economic necessity and common sense are paramount will prevail and GHQ will realize that the "Bangladesh model" doesnt just mean knocking a few heads in the corrupt political class, but actually involves accepting that a viable future for Pakistan involves making peace with India without any change in borders and giving up the notion of "defeating India", whatever that means.....and that then the army will take decisive action against the jihadis and (even more important) rein in their out-of-control psyops arm...one hopes and prays.

10-06-2010, 06:09 AM
Carl asks:
what do you all think India will do? How will they do it?

Pre-Mumbai Two I'd expect India to increase it's "### for tat" armed diplomacy, notably increasing the oh so covert support for the Baluchi insurgents and the more overt support for the Afghan state. Add to that, support for the Northern Alliance, their original ally pre-9/11 - OK Massoud in the Panshir Valley, not all the warlords.

10-06-2010, 02:24 PM
But David, they are probably doing all that even now. But suppose there is an actual Mumbai-2, with mass casualties. At that point, does Manmohan Singh go on the intertubes and hint that Indian covert operations are being ramped up? I dont think modern politics (or even ancient politics) allows such a response to be the only response (it may be the most sensible response, or not, but that is not the point)...I think Carl was asking about what show they will put up in response, not what covert operations will be speeded up...

10-07-2010, 03:51 AM
I suppose the first question that needs to be asked is, when Mumbai II occurs, will Indian politics require an overt response of some kind? I have no idea which is why I'm asking. My own opinion as an almost completely ignorant outsider is the Indians have shown great restraint so far. Will they continue to do so?

10-07-2010, 05:44 PM
Indian politics will require a response. They will try to see what they can do WITH NATO, in which case they may escape acute embarrassment. Or they may try on their own...in which case its fifty-fifty if they will end up embarrassing themselves more than they embarrass Pakistan. Needless to say, the best option is to avoid this scenario. Unfortunately, with American "analysts" still hunting for "rogue ISI operatives" and GHQ still playing hard to get, things could go wrong at any time....

10-09-2010, 09:41 PM
My note at http://www.facebook.com/notes/omar-ali/india-or-bust/475966498766

10-10-2010, 11:51 AM
Carl asked a few posts back:
what do you all think India will do? How will they do it?

In last few days I have an opportunity to listen to a discussion on Mumbai and the South Asian context, with Indian and Pakistani experts in the lead. I am trying to get them to contribute.

Meantime I posed Carl's question to them and both sides answers were remarkably similar. No, Indian may indulge in rhetoric about bombing the training camps, but is unlikely to anyway, indeed Indian politicians are wary of making any decisions. India currently has no legislation of terrorism, the relatively recent law was repealed - which was cited as evidence of political involvement.

Secondly the remarkable attitude of Indian civil society (remarkable to me) after Mumbai, to refuse to politicise the attacks, even militant groups minimised their impact and two such groups have taken a more secular approach.

Third, India-Pakistani relations are highly civilised. Yes, regional counter-terrorism agreements remain un-ratified (SAARC agreements x2) and the two intelligence agencies (RAW and ISI) have their own approach - once described IIRC as 'dangerous games' by a UK observer.

Hopefully some of the clouds of war lifted.

10-10-2010, 12:31 PM
A superb article from The Independent by Patrick Cockburn, sub-titled
It has suffered disaster after disaster. Its people have lived through crisis upon crisis. Its leaders are unwilling or unable to act. But is it really the failed state that many believe?

And ends with:
The Pakistani state may not function very well but it is not failing, and – a pity – current crises may not even change it very much.


Nothing like some context and analysis.

10-14-2010, 02:49 AM
My alternative vision of the future is now at:


10-20-2010, 09:10 PM
Hat tip to Londonistani on AbuM, for commending a Reuters article based on a Pakistani journalist's article 'Ruses that distract from a CT strategy'.

The original article:http://www.mosharrafzaidi.com/2010/10/13/ruses-that-distract-from-a-ct-strategy/

Which opens with:
One of the important but widely neglected debates that needs unpacking in Pakistan is the one between counterinsurgency, counterterrorism and counter-extremism. This is a uniquely Pakistani challenge, and looking elsewhere for inspiration may be of limited utility.

(Ends with)Nine years and 30,000 deaths later how can the government be taken seriously in the absence of a CT strategy?


Ends with:
Being scared of al Qaeda is silly in most countries where statistically you have more reason to worry about being killed in a road accident. Being scared of al Qaeda in Pakistan is also an insult to a country which is far more resilient than it is given credit for. But being stupid about the risks to Pakistan by thinking that all we need is one over-arching solution is well … just stupid.

AbuM commentary:http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2010/10/while-we-ponder-pakistan.html#comments

A central question I've not seen before:
The epicentre of religious extremism is the institution of the political articulation of faith in Pakistan.

Steve the Planner
10-20-2010, 10:59 PM

Aside from the outside risk of things going very badly anywhere, I was pleasantly surprised and comforted by your outline of a reasonable future for Pakistan, a border country with many of the perennial instability factors also affecting the "deep state" of Iraq.

Somewhere in our "deep press" is the bias toward portraying every national/regional issue as one of nation to nation conflict only resolvable by nation to nation challenges and "official" and decisive solutions---a "past" reality that is increasingly out of touch with so many parts of the world.

I read between the lines of your piece that the "non-deep state," the actual businesses, communities, bureaucracies, etc..., find their way to "muddle through" DESPITE all the deep state whackos and power players pushing the "after me the deluge" mentality. Is that right?

A world of potentially greate conflicts "muddling" its way to solutions brokered at the end of a Chinese massuese's fingertips, licensing and trade agreements grafted together with TATA, and boring trade and connections at the smallest scales.

10-21-2010, 08:38 PM

Thanks. I did want to convey that if the states do less and get out of the way a little, everyday economic necessity and 5000 years of cultural continuity will do the rest....but the states can and do get in the way. As you know, I am especially concerned about the Pakistani deep state because I am from Pakistan and tend to be more aware of them, but there may well be a deep state in India that is equally malignant. Marx was right to dream of the day it withers away....
Some people think there is something about "development" per se which creates these middle class obsessions with nationalism and breast-beating fascism. Maybe. But it seems to me its possible to manage that malignancy provided the security organs of the state don't get hooked on encouraging it and building it up.
btw, has anyone read http://books.google.com/books?id=BljZ7RKZUr8C&printsec=frontcover&dq=somebody+else's+century&source=bl&ots=9oJZnOYE57&sig=Hrr3ZpdtrniNo46zhfVY0hBGxe0&hl=en&ei=W6TATK7eO5_hnQflpMj6CQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
and do you have any comments? I am hoping to write a review in a few days.

Steve the Planner
10-21-2010, 08:44 PM

"Nothing left to save....."

Now your really screwing things up---assuming a solution based on less and less recognition of national governments and nationalistic phobias.

Pretty soon, you will be arguing that the will of the people shall not be subservient to government.

Was that Marxism, or a paraphrase from the Maryland Bill of Rights?


10-24-2010, 08:05 AM
Hat tip to Watandost for locating the following IHT article; the annual 'strategic dialogue' between Pakistan and USA is happening - on what may not happen:
If there were to really be what diplomats call a full and frank exchange, the dialogue might go like this..

Very short and accurate:http://watandost.blogspot.com/2010/10/us-pakistan-strategic-dialogue.html

11-12-2010, 02:59 PM
My comment is at http://accidentalblogger.typepad.com/accidental_blogger/2010/11/karachi-under-attack.html

11-12-2010, 07:37 PM
Hat tip to Watandost for locating the following IHT article; the annual 'strategic dialogue' between Pakistan and USA is happening - on what may not happen:

Very short and accurate:http://watandost.blogspot.com/2010/10/us-pakistan-strategic-dialogue.html


This is a great "dialogue" except that the "Americans" who made the laconic straight to the point statements don't exist anymore. The current Ivy League educated "Americans" who would have participated in the "dialogue" would have made all those convoluted double back through center and out the side arguments for the Pakistanis and then congratulated themselves on their sensitivity.

11-19-2010, 09:14 AM
An article on FP blog by Philip Mudd and excellent IMHO; subtitled:
The United States invaded Afghanistan to defeat al Qaeda. It should stay that way.


Ends with:
For the future, nation-building will remain a mirage in Afghanistan, with nine years of futility as proof. But destroying al Qaeda is a reachable goal, and a far more salient one for the United States. We've now turned these priorities around.

11-19-2010, 04:25 PM
My comment grew into an article:


11-27-2010, 07:49 PM
A different point of view and I suspect few here will agree with this opening phrase:
The politicians and diplomats lead the summits and rule the airwaves. But a close look at the Afghanistan-Pakistan conflict reveals that the United States military take the decisions.

We have noted before:
The same evidence is being read in very different ways..

This however I've not seen in reporting:
The second example is the significant (if barely reported) US tactical innovation of destroying buildings likely to be used by insurgents. This is especially apparent during the American troop advance into large parts of Kandahar province, where retreating Taliban paramilitaries frequently abandon buildings primed with explosives - which US forces then destroy, along with others they think might be used in the future.

The official US figures list 174 buildings destroyed since September 2010, though local sources cite many hundreds - or even thousands. A single report states that “every one of the 40 homes in the village of Khisrow was flattened by a salvo of 25 missiles, according to the district governor, Shah Muhammed Ahmadi, who estimated that 120 to 130 houses had been demolished in his district” (see Taimoor Shah & Rod Nordland, “NATO Is Razing Booby-Trapped Afghan Homes”, New York Times, 16 November 2010). The fact that this is a single district in one of Afghanistan’s largest provinces makes the estimate of thousands of buildings destroyed appear all the more credible.

He ends with this, which i am sure some here will agree with:
Some thoughtful counterinsurgency analysts argue that operations against entrenched opposition require an 80:20 basis for success: 80% political leadership, 20% military action. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the ratios seem reversed. The wider implication is that whatever Barack Obama - or other western leaders - may claim, the military is in charge. This will be a long war.


11-28-2010, 10:23 AM
To me, the most interesting part of the story David cited was that the US is trying to work around the Pakistani military and is being assisted by the Pakistani civil government. If true, and if it lasts, that would be a very very big thing.

12-02-2010, 07:29 AM
A Pakistani Navy officer has taken command of CTF-151, the multi-national flotilla engaged in anti-piracy patrols on the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin:http://www.cusnc.navy.mil/articles/2010/CMF073.html

Pakistan has commanded CTF-150 further east before. the contributors are:
Ships from Australia, Republic of Korea, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, the U.K. and U.S. The command staff included personnel from Bahrain, Canada, Turkey, the U.K. and U.S.

12-13-2010, 09:52 PM
I have asked about the Saudi-Pakistani relationship before, IIRC with a few comments, but there is little depth to any information and so Wikileaks may have helped shine some light on the linkage.

Hat tip to Watandost and their short story:http://watandost.blogspot.com/2010/12/pakistan-and-saudi-arabia-close.html

The most substantial link being to Time magazine's article 'WikiLeaks: The Saudis' Close but Strained Ties with Pakistan', which ends with this:
Whatever their differences, however, the WikiLeaks cables reveal a belief in Washington that Pakistan's road to salvation still winds through Riyadh.


04-04-2011, 04:30 PM
Copied to here 6th April 2011 from 'Terrorist Attacks in Pakistan' thread.

Hat tip to Circling the Lion's Den, a story I've not seen reported elsewhere, despite the prominence of the original attack, in March 2009:
Police in Lahore, Pakistan, have announced that another six members of the gang that attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009 have been arrested following a tip-off.


Note Circling is not persuaded those arrested are TTP, preferring LeT. There's also the reported arrest of a Bali bombs suspects (back in October 2002) in Pakistan and his likely transfer to Indonesia. Well-timed arrests due to the cricket match between India and Pakistan.

Now will we see those arrested appear in court charged?

04-06-2011, 09:58 AM
A BBC report on the PM's visit for talks in Islamabad, sub-titled:
David Cameron has said he wants a "fresh start" in relations with Pakistan as he offered £650m in aid and better security co-operation.

The most substantial aid is for education:
The prime minister...also pledged £650m of additional aid for Pakistan's schools system...to help more children go to primary school. He said the four-year package of support would help an extra four million children go to primary schools, train an extra 90,000 teachers and provide six million text books.


I doubt this aid to schools will be endorsed by the 'man on the Clapham omnibus' as cuts in spending spread here. Given the weakness of the Pakistani school system, as reported by Owen Bennett-Jones (BBC reporter) who never found a teacher present in any state school he visited, implementation will be messy.

What happened to supporting the civil police, as advocated recently?

04-06-2011, 12:48 PM
Pakistan:A great deal of ruin in a nation
Why Islam took a violent and intolerant turn in Pakistan, and where it might lead

Mar 31st 2011 | ISLAMABAD AND LAHORE | from the print edition

“TYPICAL Blackwater operative,” says a senior military officer, gesturing towards a muscular Westerner with a shaven head and tattoos, striding through the lobby of Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel. Pakistanis believe their country is thick with Americans working for private security companies contracted to the Central Intelligence Agency; and indeed, the physique of some of the guests at the Marriott hardly suggests desk-bound jobs.

Pakistan is not a country for those of a nervous disposition. Even the Marriott lacks the comforting familiarity of the standard international hotel, for the place was blown up in 2008 by a lorry loaded with explosives. The main entrance is no longer accessible from the road; guards check under the bonnets of approaching cars, and guests are dropped off at a screening centre a long walk away.

Some 30,000 people have been killed in the past four years in terrorism, sectarianism and army attacks on the terrorists. The number of attacks in Pakistan’s heartland is on the rise, and Pakistani terrorists have gone global in their ambitions. This year there have been unprecedented displays of fundamentalist religious and anti-Western feeling. All this might be expected in Somalia or Yemen, but not in a country of great sophistication which boasts an elite educated at Oxbridge and the Ivy League, which produces brilliant novelists, artists and scientists, and is armed with nuclear weapons.

More at:

A perspective that is relevant to the situation that is prevailing and gripped by almost some sort of a political and social schizophrenia.

04-06-2011, 01:02 PM

I doubt this aid to schools will be endorsed by the 'man on the Clapham omnibus' as cuts in spending spread here. Given the weakness of the Pakistani school system, as reported by Owen Bennett-Jones (BBC reporter) who never found a teacher present in any state school he visited, implementation will be messy.

What happened to supporting the civil police, as advocated recently?

The issue is not money that will assist Pakistan as far as education is concerned.

What is essential is that there has to be less emphasis on religion in the text books as also correct historical untruth aimed at generating a Muslim identity aimed at generating some sort of a patriotism.

Some links on Pakistani Education and curriculum:

Education Reform in Pakistan

The Subtle Subversion
AH Nayyar and Ahmad Salim

04-06-2011, 01:29 PM
Following on Post 114 and the arrest in Pakistan of a Bali bombing suspect in Pakistan.

Today I noted, hat tip to CLS mailing, there is a viewpoint that the suspect should be handed over to the USA, not Indonesia; see NYT story 'The biggest terrorist catch of the Obama era':http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-biggest-terrorist-catch-of-the-obama-era/2011/04/04/AFBkVPcC_story.html

04-06-2011, 03:08 PM
As a Pakistani, I really think this is not a good way to earn ou keep. We are selling nuisance value (or rather, our ability to control nuisance value), but the problem is that we may not have what we are selling…we may not have control. We may not even know what we are trying to control.
Someday, the bubble may burst and we will be left holding nothing. David Cameron is thinking he can buy “deradicalization” (not just in Pakistan, but in the Pakistani-British community) and in the short term, he may be right…but long term, I dont think so. I think money is fungible. What the deep state saves here, it spends on insane schemes elsewhere. Unless something has seriously changed in the heart of GHQ, its not going to end well (or unless the old empire is really as schemingly evil as we were told and they have “a cunning plan”….I am thinking of Black Adder).
I may be wrong. I accept that I dont have inside information and maybe NATO and the American embassy have all sorts of secret ways of making sure things are going the way they want. Maybe they even know what they want. Maybe what they want is even a good idea. But these are a lot of maybes and public information does not seem to support too many of them....Still, one hopes for the best.

04-18-2011, 10:03 PM
Understandably SWC have tired of this issue, partly I expect from a good amount of frustration over the perceived and actual sanctuary afforded to those who attack those in Afghanistan. Secondly, the diplomatic and other "dancing" around the issues.

Hat tip to FP Blog and 'Khyber Impasse' and sub-titled How long can the United States and Pakistan keep pretending that they actually have any interests in common?

No surprises, but a good current summary:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/15/khyber_impasse

I liked these passages:

..in the past Pakistan's national security elite have been willing to ignore public sentiment in order to allow the United States to conduct operations that are also in the Pakistani interest. This is the crux of the new dilemma: The fundamental incompatibility of Pakistani and American national security interests can no longer be avoided. And it can't be cured; it can't even be admitted.

Ends with:
..Obama would be wise to bring the war in Afghanistan to a quicker end than he now plans, to expect less and demand less of Pakistan, and to turn his attentions toward the kind of problems the United States can actually do something about, at home and abroad.

Not sure how the later would go down inside the US government.

04-18-2011, 10:17 PM
Cross posting from another thread, since it seems more relevant here:
the following article


may be a way to get to the pathology underlying the current "strategic" direction of Pakistan. Pakistan's military rulers are obsessed with an outdated and self-destructive vision of "national interest". And they learned this focus from their mentors in Western militaries and strategic schools. The diffference is that in Western countries (and in China, for that matter) other parts of the state take care of other concerns (like trade policy) and even supervise the generals (to some extent)...and basic notions of modern social and economic development are taken for granted, even by most generals. What the visiting generals don't fully grasp is that this is NOT the case in Pakistan (and possibly in some other countries). OUR generals are NOT under adult supervision and don't even know what they dont know...
when they show up to have 3 cups of tea with Kiyani, they dont ask him why his institution spends so much time and effort making sure things dont get too cozy with India (or if they ask him, they are happy to accept the strategic bull#### he offers in return, that bull#### being familiar to them from their own staff college days). Unless they do so, there will be no change in the strategic disconnect between the US and Pakistan. That strategic disconnect is not about Taliban or LET, its about the fact that Pakistani generals still see India and Pakistan as a zero-sum game between one warrior-state and another, and American Generals have no idea how deeply that notion poisons all their actions...

04-21-2011, 01:27 AM


Dr Taqi (the first article) thinks the Pakistani deep state is not just play-acting for domestic consumption, they really do want to push their dangerous (dangerous for the people of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan) strategic "vision" ahead, and are willing to play hardball with the US. The second item suggests that such brinkmanship may no longer be welcome, even with the usually ISI-friendly Admiral Mullen. Does than mean a clash is coming? and if so, what shape can it take?
My own guess is that just like the budget deal, this will be "solved" at 5 minutes to midnight by more of the same...until next time.

04-21-2011, 02:11 AM
Understandably SWC have tired of this issue, partly I expect from a good amount of frustration over the perceived and actual sanctuary afforded to those who attack those in Afghanistan. Secondly, the diplomatic and other "dancing" around the issues.

Perceptive as always David. Mr. Traub said "For the U.S. side, the stakes are only getting higher because Pakistan's repeated intransigence has given the Afghan Taliban a sanctuary that virtually ensures the failure of the current massive counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan."

If that doesn't change, what's the use?

04-22-2011, 12:13 PM
At he same time as a reported drone strike in North Waziristan (multiple sources and only this:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13167425

Elsewhere Reuters reports:
The United States will provide Pakistan with 85 small "Raven" drone aircraft, a U.S. military official told Reuters, a key step to addressing Islamabad's calls for access to U.S. drone technology.

Note the Raven:
can deliver real-time colour or infrared imagery, giving troops on the ground an edge on the battlefield.


Will that be enough for Pakistan?

04-23-2011, 04:45 PM
Hat tip to FP and an excellent article by Anatol Lieven:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/22/hard_power?page=0,0

Interestingly and contrary much expected opinion he opens with:
Given this explosive situation, is it really possible for the United States and Pakistan to go on working together against terrorism?

The answer is complicated, but basically it is yes.

Here is one potential agreement, painful to quite a few I'd say:
In fact, the United States should accept and even welcome continued Pakistani military links to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the terrorist group alleged to be behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, while holding to the absolute condition that the Pakistani military uses these connections successfully to prevent further LeT attacks on India and, above all, the United States.

Near the end:
Nonetheless, American policymakers need to remain focused on the most important U.S. goal -- and the official reason that the United States is fighting in Afghanistan -- which is to prevent terrorism in the West.

Now I'd add so other nations and parties to having policy goals. I am not convinced they would all share this goal.


04-23-2011, 05:46 PM
Anatol Lieven assumes that while Pakistan keeps LET on a tight leash, some magical effects of US aid will modify their future plans in a more permanent fashion. I think that is not what most people in Pakistan think. Everyone I know expects that the US will pay for a few years until it can extricate itself from Afghanistan, and will then move on. At which point the carefully preserved Jihadi architecture will be brushed off and put to use. Why else would we want to keep it around?
I also think that GHQ is correct in its calculation as far as America is concerned. The US will leave and a regional war will restart. I have little expectation that the US can do anything else or even wants to. That regional war will primarily affect India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in its first iteration and all three richly deserve what is coming their way...Distant powers may even make some money till the combatants run out of money. from a coldly cynical point of view, what could be better than having every jihadi in the afpak region fighting India and Iran and local infidels?

04-23-2011, 05:47 PM
My apologies for being sarcastic, but its not a good time to be too optimistic.

04-23-2011, 06:22 PM
Somehow the Pak Army/ISI is supposed to make a good faith effort to keep an organization that exists to kill Indians and westerners from killing Indians and westerners. That organization, LeT, (omar correct me if i got this wrong) was in part created by the Pak Army/ISI. What are they going to have them do, open up a line of paintball emporiums to use their skills productively?

The only part of Mr. Lieven's article that is sensible is the last sentence:

"If Pakistan fails to do so, however, then all bets are off. "

04-25-2011, 03:07 AM
Of course it was created by the army. I dont think even Leiven would seriously dispute that.
The whole notion that somehow Pakistan in the 1990s was awash with free lance heroes who would suddenly get up one day and create large armed organizations and start training in well organized training camps without the army knowing, helping or basically creating the whole setup, is something no one except maybe Brian Cloughley, can believe. SInce 2001, sure, the army has indeed lost control of some people. But the project of training half a million armed men and deploying them as needed was an army project. period.
Pakistani leftists would say that the project of protecting those deemed essential to future plans is also an army project. The leftists may be absolutely correct about that. But in the interest of fairness, I would say that there is a non-zero possibility that SOME people at high levels do want to gradually get rid of these organizations, but dont seem to be able to do it and in fact, dont give a very convincing picture of even trying or THINKING about trying to do so.
That is about the MOST charitable you can be and to be this charitable you have to believe a few other things before breakfast, so its not exactly easy...

04-25-2011, 04:30 PM

What will be the effect of the massive dharna Imran Khan and others undertook on Saturday and Sunday to protest the Drone strikes as also to block the logistic route to the ISAF through Pakistan?

04-25-2011, 05:02 PM
The "massive dharna" will be as massive as the ISI wants it to be. Its effects will be calibrated to obtain the best possible deal in response. Its a cynical and dirty game...on both sides. I am not convinced that the US is simply a naive patsy in all this. But I do think GHQ is more focused and clearer about their objectives. US policy appears more confused. Still occasionally vicious and underhanded in ways we dont hear about, but also confused. Worst of both worlds. As an American citizen, I wish this particular part of the empire were lost to China ASAP. As a Pakistani, I fear for what will follow. I am as confused as the people I criticize...

04-26-2011, 04:40 PM
The "massive dharna" will be as massive as the ISI wants it to be. Its effects will be calibrated to obtain the best possible deal in response. Its a cynical and dirty game...on both sides. I am not convinced that the US is simply a naive patsy in all this. But I do think GHQ is more focused and clearer about their objectives. US policy appears more confused. Still occasionally vicious and underhanded in ways we dont hear about, but also confused. Worst of both worlds. As an American citizen, I wish this particular part of the empire were lost to China ASAP. As a Pakistani, I fear for what will follow. I am as confused as the people I criticize...

What is the China connection?

With regards to dharna and the 2,000km-long Pakistan Ground Lines of Communication (PAKGLOC) to Afghanistan and ISAF, what will be the effect on Pakistan if the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a series of rail, water and road links that deliver cargo to Afghanistan through the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and handles about 30% of all ground supplies become fully operational?

What will be the effect on the leverage that Pakistan currently enjoys, the intensity of the Drone attacks, and importantly, on the political health of Pakistan as also the on the activities of the Pakistani Taliban.

Imran Khan seems to be riding a new high on the political popularity.

The NDN comprises a southern route – starting at the Georgian port of Poti, going over land to the port of Baku, Azerbaijan, then by ferry to Aqtau, Kazakhstan, and on through Uzbekistan to Afghanistan – and a more heavily used northern route, traversing Latvia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. A spur of the northern route bypasses Uzbekistan and runs from Kazakhstan via Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, but is hampered by bad roads in Tajikistan.


04-26-2011, 05:10 PM

There is an earlier thread 'Supply routes to Afghanistan' on:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=6386

Just scrolled through that the alternative routes to Pakistani ports, the two you refer to are limited in capacity and at one time permission existed for only non-lethal items. I am sceptical, despite official statements, that much is coming in from these two northern routes.

What would be interesting and maybe dangerous to know (not for OPSEC reasons) are: a) are non-lethal items now allowed to transit and b) can local, not imported overland POL supplies be provided?

There was contingency planning for adjusting, if not stopping, all UK medevac flights out of Afghanistan during the Icelandic volcanic ash eruption and severe restrictions on medical supplies inwards.

My question is can NATO / partners wage a war in Afghanistan, at present scales of kit and numbers, if Pakistani routes are not available?

I am less concerned about the impact on Pakistani itself.

You did ask:
What will be the effect on the leverage that Pakistan currently enjoys, the intensity of the Drone attacks, and importantly, on the political health of Pakistan as also the on the activities of the Pakistani Taliban.

The impact of the alternative routes on Pakistani leverage? Significant in the short-term and less as alternatives are used and numbers etc are cut. Drone attacks unaffected. Political health? None, for far wider reasons (another time on that subject). Pakistani Taliban activities? None, that war has very different factors and I am amazed the overland routes have not been attacked more.

04-28-2011, 12:15 AM
I wrote this comment elsewhere, but it is more relevant here. What do people think?

I would like to drop in here the possibility that Pax Americana may be about to end in that region(perhaps not yet likely, but definitely possible). This will sound weird to people (and there are billions of them) who do not think there was much pax and Americana was wholly bad in any case, but if that happens then our background assumptions may have to change rather drastically. I suspect that the transitional period will be very violent, very confusing and very unpleasant. Any thoughts?

I wrote this on a liberal blog (http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/04/what-exactly-is-indias-pakistan-policy.html) and the responses here may be different. I think on this blog, most people will not quibble with "pax Americana" but even here I see that very well informed and intelligent people tend to write as if A can change without a chain reaction of changes from B to Z. For example, I disagree with David's assertion that not much would change in Pakistani politics if there is an alternative route for supplies. I think that if there is an alternative route, Pakistan will either start cooperating more, which would mean that the ISI will stop patronizing Islamist forces and will even end up in confrontation with them, etc. etc. OR Pakistan will not cooperate and the US will be more willing to misbehave and eventually that will lead to the army dismissing the current pro-American civilian regime (weak as it is, it does have authority over some areas of the country) and installing a new civilian facade more suited to confrontation with the US. Either way, the status quo (which involves a very unstable and delicate balance between pro-western forces, pro-chinese and rabidly anti-Indian nationalists, Islamists and local pressure groups) will shift dramatically because it is extremely unstable as it is and cannot withstand an alteration in a big element like US-Pakistan relations.

04-28-2011, 03:42 AM

I agree about the Pax Americana and would add the greatest beneficiary of that has been Pakistan. The situation as you say is going to change. We MAY be able affect it to the good if we abandon the supply line or creditably threaten to do so and thereby are able to strong arm the Pak Army/ISI into doing what it doesn't want it to do. That is the only chance we have to influence things to the good and it may not be a good chance.

The other outcome of closing the supply line that you mentioned, the Pak Army/ISI bowing up would also happen if we pull out without playing our last card, the supply line. So we really don't have much to lose.

Things are going to change one way or the other. We have a small chance of helping it go better if we do as you suggest.

04-29-2011, 04:01 PM
Cyril Almeida discusses this topic: http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/29/mystery-or-madness.html

I think he overestimates the Americans, underestimates ISI and the actual "endgame" could be worse than he imagines.

05-01-2011, 02:12 AM
The article linked by omarali50 had an advertisement come up that said "by Indian inspired jewelry and clothing" :wry:

05-01-2011, 12:19 PM
Hamid Hussain has been a SWJ contributor and this commentary reflects his perspective on Pakistan's relations with the USA, after a visit to Pakistan and the pending changes in both countries national security leadership.

I cite one section:
It is becoming clear that the Pakistan military has decided to jump head first in the ‘snake pit’ called Afghanistan.

It is doubtful that they have done an adequate level of preparation. They are betting that Saudi money and Chinese diplomatic cover will be enough to shield Pakistan from the negative fallout from the next round of their reckless involvement in Afghanistan.

Due to it's length the comment is attached.

05-02-2011, 08:16 AM
Please note some posts here have been moved to the 'Osama bin Laden dead (for information & debate)' thread just created:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=13211

Can comments on OBL's death and implications be placed on that thread please.

05-09-2011, 11:19 PM
cross-posting from the SWJ blog.

I know excessive psychologizing is not popular on this generally common-sense blog, but I would not be surprised if senior Pakistani officers are the ones feeling wounded because of this fuss.
They may feel that it was "understood" that no one really really wants Osama and we can all be happy endlessly "looking for him". And that its the US that is violating unwritten "understandings" by being so fussy about such things all of a sudden.
The notion that the US seriously wants the whole jihadi operation shut down would be even harder to accept for them. I can imagine them thinking that the US was perfectly happy with jihadi terrorists a few years ago and was having endless cups of tea with Kiyani sahib just a few months ago even as they knew where Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Azhar and Daood Ibrahim are being hosted. What changed? why the sudden public fuss? Is this how friends behave? Is there an Indian hand in all this? What do the Americans REALLY want? Is this a plot against our nukes as Shireen Mazari has long maintained? Were we fools to trust the US once again? Are they going to betray us again?
I am not kidding.

05-09-2011, 11:46 PM
Also see: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/16/110516fa_fact_wright

The sense of deep betrayal in Pakistan is going to accelerate because people like Wright are now saying "everyone was sheltered by LET". If the US really did not like Lashkar, why didnt they stop aid 10 years ago? Its not possible that the US did not know that ISI completely controls LET and other such groups (and hosts Mullah Omar and Haqqani and Daood Ibrahim and others). So the US was OK with all this yesterday and is suddenly not OK today? why? I smell a Zionist plot and I smell another betrayal....

05-10-2011, 08:30 AM
The deep sense of disquiet felt in Pakistan over the raid on Osama is summed up by the Pakistan Conflict Monitor.

Pakistan Conflict Monitor (http://www.conflictmonitors.org/countries/pakistan/daily-briefing/briefing-details/!k/2011/5/5/pakistani-army-shaken-by-raid-faces-new-scrutiny)

The deep shock because of the raid has sparked rare criticism in Pakistan. There apparently is a feeling of having been let down by all concerned.

Osama raid sparks rare criticism in Pakistan (http://www.sify.com/news/osama-raid-sparks-rare-criticism-in-pakistan-news-international-lfiipjajhgg.html)

Notwithstanding the legality of the raid, possibly because of a trust deficit, the US had no option (from its standpoint) but to go for it.

There appears to be a settling down of emotions and a state of status quo ante returning.

Given the fact that the AQ and its derivatives are still active, can the US drawdown on its relationship with Pakistan?

Given that Pakistan's economic state is not too healthy, so much so, that it requires Saudi assistance for its National Budget, can Pakistan overlook the financial benefit it accrues from the relationship with the US?

And ,will the Pakistan Army be ready to lose the US aid, when, as the New Yorker article states that the main beneficiary is the Pakistan Army?

China reaction has been favourable to Pakistan.

Pakistan denies complicity (http://world.globaltimes.cn/asia-pacific/2011-05/653276.html)

Criticism of Pakistan intelligence is unfair (http://opinion.globaltimes.cn/editorial/2011-05/652539.html)

In the second article, the Golbal Times however mentions - 'China, a heart-felt friend to Pakistan, has also suffered from terrorism in recent years. Its frontier provinces are occasionally disturbed by extremists from within Pakistan. '.

The Pakistani anguish is most understandable.

05-12-2011, 09:55 PM
I admire Lawrence Wright's writings and this is as good a description of what has happened, although it seems to end abruptly:http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/16/110516fa_fact_wright?currentPage=all

05-13-2011, 08:47 PM
Amidst this BBC report on the suicide attack on a Frontier Constabulary (FC) training base, where 80 were killed and 120 injured, is something else and worthy of attention:
Friday's attack came hours before army chiefs appeared before parliament to explain their actions over Bin Laden's death.

At the closed-door briefing, ISI chief Lieut-Gen Ahmed Shujaa Pasha is reported to have told MPs that he had offered his resignation after the Navy Seals raid, but had been turned down by the army chief.

(Later)After Friday's parliamentary briefing, Pakistan's information minister said Lieut-Gen Pasha had told MPs he was ready to take responsibility for any criminal failing. "If any of our responsibility is determined and any gap identified, that our negligence was criminal negligence, and there was an intentional failure, then we are ready to face any consequences," said the minister, Firdous Ashiq Awan, citing the general.


Leaving aside the offer to resign, that this was a PTT attack and other factors this attack illustrates the price some in Pakistan pay for their service. I just wonder how members of the FC now view the strategies followed by ISI, the army and Pakistan.

05-13-2011, 09:05 PM
"Offered to resign" LOL. I am sorry, but this is ridiculous. "IF evidence is found of yadda yadda yadda"

FC recruits are the sweetest and most hardworking and honest poor people in Pakistan (close relatives have served as officers in FC, so I am a bit sentimental, but what I mean is that poor people in many chronically poor communities have become accustomed to a rather thievish and dishonest relationship with "the man"...this was not typically true of very poor pakhtoons..whatever their other faults, they were upstanding and righteous people with a definite sense of honor) and they have been sorely tested by the two-faced policies of the establishment. What will they think? I dont know, maybe nothing very coherent. People think, for the most part, what they are told to think by their leaders of opinion. In this case, that message is very confused.

The jihadi wing of the deep state probably regards them as unfortunate collateral damage. I dont think GHQ is losing too much sleep over dead poor people. An attack on islamabad, now that would be different and would lead to attempts to convince their old friends that this was no way to treat old comrades and they should be patient until the infidels leave, which blessed day is not too far off.
I am not in a happy frame of mind.

05-13-2011, 11:36 PM
...they should be patient until the infidels leave, which blessed day is not too far off.

This is preaching to the choir but the infidels won't be gone, they'll just be swapped out "India, you go in for NATO."

05-14-2011, 01:10 AM
My own view is that when the infidels leave (and they may not be leaving, this is hypothetical) there will be no smooth "handover to India" but things will actually NOT go the way ISI imagines they will go either.
1. China will pay for services rendered and not a penny more. GHQ's days of living high will not last. They will soon be regretting the "good old days" when Admiral Mullen used to pop over bearing gifts. Saudi and Bahraini mercenary deployments will not compensate either. It may be declining, but there is still no money like American money.
2. Afghanistan will become an endless civil war.
3. The Jihadis will soon tire of life in Afghanistan and the cities in Pakistan will beacon. Initially they will be offered up some hapless liberals who have failed to escape, but it wont be long before they will want the best spots in the defence housing societies. By then, the smart generals will have left for Dubai and Montana, but the dumb ones will find themselves converting to pure Islam under the barrel of a gun. It will not be pretty. India may or may not get sucked in by then but they would be foolish to step in prematurely. What for? to clean up America's mess? how much will they be paid for doing that?
There is no happy ending if the infidels leave. But there is no smooth handover to india either because India is not ready and wont be for several years yet.
Anyway, the infidels are probably not leaving anytime soon. I was just presenting what the establishment may be saying to their old friends who bomb them and hurt their feelings. In actual fact, the infidels wont leave soon, GHQ will writhe and wriggle and then, with maximum bad grace, will cough up some jihadis...just enough to keep things going. Its not going to last forever, but with luck, it will last a few more years. By then, who knows.

05-15-2011, 04:49 PM
There are too many interests working in Afghanistan.

1. Pakistan wants 'strategic depth' (technically a wrong term since 'strategic depth' does not qualify for Afghanistan).

2. India does not want Pakistan in Afghanistan. It will block her (India's) access to CAR through Chahbahar.

3. Russia wants to keep the Islamic influence as far as possible.

4. The CAR does not want the Islamists since they are still in the mould of the Soviet mindset and the leaders are worried that they will get overthrown by the Born again Islamic wave.

5. China is interested in the natural resources as also to be close to the Islamic fundamentalist homeland so as to neutralise the same before it reaches Xinjiang. The Global Times of China has reported that there has been Islamic forays into Xinjiang.

6. Iran is interested to ensure that Shias are not swamped as also to prevent drugs coming into Iran and funding the secessionists in Iranian Baluch areas.

Therefore, it is a holy mess.

No infidel is going to leave in a hurry.

And the US while playing it cool is also at the game, if this 'explosive' article is anything to go by.
American Designs in Balochistan:http://www.thefaultlines.com/american-designs-in-balochistan/

All are aware of Raymond Davis and today there is an Urdu report in Pakistani Daily Express news story which states:
A person Mathew Graig Bait was caught from Kala Chita mountains near ang.Fateh Jang.He was spying on sensitive installations.After inquiry it was found that he came to Pakistan on business visa,married to a Pakistani women and living in G-8.His car no is E-318 registered with Jacobabad.
According to Tv news channel few days ago police arrested a American embassy staff member with 3 British nationals and American journalist of Indian origin near Kotli Sattian.They are taking the pictures of nuclear installations.Cameras and other equipment is recovered from them.but after intervention from government they were set free.

From:http://express.com.pk/epaper/PoPupwindow.aspx?newsID=1101241238&Issue=NP_LHE&Date=20110515 and http://www.defence.pk/forums/pakistans-war/108446-cia-spy-caught-fateh-jang.html

The US action is copybook of taking the game into the adversary's territory and hurting his interests hard.

So, no one is leaving.

Each will work on till their own agendas are fulfilled!

05-15-2011, 04:59 PM
Things are getting more confusing and beyond understanding.

Stealth helicopters refuelled in Pakistan

ISI Chief Snubs Opposition Leader
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2011

05-15-2011, 05:39 PM

Having looked at the cited source for 'American Designs in Balochistan' I would not be too convinced of accuracy; the source has a clear stance on regional issues and is anti-war. Then relying on Turkmenistan reporting as the original source, "nuff said".

The second post on 'Stealth helicopters refuelled in Pakistan' is more interesting, although the source is clearly a briefing maybe by the PAF.

I say interesting as I've yet to see any reporting on the approach and exit from Abbottabad, regarding time, distance and refuelling. There was early speculation that the raid originated from a PAF base, now clearly unlikely as Jalalabad is cited widely. On one blogsite regarding OBL's burial at sea the author was unconvinced at the timing.

Would the US helicopters have returned direct to Jalalabad and then transferred the body plus to an aircraft which flew to the USS Vinson offshore? I am wary that the helicopters would, even could have flown direct to the USS Vinson and without refuelling over / in Pakistani airspace.

Now back to my armchair.

05-15-2011, 06:14 PM
The Stealth Helicopter info is from a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) investigative commission formed on the orders of Air Chief Rao Qamar Suleman that is in the final stages of compiling its report of the investigation of the Abbottabad incident.

As far as the details of the flying in and out, I am equally foxed, though the Blackhawks have auxiliary fuel tanks. These Blackhawks used are something new and so none knows the technical specifications.

On Baluchistan, India has always been blamed. Apart from this, there are many sources (Pakistani) which blames Xe for their woes.

The more one checks on Pakistan sources, be it the News or the fora, one gets totally confused and the Pakistanis themselves are confused as to what is the truth.

In my opinion, though it is not important, the biggest scourge, as far as Pakistan is concerned, is the TTP who are ripping the innards of Pakistan. If they are controlled, then things will look up for Pakistan.

From the various inputs from Pakistan, the good news is that they (Pakistanis ) are tiring of this confusion.

Therefore, there is hope!

05-16-2011, 03:40 AM
Most Pakistanis are indeed tiring of the confusion, but the confusers are still hard at work (and are apparently still getting paid). The point to note is that all these wild conspiracy theories and strange twists and turns are not randomly generated from below up. They are fed from above down, at least initially. I am not saying that all this will stop if the "above down" feeding now stops. A lot of this stuff becomes self-sustaining and (as Max Planck pointed out about physicists) once people have bought into one paradigm, you might have to wait till that generation dies off before the outdated ideas finally die off. But still, for practical purposes, it will make a huge difference if the feeding from above is stopped. There have been one or two hopeful hints recently (Kamran Khan, thought to be very close to GHQ, is a good example:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVa8BO0X3zs&feature=youtu.be) but other well established pro-army websites like paknationalists.com and rupeenews.com (apparently well funded and networked) are doubling down instead of folding. One gets the impression that the deep-state may itself be divided. Some are trying to clear up confusion, but others are absolutely convinced that there is no future without eternal enmity against India and once that assumption is accepted, then the good jihadis and good taliban follow like the cart follows the bullock and that in turn leads to the need to create maximum confusion, since confusion is our only hope of keeping manna flowing from the US while protecting our jihadi assets..
Its not an easy job to clean the augean stables and the rivers have not been rerouted yet..

05-16-2011, 03:51 AM
Just happened to see this: http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\05\16\story_16-5-2011_pg3_4

05-16-2011, 04:09 AM

Thanks for the comments on Pakistan.

Very pragmatic on the manner of what is happening.

Do let us know more about the situation as it unfolds.

Have you anything to add on the inhouse investigation of how the Stealth Blackhawks could evade Pakistan attention.

I sure would like to know a bit more on Xe and Balochistan as also the alleged Indian involvement.

Thanks for the links.

05-16-2011, 04:57 AM
Fareed's Take: Pakistan's chance to become a normal country

Having been caught in a situation that suggests either complicity with al Qaeda or gross incompetence (and the reality is probably a bit of both), Pakistan is now furiously trying to change the subject. Senior generals angrily denounce America for entering the country.

A Pakistani friend put it to me this way: It's like a person caught in bed with another man's wife who is indignant that someone entered his house.

The military has also once again been able to cow the civilian government. According to Pakistani sources, the speech that Prime Minister Gilani gave at a recent news conference was drafted by the military. So having come to power hoping to clip the military's wings, Pakistan's democratically elected government has been reduced to mouthing talking points written for it by the intelligence service.


Read in conjunction with Omar Ali's link http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\05\16\story_16-5-2011_pg3_4 , it gives some idea of the contradictions, confusion and anguish that plague common Pakistanis and the helplessness to break from this vicious circle that prevents Pakistan to surface and find its rightful place as was visioned by its Founder, Md Ali Jinnah.

05-16-2011, 01:51 PM
btw, I dont think Jinnah bhoy had much of a vision of anything. As a propaganda tool, it may be useful to pretend that he was a great secularist and liberal and whatnot, but lets not get carried away...

05-17-2011, 05:08 AM
Jinnah's 11 Aug 19476 speech to the Constituent Assembly did show some liberalism and secularism.

What is the way out from the present conditions in Pakistan?

05-17-2011, 12:40 PM
I am sure I've cited the journalist / academic Anatol Lieven before, who has just published a new book. Here is a six question & answer article that IMHO sums up current issues:http://harpers.org/archive/2011/05/hbc-90008092

Responding to the last question comparing India and Pakistan he replies:
India too suffers from domestic insurgency—the Naxalite Maoists control a much bigger proportion of the country than the Islamist militants do of Pakistan. I also do not think that Pakistan will probably become a failed state in the short term, unless the United States is provoked into destroying it. The question is whether it can ever really progress as a country—and if it doesn’t, whether it can survive in the long term.

Link to book:http://www.amazon.com/Pakistan-Hard-Country-Anatol-Lieven/dp/1610390210/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305635921&sr=1-1

Nicely put, although I expect Ray will have something to say on the Naxalites.

Hat tip to CLS daily summary 'Today's Terrorism News' which is by far the best found to date:http://centerlineblog.org/author/ctrlawsec/

05-17-2011, 02:24 PM
I agree that India has many more areas of poor governance than Pakistan does, but that is not the whole story and Anatol Lieven (in his desire to be "fair and balanced") misses the point. The problem with Pakistan is not that some areas are under control of an Islamist insurgency. The tribal areas could form an independent republic and have minimal effect on the rest of the country. And Indian governance is far more rickety than the ISI's hold on Pakistan.
The problem is not governance (though that is a problem), the problem in Pakistan is that the "deep state" (for lack of a better word) is wedded to a mode of existence and an ideology that is dangerous while its failing and that becomes more dangerous if it becomes more successful. IF India becomes more like its advertised ideals (no country is exactly like its ideals, so we are talking about real life here) it will be a better country for its own people and for the world (a democratic, secular, progressive nation). On the other hand, IF Pakistan manages to pull away from its (admittedly confused and contradictory) ideals, it will be a successful rising Asian nation. That is a big difference.
A "successful" Pakistan that has not changed course would be a regional and international disaster. A "successful" India would be a pain in the butt in terms of arrogant public posturing, but it would be a "normal" country, with a kleptocratic ruling elite, lots of corruption, many small insurgencies and a security apparatus to match and more money than it has now. At most, it would start bullying small neighbors about old disputes and small neighbors would have to find patrons across the seas to withstand said bullying.
Western observers tend to fall into two groups: those who have an existing irrational (or rational, if you think Israel's zero-sum game with the Arabs is "rational") animus against Muslims and Arabs and will believe the worst about Pakistan no matter what. And a much larger group of sane people who are unable to imagine that serious policymakers somewhere might actually regard the paknationalist BS as more than "just propaganda". The eye cannot see what the mind does not know.
and so on.

05-17-2011, 04:27 PM
I would not like to compare India and Pakistan on the same canvas but since one is on this subject, my two paisa views are being given.

The difference is as chalk to cheese.

India is a vast country, with many ethnicities, religions, languages, customs and culture. It is not so in Pakistan.

Pakistan, in comparison, is a small country and has manageable ethnicities, languages, customs and culture. Pakistan has the greatest boon – one religion, and that too, a religion that is clear in establishing that it is supreme. Its minorities are but a handful and their numbers do not count, while India has the second or third largest Muslim population in the world and some states have 30% of the population Muslim! Unlike India, where there are separate Personal Laws for the Muslims, which the Indian Muslims zealously guard, Pakistan has Islamic Sharia applicable to all, be they Muslim or Minorities and of course, Pakistan has the Blasphemy Law which licks into shape any deviant minority.

It is worth noting that the Constitution of India was amended to accommodate Muslim personal law which the Supreme Court had ruled was gender suppressive. Therefore, one can judge to the extent, secularism is protected. Is it perfect? Well, it is more perfect than many other countries with lesser contradictions in terms of religions, ethnicities, languages, customs and culture.

Of course, India’s governance is nothing to write home about. It is a Witches Brew. To imagine trying to chalk a straight path with so many contradictions as mentioned above and added to it is the huge divide between the rich and the poor, between the urban and the rural, between the educated and the illiterate and so on. And to top it all, corruption at high places that have gone unnoticed till recently because of subtle political control over what should have been autonomous institutions. The infamous Bofors case and Quattorochi comes to mind that remains a mystery because of politically nudged indifference to solving the same. The recent 2G spectrum scam incensed the nation so much that there was an All India agitation spearheaded by a non political social worker that brought the Govt nearly to its knees. A super law is in the making to ensure that all politicians and govt functionaries can be called to be accountable and all autonomous institutions including investigation agencies made real autonomous; and So, there is hope that there will be some improvement in governance….a hope!

Anatol Lieven does not compare India and Pakistan. He has merely commented that if Pakistan were a state of the Indian Union, it would be somewhere in the middle—far below such success stories as Karnataka, but well above such dreadful basket cases as Bihar.

On governance, he states India too suffers from domestic insurgency—the Naxalite Maoists control a much bigger proportion of the country than the Islamist militants do of Pakistan.

His comments on the Human Rights does not say much except ‘also goes for human rights in India, as Human Rights Watch reminded us in a recent report on the Indian police’.

Lieven’s comment in no way indicates that governance is more disconnected than Pakistan. Lieven forgets that Pakistan today is still afloat because of foreign money, be it American or Saudi and therefore, if Pakistan was to be less progressive than Karnataka and better than Bihar, then it indicates serious corruption coupled with misgovernance. I think he is not being charitable to Pakistan.

There is nothing wrong intrinsically with Pakistan. It is forgotten that under Ayub, Pakistan has a far better economy than India!

If Pakistan has spiralled downwards, it is because Zia overdid the religion card. So long as Pakistan was not in the grips of the born again Muslims and Mullahs, it was a vibrant nation. It was Zia who led Pakistan to the sorry state it is in.

A. H. Nayyar and Ahmad Salim, in a report for the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Pakistan, have stated that the educational system in Pakistan was designed “from the very beginning” to reinforce “one particular view of Pakistani nationalism and identity, namely that Pakistan is an Islamic state rather than a country with a majority Muslim population.” Furthermore, the educational system needed to produce an image of a “singular homogeneous majoritarian Muslim identity that could be sharply differentiated from that of India, even though it meant suppressing the many different shades within Pakistan.”

This was done through myth-making and the embellishment of history. In a chapter on “Historical Falsehoods and Inaccuracies” in Pakistani education, Salim observes that many Pakistan Studies textbooks declare that Muhammad-bin-Qasim, an Arab general who led the Umayyad conquest of the Sindh and Punjab regions in the early eighth century, was Pakistan’s first citizen—a full twelve centuries before its independence in 1947. Indeed, one textbook simply declares that “although Pakistan was created in August 1947, . . . the present-day Pakistan has existed, as a more or less single entity, for centuries.”

In addition, the Pakistani public education system developed a , strongly anti-Indian and anti-Hindu bias in its curriculum as per Nayyar and Salim.

It is unfortunate that you all cannot understand Urdu but Najam Sethi, a journalist on Youtube subscribes to the same theory as Nayyar and Salim. Interestingly, it is in Pakistan history book that Pakistan was there right from the 8th Century and not a country born on 14 Aug 1947!

On Naxals and Maoists, in the next post.

05-18-2011, 02:23 AM
Newsweek reports that Pakistan is well into the construction of a fourth nuclear reactor that will be probably be devoted to weapons production.


If Newsweek figured this out using commercial satellite imagery our betters inside the beltway have known for a long time and have said nothing about it and certainly are not able to stop it, yet we pay and pay the Pak Army.

What the h--- it going on? We are quietly sitting by and helping to subsidize the destruction of the sub-continent.

05-18-2011, 02:36 AM
American decision makers may not all have the same opinion of GHQ that you do. Some must be genuinely fond of their friends in GHQ and think they are capital blokes, what ho. Others may think its racist to regard Pakistanis as less capable of guarding their nukes than America is. Some may even think its a good idea to see the subcontinent run a little mini-cold war complete with nukes.
It takes all sorts.

05-18-2011, 02:54 AM

The important thing is what the Indians are going to think about all this. It occurs to me also that our betters inside the beltway may be very sensitive to what the General sahibs in 'Pindi think and say but I wonder if they are as sensitive to how the Indians view all of this, but like you said they may want to see a subcontinental war.

I'll bet you the Indians have looked very closely at Stuxnet and are dreaming something up.

The Americans are dangerous fools at times.