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M Payson
11-04-2009, 01:57 PM
I think that the US embassy would have LIKED to see some actual tribal elders there, but THEY refused to meet her because they are afraid of having their head cut off. Btw, being identified in this specific manner in ""the news" is probably not helping any of them sleep better at night.

First, Omar sahib, I've read your stuff on AM and here, and find it thoughtful and illuminating.

In terms of tribal elders, I'm not at all convinced the embassy or aid community actually sought to talk with them, at least those from North Waziristan. And while FATA's environment has proven hazardous to traditional leaders, I've seen some nuanced relationships between leadership groups, even within the same agency. We need to learn to deal with such shades of grey without panicking.

I think it would be an unfortunate error to focus on NGOs and politicians and omit traditional dialogue in a land where many have concerns and few have instruments less blunt than bombs. The aid community, if it is to be used as one of those less-blunt instruments - or even if it just aims to deliver assistance to those in need - will have to re-envision its concept of "civil society" and "NGO" to work in an environment where kinship is the driving force. Given the billions of dollars looking for a way to sluice to "the people" in Pakistan, this is no small matter.

Regarding Shawal, if even from my armchair, it seemed a predictable area for militants to shift, one hopes it was anticipated.

11-04-2009, 10:38 PM
Released in July 2009 in Pakistan, with an un-identified male prsioner, shown in shadow, which was on Geo-TV (IIRC an independent station); a stunning and depressing film clip:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq88egK755k&feature=fvw


11-18-2009, 11:19 PM
Again thanks Abu M spotting a UK Daily Mail reporter on the Pakistani campaign, under the hopeful IMHO headline 'Why Pakistan is winning ITS war against the Taliban'.

As always there is a "sting" at the end:
Meanwhile, General Abbas cited a further stupefying sign of Nato’s apparent absence of strategic co-ordination.

In the name of the new ‘protection’ strategy, the US has this autumn been withdrawing from its posts on the Afghan side of the frontier, including those in Paktika, the province next to South Waziristan.

‘It will create a vacuum,’ he said, ‘and if militants escape from Waziristan, what can we do? We cannot fire on them when they cross the border.’

For years, Nato chiefs have accused Pakistan of failing to deal with the Taliban’s safe havens in Pakistani territory. Now, in one of the more bitter ironies of this ever-lengthening war, that role has been reversed.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1227826/Why-Pakistan-winning-ITS-war-Taliban.html#ixzz0XFwBOxbn

11-22-2009, 10:16 PM
If you go to this link and scroll down the comments, you can see a discussion about the ongoing war in Pakistan (I am a participant and have the longest final comment, so this is also a plug). I thought some of you may be interested.


also check out Pakistani blogger Hakim Hazik's latest at


12-04-2009, 09:20 PM
Reports on an attack on a mosque used by the Army, within the Rawlpindi cantonment: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/6729623/Pakistani-army-leaders-killed-in-al-Qaeda-mosque-attack.html

Five serving officers, including a major general, a brigadier, two lieutenant colonels and a major, died in the assault by suicide bombers and gunmen on a mosque near the army's headquarters in Rawalpindi....A retired major and three serving ordinary soldiers were also among the dead as well as 17 children, including 11 sons of officers....The main Pakistani extremist group, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is closely tied to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The BBC:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8394694.stm

From Londonstani, on Abu M blog:http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2009/12/pakistan-update.html Within and referring to a forthcoming Shia festival, for the first time IIRC he asks:
Is anyone else thinking Algeria 1990s?

I wonder how the Pakistani Army officer corps view the "accomodation" made with the "militants" now? In particular the role of ISI creating and maintaining the "militants" and the Taliban as a strategic defence option!

12-04-2009, 10:08 PM
I spoke with someone in Pakistan recently (someone who eagerly supports what one may call the ISI version of recent events) and his vision was as follows:
1. The US and Israel and maybe India want to destroy Islam and to do this, they understand that they must destroy Pakistan.
2. Using 9-11 as the excuse, an invasion was launched.
3. Our army has managed, in very adverse circumstances, to keep Pakistan intact until now and protected our nuclear assets.
4. Terrorism that you see is basically mercenary jihadis acting on the instructions of America, Israel and Zionist Brahmins (I kid you not).
5. The army is united, and every officer knows that this is the final battle for Pakistan. We will defeat these mercenary terrorists, safeguard our nuclear assets and inshallah win the war after the coming global collapse destroys America's ability to impose its will on us. India will be the first to fall> Already, our Red chinese friends have green lighted the naxalites and when we unleash the jihadis, the brahmins will fall in one day...
and so on. This is NOT a fringe view. He gets this from TV 21, which is owned by interflo, which is the largest ad agency in Pakistan and the largest civilian asset used by the army in its PR moves. I highly recommend visiting paknationalists.com or http://pakistankakhudahafiz.wordpress.com/ to see for yourself.

Anyway, I wrote the following on the Pakistani blog chapati mystery today (or Pakistani-German, as the owner is a pakistani historian working in Germany). Its in response to comments that questioned the existence of an international jihadi threat. Some of it is relevant to your question.


The army armed and trained half a million terrorists. It encouraged an entire cultural shift towards Jihadism and extremism. It then lost control of the situation after 9-11. BUT instead of stepping back and saying we were wrong (not necessarily publicly, I am just speaking of saying it to themselves) and need to do many things now to fix the mess, they have always pursued a schizophrenic policy where they will abandon some of their former proxies and kill them, while keeping others for future use AND retain crucial parts of the previous paradigm of zero-sum competition with India, playing profitable games with America, retaining monopoly over most of Afghanistan and so on.
As a result, there is continued confusion within Pakistan about who is fighting who and for what reason and this confusion is hampering the war effort. A good section of the military is still working on the Zaid Hamid and Ahmed Qureshi paradigm without noticing that Zaid Hamid and company themselves believe that the future consists of massive and extremely violent wars against India and other powers...wars they hope to win, but wars which to any sane person must seem MUCH worse than the current mess. The army high command may or may not all be in the Zaid Hamid mould, but their continued short sighted encouragement of this line of psyops is creating massive confusion and will make their job harder, not easier.
The army itself will be better off if it faces the facts and changes some of its fundamental assumptions. Let us, for the sake of argument, accept that all these attacks are carried out by jihadis acting on the orders of India, Israel and America. What is the army doing to clarify the situation and fight back? What is the plan by which these three great powers and their jihadi agents are to be defeated? I submit that no coherent plan can be made because the accusation itself is incoherent.
I am not saying the US or India could not be involved in any terrorist acts. Pakistan is not a total outlier in its use of terrorism as a tool of policy. Others can and do play this game. But the question remains, what is the policy? why do these powers oppose the army? What can be done to stop them? What is in the best interests of the people of Pakistan? on all these questions, the army's response has been and remains unclear. And it remains so because they insist on having their cake and eating it too. Either they throw in their lot with the jihadists and the taliban and deal with USA and India as best as they can, or they fully switch sides and try to find a way to cooperate WITH the US and India AND with civilian politicians, against the jihadi worldview. There is no middle way that is going to work....

01-06-2010, 05:36 PM
JSOU, Dec 09: Pakistan’s Security Paradox: Countering and Fomenting Insurgencies (https://jsoupublic.socom.mil/publications/jsou/JSOU09-9mullickPakistan_final.pdf)

Most American and Pakistani political and military leaders agree that without a credible U.S.-Pakistan partnership, victory against Taliban and Al Qaeda is impossible. For such a partnership, shared goals must be matched by shared threats, and perceptions must follow demonstrable action. Washington and Islamabad agree that Al Qaeda must be defeated. Pakistan’s national security calculus—based on India’s influence in Afghanistan—however, treats Afghan Taliban as leverage and Pakistani Taliban as enemies of the state. Consequently, Afghan Taliban are provided asylum in Pakistan while they wreak havoc in Afghanistan, and Pakistani Taliban are attacked. While Pakistan has countered and fomented numerous insurgencies, this is the first time that it has done both to achieve its national security goals. This dual policy and disconnect between American and Pakistani threat perceptions is at the heart of Pakistan’s security paradox. Pakistan continues to indirectly counter (COIN) and foment (FOIN) insurgency in Afghanistan. Without acknowledging, explicating, and eventually changing this paradox, Afghanistan and Pakistan will continue to descent into chaos.....

01-07-2010, 01:18 AM

Dr. Manzur Ejaz's opinion piece above, in which he has unequivocally stated that the army-jihadi nexus is history and all jihadi parties will gradually be eliminated by the armed forces. An unstated corrollary of this hypothesis is that the state will actually survive and stabilize and all the "worst case scenarios" will fail to materialize.

I tend to agree with Dr. Ejaz. I think the army has no choice. It was a terrible mistake to create free standing armies of jihadis in the first place (what sane state has ever done that? what were they thinking when dozens of training camps were being set up all across the country and Masood Azhar and company were going around with escorts of armed men on pickup trucks? what was the plan? I already know the answer: there was no plan in the mind of the "secular" morons like Musharraf. They were just being their usual idiotic selves and were being made total fools by the jihadis like General Mahmud and General Gul and so on. But I ask the question to encourage all of you to spend a few minutes thinking about this. WTF was the army thinking and doesnt this deserve a real inquiry and several court martials?). But by now, even our generals must have realized what a mess they have made and know that this is not sustainable.
I also think the arguments presented by many educated people in Pakistan (all this is an American plot, Islam is in danger, Jewish-Hindu plot) reflects the (carefully manufactured) confusion of the chattering classes and not a systematic analysis of the facts on the ground.
But I also think that these confused statements (blaming the jihadis, General Zia, the CIA and everyone else in almost mutually exclusive theories) are an indication of what a tremendous job lies ahead of the army high command and how poorly they have managed the "information war" until now. Once again, I think the explanation has less to do with any clever scheme of having their jihad and eating it too, and more to do with the limited abilities of the high command and their desire to avoid (at all costs, even the cost of efficient handling of the war on terror) any discussion of how they created this mess and who the enemy is. Instead, they prefer to keep people confused with CIA-Jew-Freemason-Hindu conspiracies and any other story that comes to mind...anything but the truth that their own creations have brought Pakistan to this pass. The other driver behind this nonsense is their desire to hold on to "the commanding heights" of the state, even if they have to imperil the functioning of national institutions in a time of war to do so. On this, I differ with Dr. Ejaz, who beleives the army is actually trying to strengthen civilian institutions to save the state. I think he underestimates how totally the PMA mindset hates civilian politics and politicians and how exalted an opinion they have of their own ability to run everything from credit rating agencies to the railways.
I would make an analogy with the US civil war. A Dr. Ejaz in 1861 would have confidently predicted (on the basis of rational analysis of economic realities and the direction of historical trends) that the North was going to win the civil war and the Union would be preserved. Not only that, slavery would be abolished and the entire slave-owning economy overhauled and converted to more modern lines. That is exactly what eventually happened. But this 1861 Dr. Ejaz may not have known how close fought the thing would be, how long and hard the war would turn out to be, how terrible a slaughter it would cause...and even this imaginary Dr. Ejaz might have had second thoughts about his predictions when Lee was marching around Pennsylvania.....I think we are in for some very bad times in Pakistan as well.

01-10-2010, 03:51 PM
The Economist, 30 Dec 09: Waziristan: The Last Frontier (http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15173037)

....this year the strategy was changed, with considerable success. In May the army swept the Taliban from Malakand, to national acclaim. And in October and November, after a three-month blockade of the Mehsud fief, displacing over 200,000 people, it routed the militants there. On the road from Tank to Wana, perfect round shell-holes, punched through the mud-walls of now-empty houses, show where the army advanced. In Sarwakai, a former Taliban logistics hub, army bulldozers were levelling a bazaar as open-backed trucks loaded with prisoners, blindfolded and bare-headed, drove by. Most of their comrades, including the Pakistani Taliban’s current leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, escaped—some to Orakzai, where they are again under attack. Several thousand more are believed to be in Miran Shah and Mir Ali, in North Waziristan, and the army is currently deciding whether to pursue them there.

Pakistan will struggle to pacify Waziristan so long as Afghanistan is ablaze. Yet it is at last giving itself a fair chance, on the heels of its advancing troops, by launching a serious-looking bid to rebuild its shattered administration. South Waziristan’s development budget has been increased 15-fold and, with improved security, the PA should actually be able to spend it. To sideline the weakened maliks, he will be given command of a new, 4,000-strong, tribal police force. The agency may also be divided, to ensure greater attention is given to the marginalised and seething Mehsuds. And political reform is coming, too, with a law passed last August granting political parties access to the tribal areas. For more meaningful democracy, some far-sighted officials advocate setting up agency-level councils, with powers over development projects......

01-20-2010, 10:25 PM
In a recent book launch in London, Owen Bennett Jones, a former BBC World Service correspondent in Pakistan, commented that:
1.3% of US (foreign) aid went to education; the madrassah schools teach 4.6% of school age pupils and in all his travels he'd never found any teachers at a public (state) school

The book which awaits opening is 'Pakistan; eye of the storm' (3rd edition).

01-20-2010, 10:31 PM
I was bemused to learn from a Pakistani military contact, who has visited the FATA recently, that he was reading 'The Frontier Scouts' by Charles Chevenix-Trench and learning that the old methods did indeed offer an answer to today's problems.

I too from an armchair recommend the book.

02-01-2010, 10:38 PM
Hat tip to:http:/watandost.blogspot.com/ for this story on the ground in South Waziristan: http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=221823

From the start:
the militants, following classic battle tactics, would stand their ground and fight head-on in the open, and be overwhelmed by a superior force. They did not take into account the likelihood of the militants’ following hit-and-run guerrilla tactics, melting into the familiar terrain after a strike, and then trying to win over the relatives of the civilian casualties of this war. We forgot that the operation was not launched against the entire population of Waziristan, after all, but a limited number of militants.

Waziristan has suffered long enough. We cannot afford to ignore it any more if we are concerned about the future of our younger generation. We have to replace the “dismantled training camps” with good schools and hospitals. We have to provide basic facilities and means of livelihood to the people. Only then can we hope to achieve a permanent end to militancy. Banking on the military operation alone as a cure for militancy is tantamount to following a tunnel-vision approach on a road leading nowhere.

Yes the military operation started in October 2009 and follow-on civil action takes time - as we all too well know over the Durand Line.

02-06-2010, 04:13 PM
A lengthy PPT on 'The 1897 Revolt and Tirah Valley Operations from the Pashtun Perspective' by Dr Rob Johnson, Oxford University; maybe historical to some, but may help others understand the context today.

Link:http://www.tribalanalysiscenter.com/freePDF/The%201897%20Revolt%20and%20Tirah%20Valley%20Opera tions.pdf

Not seen this website before and exploring it.

02-13-2010, 10:45 PM
A short update:http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=36037&tx_ttnews[backPid]=7&cHash=888154a278

03-23-2010, 02:01 AM
The following obituary is of one of the last British soldiers to have seen action against the Fakir of Ipi in Waziristan. The obituary caught my eye because the brigadier shares the same surname as a grandmother of mine before she married, although admittedly my branch of the family arrived in the U.S. from Cork in 1855. Note that Brigadier Prendergast was made Britain's military attache in Afghanistan at the time of India's Partition in 1947, so Britain was clearly still keeping an eye on the region. I don't believe that Britain's former status as an imperial power necessarily invalidates all of the political and military techniques they used in the region during the last century.

Brigadier John Prendergast

Daily Telegraph
Published: 12:01AM GMT 03 Mar 2008

Brigadier John Prendergast, who has died aged 97, won a DSO and two MCs in an adventurous military career which spanned more than 30 years.

In May 1937 Prendergast was serving with the Tochi Scouts in North Waziristan. They were leading an advance on the village of Gariom with the objective of blowing up two of the towers as a punishment for harbouring the wily Fakir of Ipi when they came under heavy fire from rebel tribesmen.

Prendergast, with four platoons under his command, was ordered to take charge. As his small force moved up, they were halted along a lip in the ground.

The tribesmen, 300 yards away, concealed in ilex scrub, could cover every inch of open terrain that separated them and, as he tried to flatten his body into the dirt, the vicious crack of bullets flying past his head was so nerve-janglingly sharp that he had horrid visions of his brains being scattered by the next shot.

"This was terrible," he said later. "I was supposed to be a leader." At school, he had boxed against opponents much bigger than himself and had always believed that he was brave. Then the thought came back, "Well, lead then."

Terrified and with the awful feeling that his legs were made of rubber, he got to his feet, waved his puny revolver and tried to get a charge going.

In a split second, he was covered with dust from the bullets striking the ground at his feet. At the same instant, he saw stark fear in the nearest rifleman's eyes and knew that his men were not going to follow him.

He went to ground again, slid down from the lip and moved one of his platoons round to the left where it could give rapid covering fire from a more enfiladed position. Then, swearing at the other three platoons and getting bayonets fixed, he led them over the edge with a loud Pathan shout of "Halla, Halla." (Attack! Attack!)

Prendergast knew that his stout stature made him a marked man but zig-zagging, he and his Pathans tore across the intervening ground. Some of his men fell, but the tribesmen did not stop to face the bright line of bayonets bearing down on them so swiftly and took to their heels. Prendergast was awarded a Military Cross.

To read the remainder of the obituary click here (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1580495/Brigadier-John-Prendergast.html).

03-23-2010, 02:46 AM
During the past two weeks in six installments Tom Ricks has given a warm review to the book Waging War in Waziristan: The British Struggle in the Land of Bin Laden, 1849-1947 by Andrew M. Roe, a British officer. The lessons Ricks cites from the book are as follows:

Be prepared to conduct a "constant mapping of political, economic and social information to gain a temporal insight into the views, motivation, and differences among the tribes and subclans."

Don't underestimate your enemy. "To take on the tribesman and defeat him in his own his is a game demanding a lifetime of specialized study."

Tribesman will study your tactics and punish lapses or even simple repetitions. "This is one read on why an advance is seldom disputed with vigour, whereas the withdrawal is ferociously harrassed."

Political officers must counter the tendency of military commanders to rely on their "instinct and their own values and standards, which often will be mistaken, unsuitable or inappropriate." (Tom: I saw this tendency a lot in Iraq in 2003-06.)

"Tolerating ambiguities, shortfalls and inconsistencies must be central to any sustainable policy." (Tom: Hmm, sounds like FM 3-24.)

Don't fight the tribal structure. "Employing and, where necessary, reinforcing the existing tribal framework and structures offers the best opportunity for success."

Be prepared to pay off the enemy.

Local forces should be the heart of your effort, not regular Army troops.

The first in the the series of Ricks' blog entries on the book can be read by clicking here (http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/03/09/the_british_experience_in_waziristan_tons_of_lesso ns_to_be_learned). The more recent installments of the review can be found by scrolling within the blog.

04-06-2010, 07:50 PM
This allegation comes as no surprise given the history of Pakistan and its military. Starts with:
The Pakistani army has allegedly committed hundreds of retaliatory killings and other ongoing human rights abuses in the Swat Valley since the end of its successful anti-Taliban offensive there in September, threatening billions of dollars in U.S. military and economic aid to a crucial ally in the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban....The extrajudicial execution of up to 300 alleged Taliban supporters and sympathizers in the area around Mingora, the Swat capital, has been documented by New York-based Human Rights Watch...(Closes with)...the fact is that the engine of abuse is the military.

The HRW report is due to be published next month. Link:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/05/AR2010040500195_3.html?sid=ST2010040501618

If true it is easy to fear that winning 'hearts & minds' is not on the Pakistani Army's agenda. How will this affect the local population?

04-16-2010, 09:26 PM
hat tip to Abu M. Patrick Cockburn, a UK journalist, reports from Bajaur: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-secret-war-ndash-and-the-hidden-lair-of-the-taliban-1946387.html

The article ends with:
Peace has not returned to FATA. Local papers carry stories down-column of suspected Islamic militants' houses being burned, refugees in flight or returning, a girls' school destroyed by insurgents and many killed by American drone attacks. The army is in control, but it is not clear what would happen if it left. It may find it more difficult to get out of FATA than it was to get in.

More reports may follow as he's in a party of journalists hosted for a week by the Pakistani state.

04-19-2010, 07:25 PM
NAF, 19 April 2010: The Battle for Pakistan (http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/the_battle_for_pakistan)

Few places in the world have assumed as much importance for the United States and its allies since 2001 as Pakistan’s northwestern tribal regions, which have served as a base for the mix of militants seeking to attack the governments, militaries, and civilians of the United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and others. In just over half of the serious plots against the West since 2004, alleged militants received training at camps in Pakistan.

On April 19, 2010, the New America Foundation’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative launched a unique series of policy papers, ‘The Battle for Pakistan,’ written by local Pakistani researchers and other experts on politics and militancy in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
The Battle for Pakistan: Militancy and Conflict Across the FATA and NWFP (http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/publications/policy/the_battle_for_pakistan_fata_and_nwfp)

The Battle for Pakistan: Militancy and Conflict in South Waziristan (http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/publications/policy/the_battle_for_pakistan_south_waziristan)

The Battle for Pakistan: Militancy and Conflict in North Waziristan (http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/publications/policy/the_battle_for_pakistan_north_waziristan)

The Battle for Pakistan: Militancy and Conflict in Kurram (http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/publications/policy/the_battle_for_pakistan_kurram)

The Battle for Pakistan: Militancy and Conflict in Khyber (http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/publications/policy/the_battle_for_pakistan_khyber)

The Battle for Pakistan: Militancy and Conflict in Mohmand (http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/publications/policy/the_battle_for_pakistan_mohmand)

The Battle for Pakistan: Militancy and Conflict in Bajaur (http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/publications/policy/the_battle_for_pakistan_bajaur)

The Battle for Pakistan: Militancy and Conflict in Swat (http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/publications/policy/the_battle_for_pakistan_swat_valley)

Inside Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province: The Political Landscape of the Insurgency (http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/publications/policy/inside_pakistan_s_north_west_frontier_province)

Al-Qaeda's Allies: Explaining the Relationship Between Al-Qaeda and Taliban Factions After 2001 (http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/publications/policy/al_qaeda_s_allies)

Financing the Taliban: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan (http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/publications/policy/financing_the_taliban)

Pakistan's COIN Flip: The Recent History of Pakistani Military Counterinsurgency Operations in the NWFP and FATA (http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/publications/policy/pakistans_coin_flip)

04-22-2010, 03:48 PM
This allegation comes as no surprise given the history of Pakistan and its military. Starts with:

The HRW report is due to be published next month. Link:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/05/AR2010040500195_3.html?sid=ST2010040501618

If true it is easy to fear that winning 'hearts & minds' is not on the Pakistani Army's agenda. How will this affect the local population?

Just so I can understand the context here how many extrajudicial killings did the Taliban carry out in Pakistan before the Swat Valley campaign?

04-22-2010, 09:46 PM
I am sure there are some stats on the Taliban's reign in the Swat Valley, but this recent report gives an indication albeit wider than one valley, 'Socio Economic Cost of Terrorism: A case study of Pakistan', by the Bradford University (UK) based Pakistan Security Research Unit (PRSU) which has tables on the human cost and from one for 2009: Civilians 2307 Security Forces 1011 Insurgents 8267 Total 11585.


PRSU website:http://spaces.brad.ac.uk:8080/display/ssispsru/Home

It was the grim reality of Taliban rule, including one You Tube video of a young girl being beaten by the Taliban, that was reported as giving the Army a popular mandate to take action (probably on one of the Pakistani threads here).

A quick response.

05-10-2010, 01:35 AM
Ahmed Rashid's latest comment for the BBC, which ends with:
The deteriorating security in North Waziristan is now having a global impact and creating a vast and multi-faceted militant hub. Meanwhile other areas are on the verge of falling back into the hands of the Taliban. Pakistan's civil and military need to formulate a coherent counter-insurgency strategy to provide security and an administration, so that development can reach the people and the militants can be isolated. Without such a strategy, an ad hoc approach is leading to an ever-worsening security situation.


05-11-2010, 09:02 AM
...aparently, Eric Breininger (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,692673,00.html) has been killed by Pakistani forces in Waziristan according to a jihadist group while German Jihad colonies (http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,687306,00.html) take root in Waziristan:

The Recruits are quickly becomming radicalised and, in some cases, entire families are departing hotbeds for terrorism. it is belived that colonies catering to German Islamists have taken shape in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Surely, they were already "radicalised" (whatever that means) before they got there?

05-11-2010, 03:47 PM
The cited Der Spiegel co-author Yassin Musharbash is always worth reading, partly as it appears his investigative journalism discovers matters others do not find.

The German authorities were not aware of the 'German colonies' in the FATA, nor were the Pakistanis, partly as they were based on the Uzbek group, the IJU (?). A group that may have eluded ISI tutelage and so low profile.

During the Saeurland Plot it was reported that going on Jihad was fun and could be done in a summer vacation; I am sure I've posted on this before, with links.

05-11-2010, 07:14 PM
A succinct, open source commentary:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/05/10/what_do_you_learn_at_terrorist_training_camp

05-28-2010, 03:38 PM

Terrorists (almost certainly Punjabi Taliban) simultaneously attacked two Ahmedi sect mosques in Lahore during Friday prayers and killed over 80 people.
My first comments:
1. The choice of target is easy to understand. Ahmedis are a persecuted and vilified minority in Pakistan and "mainstream" news organizations feel no compunction about attacking them, so the ground is already prepared. e.g. GEO TV's religion presenter Amir Liaqat Hussain, a former minister under the buffoon Musharraf, encouraged people to kill them if they "overstepped their bounds" and an Ahmedi doctor was promptly killed; there was some fuss in the liberal press but Hussain is still on TV and writes a particularly vicious column in a major newspaper.
2. The day is also significant. its the anniversary of Pakistan's nuclear explosion and is a national day of jingoism, so appropriate for such an action.
3. There will be talk of stepped up security and other such BS, but the fact is that such terrorism is unstoppable until you get at the head. There is an infrastructure of support and guidance and its known to everyone in Pakistan, but decisive action is difficult because:
A. The army set up and protected this monster and knows better than anyone how big the operation is. Even if some of the top brass now want to proceed against them, they would prefer to do so slowly and in small increments. That also ensures a long-term American GWOT subsidy, so go-slow is a win-win situation for the top brass.
B. Because the army does not like to admit mistakes, it has never really let the general public know that mistakes were made and enemies within were created by the blessed armed forces themselves. So they rely on the narrative of "foreign hand" and "Indian-zionist agents" rather heavily. This means the "information war" is a total mess and the general public (whose cooperation is essential for any counter-insurgency) remains confused about who is fighting whom and for what purpose. Again, the confusion suits the general staff just fine (letting them hang on to some shred of their jihadi bona-fides while slowly fighitng jihadis) but is not helpful to anyone else.
C. Several decades of jihadist propaganda (nurtured officially) has created a significant jihadist constituency in the educated classes. What the Marxists of yore would call the "class interests" of this segment force them to be anti-jihadi (those "class interests" being intertwined with a capitalist global economy and the modern world in general) but their ideological vocabulary is almost entirely Islamist and Jihadist. The resulting cognitive dissonance must give migraines to the American embassy and undermines (but does not stop) the anti-terrorist effort.
D. And ALL THIS is layered on top of the "baseline" level of insurgency one expects in any mismanaged, unequal, unfair, over-populated, under-represented, mis-educated, illiterate, discriminated against third world population (which shows up in the Hindu kingdom of Nepal, the secular republic of India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, etc in various forms, from large scale criminality to Maoist insurgencies). Which would be a large enough set of headaches for any country, but thanks to our brilliant general staff, we have added an islamist insurgency on top of it (and of course, the two merge in various creative ways).

My predictions for the future:
1. Very slowly, painfully and very very incompetently, the ruling elite will fight the jihadist insurgency, and some of them will get very rich doing so.
2. The baseline "Maoist" component of the insurgency could potentially have grown into a serious problem, but Islamism will coopt all other grievances and will save the ruling elite in the long run because they are so insane, the corrupt and vicious ruling elite will look better by comparison.
3. More of the same for many years to come. But humpty dumpty will not fall because India, China, Iran and America will spend sleepless nights figuring out how to keep humpty together...

05-28-2010, 07:01 PM
This comment grew up and became the following article:


05-29-2010, 12:26 AM
And now the article got a shave and a haircut and moved on to Outlookindia.com.

At this rate, it will soon dress up in an expensive suit and appear on WSJ...just kidding.


06-08-2010, 09:24 PM
I am sure something has been occurring in North Waziristan, but have missed any reports until this (Hat tip to Watandost): http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=29358

Situation in the troubled North Waziristan tribal region has witnessed a gradual improvement following an agreement on Monday that led to the release of 20 Taliban by the government and in return the militants allowed an Army convoy, stranded in Miramshah for the last 45 days, to proceed.

Sounds like the 'Stop & Go' policy of the recent past.

06-22-2010, 04:09 PM
RAND, 20 Jun 10: Counterinsurgency in Pakistan (http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2010/RAND_MG982.pdf)

This document examines counterinsurgency efforts in Pakistan and asks several questions:
What are the roots of the militant challenge in Pakistan?
What have Pakistan’s primary operations against militants been?
How effective have these operations been in achieving their goals?
And what are the policy implications?

To answer these questions, the document combines field research in Pakistan with a review of the literature on counterinsurgency and other relevant areas. While there have been numerous policy reports on Pakistan and its militant challenges, there has been little effort to systematically analyze the effectiveness of Pakistan’s operations and to apply relevant theoretical lessons.

06-24-2010, 01:34 PM
Brookings, 23 Jun 10: Beyond Madrasas: Assessing the Links Between Education and Militancy in Pakistan (http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/papers/2010/06_pakistan_education_winthrop/06_pakistan_education_winthrop.pdf)

This report takes a fresh look at the connection between schools, including but not limited to Pakistan’s religious seminaries, known as “madrasas,” and the rising militancy across the country. Poor school performance across Pakistan would seem an obvious area of inquiry as a risk factor for confl ict. Yet to date, the focus has been almost exclusively on madrasas and their role in the mounting violence. Outside Pakistan, relatively little attention has been given to whether and how the education sector as a whole may be fueling violence, over and above the role of the minority of militant madrasas.

The analysis builds on the latest, cutting-edge research on the education sector in Pakistan, as well as on risk factors for confl ict and militant recruitment and support. Madrasas are not nearly as prominent on Pakistan’s educational landscape as previously thought, and due to their small numbers and conflicting data on militant recruitment, cannot be considered the primary source of militancy across the country. The report highlights robust international evidence that low enrollment rates, including primary and secondary, are a risk factor for violence. While we lack in-country empirical data on education and militancy, this research suggests that the potential to mitigate the risk of continued militancy in Pakistan through investments in education aimed at expanding access is real. Scholars of confl ict agree that education is one of the few areas in which development policy can mitigate violence....

08-30-2010, 06:52 PM
Hat tip to Circling the Lion's Den; this story I suspect has been crowded by the news of the Pakistani floods: http://circlingthelionsden.blogspot.com/2010/08/wazirs-to-expel-mahsuds-from-south.html

Opens with:
The death of the respected cleric, Maulana Noor Mohammad (above) and 33 others in a suicide bombing in a mosque in Wana Bazaar in South Waziristan last Monday is likely to have enormous consequences in the tribal territories and risks the outbreak of serious warfare between the Wazir and Mahsud tribes.

Near the close:
If the Ahmadzai Wazir elders decide the Mahsuds of the TTP were responsible for Maulana Noor Mohammad's death then open hostilities are inevitable and TTP leader will have to fight both the Army and the Wazirs.

Looks like someone has miscalculated or wanted such a twist of fate.

08-30-2010, 06:55 PM
From Circling the Lion's Den again:http://circlingthelionsden.blogspot.com/2010/08/punjabi-taliban-leader-killed-in.html

Opens with:
A chorus of reports suggests that Usman Punjabi, leader of the Asian Tigers or Punjabi Taliban, and five of his followers were killed in a gunbattle with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan supporters in a dispute over an Arab widow in the Dandy Darpakhel area of North Waziristan on Saturday...(and ends with) From this report and the two that preceded it on this blog, it is clear that all is not well between the 'Brothers'. They are killing more of their own than their enemies. All in the name of Islam.

09-23-2010, 07:32 AM
A rare article on the Pakistani Frontier Corps, by an irregular and indirect SCW contributor Hamid Hussain:http://low-intensity-conflict-research.blogspot.com/2010/09/frontier-corps.html

Ends with:
In the one hundred year history of FC, every crisis brought changes to the organization making it a better force. Seismic shifts have occurred in the national security dilemma of Pakistan and militancy is now number one threat to country's social, political and economic health. In the changed threat environment, FC-KPK has a unique role to play in the national security of Pakistan. If fully supported by military leadership with adequate resources and a dedicated group of professional officers at different levels of
command, in due time, FC-KPK can become a robust, effective, professional
and proud organization defending western frontier. This will dramatically
reduce the need for induction of regular army troops in tribal areas at the
time of crisis.

Optimism is rare and so interesting for that alone, let alone the detail and insight.

Bob's World
09-23-2010, 07:44 PM
Just curious what others think as to what is more important:

A. maintaining the delicate cold war balance between nuclear India and nuclear Pakistan; or

B. Strong-arming Pakistan to go after the Taliban and AQ in the FATA?

My take, which I'm sure has some holes in it, is that nuclear deterrence is a delicate balance, and that Pakistan's employment of the Taliban as agents to maintain a degree of influence over Afghanistan, while at the same time allowing the Pastun regions to be largely self-governing was/is a part of that delicate balance. Giving them $1 billion in military aid also upsets this balance, but is so tempting of a bribe that they take it thinking they can do both: violate their long-standing agreement with the Pastu populace; balance detente with India and also maintain strong relations with the U.S.

What we forget, or overlook, is that both India and the Pashtu get a vote as well. We play a dangerous game with Pakistan; and Pakistan is playing that dangerous game as well. There are ways to get after AQ leadership without risking war between nuclear states. We should probably explore them. The tremendous conflict of interest we are creating for Pakistan cannot end well if we persist in this. At some point someone will miscalculate, and that miscalculation could lead to a nuclear exchange.

Who do we send the note of apology to when that happens? "Oops, we were so focused on hunting AQ we didn't notice how we'd tipped you into nuclear war. our bad."

09-23-2010, 09:12 PM
The tremendous conflict of interest we are creating for Pakistan cannot end well if we persist in this. At some point someone will miscalculate, and that miscalculation could lead to a nuclear exchange.

Who do we send the note of apology to when that happens? "Oops, we were so focused on hunting AQ we didn't notice how we'd tipped you into nuclear war. our bad."

Not trying to go off topic, as it is related to your post....but something I've been pondering for some time:

I'm strongly of the believe that the greatest risk of a future nuclear exchange(non-state actors using a nuke excluded) is between Pakistan and India.

And I think you're post is potentially quite valid.

My question is:

From a very big picture perspective, would a very fast escalating and very sharp conflict between Pakistan/India that might suck in China be such a terrible thing for the US strictly from a clinical/geopolitical standpoint?

As I view it(and my viewpoint could be horribly out of focus):

The US possesses about the greatest "overmatch" in both conventional and unconventional force projection over all likely combined opponents than just about at any time in history, and it may become increasing hard to maintain that "overmatch".

We are only partway through this rather long-term and rather ugly global financial crisis.

Peak Cheap Oil seems to be quite real.

The US will likely need to reindustrialize or seriously realign it's economy in the coming decade or two.

Wouldn't a conflict between Pakistan/India that could see China sucked into it, with the US attempting to stay on the sidelines(maybe trying to shape or contain it) potentially see the US maintaining it's global economic/political/military dominance for an extra generation or two?

I guess the way I'm looking at it.......couldn't a simple act of omission, rather than commission on the part of the US(failing to de-escalate Pakistan/India at the brink again) possibly see the US "win" big in a Machiavellian sense(assuming complex unintended consequences don't wreak havoc)?

If Pakistan is destroyed, and India/China are seriously knocked back economically, politically, and/or militarily wouldn't that provide the US the far easier ability to effect massive and drastic(and needed) domestic economic reform(blaming it on an external crisis), take a heap of fast growing energy use from Chindia off the global energy market depressing energy prices for a reasonable period post immediate crisis, and allow the US to continue to dictate the global political/economic agenda and buy an additional decade, 2, or 3 as a unipolar player?

Hammering the fast growing economies(and political/economic/military threat posed by) of a 1/3 of the world's population to sustain our own dominace.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist by any means....but I have been wondering for a bit now that if things go REALLY pear shaped in the region, is it possible the US could benefit simply by failing to act, or act fast enough?

While I by no means see it as a likelihood......but would something along these lines already have been wargamed as a possibility?

Interested in feedback.

Should I take some crazy pills?

09-24-2010, 06:26 AM
Just curious what others think as to what is more important:

A. maintaining the delicate cold war balance between nuclear India and nuclear Pakistan; or

B. Strong-arming Pakistan to go after the Taliban and AQ in the FATA?

Only two options? And why one at the exclusion of the other?

10-18-2010, 09:14 PM
Published on the e-journal Perspectives on Terrorism as 'The Pakistani Madrassah and Terrorism: Made and Unmade Conclusions from the Literature', which covers many points on a quick scan earlier:http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php?option=com_rokzine&view=article&id=130&Itemid=54

Parallel is an article on Madrassah in Indonesia 'Muslim Education, Celebrating Islam and Having Fun As Counter-Radicalization Strategies in Indonesia':http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php?option=com_rokzine&view=article&id=128&Itemid=54

Not all gloomy!

10-23-2010, 08:50 PM
I know I missed this, so hat tip to Melissa Payson for the reminder. This is a CNAS product, using a local NGO (CAMP) for the polling in the FATA.

Few places in the world have assumed as much importance for the United States and its allies since 2001 as Pakistan’s northwestern tribal regions, which have served as a base for the mix of militants seeking to attack the governments, militaries and civilians of the United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan and others. Yet our understanding of this region – its politics and history, U.S. involvement there, and the opinions of those who call it home – is painfully limited.

This project aims to help bridge that knowledge gap, by combining three streams of work from the New America Foundation’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative: A first-ever poll of sensitive political issues in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA); New America's on-going monitoring of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, and our series of of in-depth analyses on politics and militancy in Pakistan’s tribal areas, written by local Pakistani researchers and other regional experts.


Linked in is the definitive, open source map of drone strikes.

10-24-2010, 08:11 AM
Full title of a new Century Foundation report: 'Militancy in Pakistan’s Borderlands: Implications for the Nation and for Afghan Policy' by Hassan Abbas and link:http://tcf.org/publications/2010/10/militancy-in-pakistan2019s-borderlands-implications-for-the-nation-and-for-afghan-policy/pdf

A summary by the author on his website:http://watandost.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-report-militancy-in-pakistans.html

11-03-2010, 08:25 AM
Thanks to Melissa for picking this article up, written by Dr Maleeha Lodhi, ex-Pakistani Ambassador to the UK & USA, following a conference on:
Advancing policy implementation in Fata” ranged over security issues, Pakistan-Afghanistan relations, effectiveness of state governance, economic development, the international community’s role in stabilisation and most importantly, building a national consensus on Fata.


No surprises, but an airing of the issues in the region.

11-03-2010, 08:31 AM
Discovered in browsing:http://www.understandingfata.org/

With a sub-title within:
a sincere attempt to provide a better understanding of what the people of FATA want, and what they think of issues that matter to them. The thoughts and feelings expressed through the poll will influence policy decisions within Pakistan and abroad.

Opinion polling and more, all the documents are downloadable. The NGO behind the website explains itself:http://www.understandingfata.org/aboutcamp.php

I am currently working my way through one of their reports.

11-03-2010, 10:24 PM
Once again hat tip to Circling the Lion's Den; a feud within the TTP:http://circlingthelionsden.blogspot.com/2010/11/more-trouble-between-brothers.html

Which ends with:
This killing and others in recent weeks, including the apparent murder of one of Baitullah Mahsud's brothers, show that many of the militant islamist groups based along the border are beginning to break down and to destroy themselves. This process, exacerbated by the drone strikes that are killing many senior commanders and attrition by the Pakistan Army, is inevitable. Lacking the discipline of the Afghan Taliban and only motivated by the idea of plunder, these groups will eventually self-destruct.

11-03-2010, 10:28 PM
This article fits here and hat tip to Circling the Lion's Den; citing a think tank report and starts with:
For example, the 1997 Anti-Terrorism Act does not apply to residents of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, no matter where in Pakistan they are arrested. Instead, they must be dealt with under the Frontier Crimes Regulations, drawn up by the British in 1848 and designed to enforce collective responsibility. As Yusuf notes: When suspected militants are repatriated to FATA, they often rejoin the insurgency.


The report itself:http://www.eastwestcenter.org/fileadmin/stored/pdfs/apb077_2.pdf

11-07-2010, 11:49 AM
From FP a short article on the role of Karachi, not Quetta:
In fact, NATO sources say, most of the Afghan Taliban frontier leadership -- known as the Quetta Shura -- had for at least three years been sheltered in Karachi under an ultra-secret program run by the Pakistani security establishment and known as the "Karachi Project." The idea that most of the leadership of Taliban's was stationed in Quetta was a "smoke screen," a top NATO source told me. "In reality, it's Karachi Shura," confirmed a top NATO commander.

Then the apparent lessons learnt from the US FBI interrogation of David Headley, who did recce for Mumbai and other places:
While analysts have for years accused Pakistan's security establishment of playing a double game with militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba -- disavowing responsibility for their actions while retaining them as "strategic assets" to be deployed against India -- recent revelations emerging from the interrogation of David Headley, a Pakistani-American accused of complicity in the Mumbai attacks, threaten to blow the game wide open.

In Headley's telling, Pakistan is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between "good" jihadi groups -- those that launch attacks in India or Afghanistan -- and "bad" ones that wage against the Pakistani state. Indeed, that may have been the motive for the Mumbai assault.


Curiously this suggests that ISI and maybe others - politically - had a strategy; which is strongly contested by others, no that there is no national CT strategy. See the various articles on:http://watandost.blogspot.com/ and for example this article:http://watandost.blogspot.com/2010/11/unending-terrorist-attacks-in-pakistan.html

From which I quote:
Pakistan has proven that it is a country that cannot protect its own citizens -- in mosques, shrines, universities, shopping centers and police stations. How can it possibly protect the citizens of other countries?

11-17-2010, 09:50 PM
My comment on the latest attack in Karachi: http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?268028

12-24-2010, 03:19 PM
DIIS, December 2010: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan: An Attempt to Deconstruct the Umbrella Organization and the Reasons for its Growth in Pakistan's North-West (http://www.diis.dk/graphics/Publications/Reports2010/RP2010-12-Tehrik-e-Taliban_web.pdf)

The present report aims to describe the concept of the militant umbrella organization Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) by looking at the organisational structure, background and ideology of the group. Tactics and recruitment strategies are also discussed, along with the various financial sources that have helped sustain the TTP. Finally, the reasons for the spread and rise of the TTP are analysed....

01-04-2011, 04:10 PM

The killer has a very popular fan page already, at http://www.facebook.com/Malik.Mumtaz.Qadri
I know people are trying to have this page shut down, but I think the page should NOT be shut down. People are not "radicalized" on this page, they come to this page because they are "radicals". let others see them and see what the mindset is really like. Otherwise, we will be forever plagued by Westoxicated liberals whose only frame of reference is postmodern western academia and who only know radical Muslims through the eyes of some professor in Columbia University or Berkeley...little brown children, bravely struggling against the hegemonic discourse of the west or some such...
For background on the blasphemy business, you can see my article at http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2010/11/blasphemy-law-the-shape-of-things-to-come.html
Sorry for the rant, but its not a good day.

01-04-2011, 10:09 PM
My comments and some further discussion are at: http://accidentalblogger.typepad.com/accidental_blogger/2011/01/punjab-governor-assassinated-for-blasphemyomar.html

01-06-2011, 04:00 AM
also at http://blogs.outlookindia.com/default.aspx?ddm=10&pid=2410&eid=38#more

01-06-2011, 06:20 AM

Do you think Pakistan will pull out of its' death spiral before the catastrophe comes?

01-07-2011, 05:16 AM
My usual optimistic take is that the ruling elite is fond of skating close to the edge and have nothing to sell except nuisance value, so they do take risks. but they are not suicidal.
Also, even if the state is in trouble, the people are not worthless. They find ways to survive. No alternative is obvious. So we will survive.

On the other hand, there is this:


Since this is "from the horse's mouth", it tells me that the superthinkers at GHQ are going to try a new high jump (as friend Kamran Shafi would put it).

01-07-2011, 05:26 AM
Also, even if the state is in trouble, the people are not worthless. They find ways to survive. No alternative is obvious. So we will survive.

I like that. It is kind of poetic.

01-07-2011, 10:31 PM
A good commentary by a Pakistani on FP:http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/01/04/taseers_murder_another_sign_of_the_dysfunctional_p akistani_state

This says it all:
The cancer of fanaticism that consumed Taseer's life is a product of two generations of Pakistani state actions, starting with General Zia-ul Haq's offering up the country as an assembly line of warriors for the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union in the 1990s, and continuing with General Pervez Musharraf's offering up the same country as a staging ground for a war against those very warriors. The role of the war in Afghanistan and America's presence in the region is inescapable. It has helped catalyze and deepen the pre-existing groundswell of a radicalized the mainstream Pakistani narrative. This mess has been more than thirty years in the making. It is clear that no amount of externally-stimulated counterinsurgency or counterterrorism will do the trick. More is needed, much more. And all of it has to be organic and local. This, more than any other, is the greatest of intergenerational struggles.

01-08-2011, 02:32 AM
David, I will start by saying that I wish both you and Mosharref Zaid well. You are fair and well intentioned and Mosharraf sahib is a pragmatist who is trying to find some way to get from A to B and will write whatever helps. Since I think getting to B will be an improvement, I am with him too.
But, and there is always a but, the statement above is not really accurate. Among ourselves, wouldnt it be better to know the truth? I know the favored liberal propaganda line is that America is responsible for the jihadis, but I know many of the people involved in that wonderful period and I can tell you, the Americans would have been equally happy if the Afghan operation was staffed by hobbits..it was our brilliant General Zia who understood the potential for Jihad and made sure it was funded to the max; also, we accelerated recruitment and training AFTER the Americans left in 1991, so its a bit disingenuous to blame them for the growth of the jihadi menace. Finally, Musharraf's choice did not occur in a vaccum. The international terrorist network that our own intelligence agencies had facilitated had carried out an act of terrorism in the US. Whatever America's evil reasons for encouraging this menace for many years, it was now time to change course. What would Mosharref recommend? Staying the course with the jihadis was not an option. The crisis is not because America has "destabilized the region". The violence is due to jihadists refusing to go quietly into that good night. It would be perfectly accurate to say that they would never have gone quietly, though one can also say that their departure has not been well handled. But what is Mosharraf Zaidi's theory about how this could have been done without causing violence in Pakistan?

The elite is in trouble and deserves to be in trouble. American interference has been ham-handed and poorly handled...but better handling would not have prevented violence. There are three sources of violence: one is the element of violence seen in every third world country where a small corrupt elite lords it over the mass of the people. Second is the added layer of violence caused by Islamist fanatics in many different Muslim countries because their ideal society is incompatible with current worldwide trends. The third is absolutely unique to our nation: it is the army's own arming and training and financing and ideologically supporting the most fanatical and vicious elements in the country in some insane scheme to wrest Kashmir from India and project power into Afghanistan and beyond. They did this with no awareness of the fact that they were arming and training the very people who would drive them out of their plush houses in Islamabad and Defence housing estates. For that we can thank the National Defence University and other islands of unadulterated bull#### where people like Musharraf learned that the "complex strategic threat from India" necessitated arming and training these killers.
The problem is, the jihadis have no solution. Their "solution" is going to be a bloodbath with no stopping point. If the elite (corrupt, worthless, whatever, they are still our relatives and friends) does fall apart and run away to wherever they have stashed the cash, then we are in for a very violent disaster...one that may only be settled after china sends in those special forces they are training in Inner Mongolia for this eventuality (I hear the Chinese are very far-sighted....though this rumor too may turn out to be a liberal delusion)..

Bill Moore
01-08-2011, 03:57 AM
Omar Ali,

In your opinion who are the main supporters of the extremists in the Pakistan now? Why?

Who in Pakistan opposes the extremists? Why?

For both questions I know the answers are not easy, but in general terms (which is generally misleading), what populace groups and what government officials/organizations support and resist?

As you wrote, the extremists don't have a solution, they only offer blood shed and suppression of any learning and culture. It puzzles many of us as to why the extremists appear to have such a large following in Pakistan. People are rarely rational, so we shouldn't be surprised, but they're not normally suicidial either.

Is the Pakistan media afraid to tell the truth? What publications or other means informs peoples opinions there?

The rumor on the Chinese coming to the rescue is interesting, and it is the first I heard of it, but I guess it is believable to the people who see constantly see positive press reports about the Chinese despite their abysmal human rights record. Addtionally the Chinese went on record saying they only do business, they don't get involved in internal politics (not entirely true), but do the Pakistanis really think it is in the Chinese best interest to intervene in an ethnic conflict where there is no foreseeable end? Only we would do that.

Always enjoy reading your comments.

01-09-2011, 05:26 PM
Londonistani writes as ever an on the ground comment that is worth reading on Abu M:http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2011/01/pakistans-dilemma-salmaan-taseers-murder.html#comments

He ends with:
If events such as the killing of Taseer are the symptoms of a failing state, would a succeeding state be the solution? In a word, yes. Pakistan's antidote, if it arrives, will come in the form of good, effective governance, social justice, accountability and transparency. At the end of the day, only Pakistanis can achieve those things for their country.

I can vouch for the fact that this is not Bob's World writing under an alias.

Bill Moore
01-09-2011, 07:35 PM

Good post, and topic that has been discussed at length. Three questions for the community.

1. What is a failed state?

2. What happens after a state has failed?

3. Does foreign intervention only delay the natural evolution of the political process?

I think we have seen instances where the executive leadership has failed (the Philippines under Marcos) and a subsequent state emerged that was a little better. Perhaps the same in Romania? Poland? etc., but that depends on how you define failed State.

We have also seen the examples of Somalia where a subsequent State hasn't truly emerged, and the failed State status of Afghanistan after the communist government collapsed, where the bloodshed was stopped by the intervention of the Taliban.

What happens if the State fails in Pakistan? What would it look like? How would a new government emerge?

01-10-2011, 02:41 AM
Bill, to answer your earlier question about who supports extremism in Pakistan, my view is this:
1. In most modern states (perhaps all of them), most of the population follows the lead of the national security apparatus in deciding who is an enemy and who is a friend. The RARE exception is a narrowly-based and extremely unpopular regime that can, over time, lose so much credibility that their view does not influence most people. This is not about the daily "poll ranking" of the President of the US, its about totally losing faith in the state system as such (a rare and near-terminal event). In other words, I devalue the worth of surveying the population to find out who is enemy and who is friend. That does not mean no other factor plays a role, but its to emphasize that the state's propaganda is more important than almost any other factor.
2. The Pakistani population follows the lead of the Pakistani state. The state has identified Hindus, Jews and their agents as the enemies of the imaginary Ummah and its vanguard state (Pakistan). That deep state is the "supporter of extremism" that counts. There are several other powerful factors in play (and their powerfulness is a testament to the relative failure of the state) but even now, even today, nothing counts as much as what the deep state wants.
3. The deep state is not some imaginary abstraction. There is a very real apparatus of brain-washing, its organized, its operators know what they are aiming for. If you need to know who they are, check out: http://criticalppp.com/archives/33954
4. I know the above link is a partisan website with a very definite agenda. I just urge you to give thought to the possibility that the same may be said of the supporters of the deep state, but Western observers are trained to regard "mainstream media" as more or less free and middle of the road and to discount conspiracy theories about secret cabals. THat is a good policy in general, but always keep in mind that there ARE exceptions Sometimes, the paranoid DO have enemies...

Bill Moore
01-10-2011, 03:38 AM
I agree the media is the means to shape opinion and radicalize the populace, and it is also the means to send the message that cripples the radical message. Since apparently there is no dissenting voice against this extremism in the Pakistan media (I'm guessing, I don't know), then maybe he who controls the media is the one who controls the State or pseudo state?

01-10-2011, 06:45 PM
I would add that the media in Pakistan is reasonably free and liberal opinion does still exist. My point was that the "deep state" deploys real power to push forward a certain worldview that they consider very important to the survival of Pakistan (they are wrong in my opinion). This worldview supports extremism. This worldview may have privately changed in some people at the top in GHQ (maybe), but they have neither publicised this change of heart, nor asked their many many agents in the media to do so...that is the single most powerful factor in this equation.
Having said that, its possible that we are past some point of no return. I hope not, but maybe. Maybe they cannot publicly change their position because they have genuinely lost control of the situation. But in that case, we must start from this fact: that they have lost control of the situation. We cannot have it both ways..that they control the country and yet they cannot use their resources to influence ideology against the "extremists"...something is wrong with this picture.

01-10-2011, 07:06 PM

I read that the public education system in Pakistan teaches the worldview favored by the "deep state." Is that true?

01-10-2011, 07:18 PM
IPCS, 7 Jan 11: Reading Pakistan I - Who Killed Salman Taseer? (http://www.ipcs.org/article/pakistan/reading-pakistan-i-who-killed-salman-taseer-3312.html)

Yes, of course the security guard pumped bullets into Salman Taseer, the Governor of Punjab, who stood against the Blasphemy laws in Pakistan. But, did he really kill Taseer? Or is he only an expression and an instrument of a larger narrow religious chauvinism?

Salman Taseer was not assassinated for political reasons. His assassination was a culmination of his opposition to the blasphemy law in general, and more specifically, his efforts to commute the death sentence of Aasiya Bibi, awarded by the lower court on charges of blasphemy.
IPCS, 10 Jan 11: Reading Pakistan II - Four Implications of Salman Taseer's Assassination (http://www.ipcs.org/article/pakistan/reading-pakistan-ii-four-implications-of-salman-taseers-assassination-3314.html)

A voice of reason against the abuse of blasphemy law in Pakistan has been brutally silenced. What are the implications? If his assassination is a loss to the moderate voices in Pakistan, who stands to gain? What does this loss and gain mean for the future of Pakistan?

01-11-2011, 04:16 AM

I read that the public education system in Pakistan teaches the worldview favored by the "deep state." Is that true?

Absolutely true.http://www.cfr.org/publication/20364/pakistans_education_system_and_links_to_extremism. html

I have several comments on the following blog that may be of interest: http://www.brownpundits.com/2011/01/09/pakistans-road-to-disintegration/#comments

I dont know, but the thought has crossed my mind that America will not manage to turn the army in any significant way...I think the US wants to get out and the army will provide a relatively soft exit and thats about it. The mess that follows will be China's headache (and India's). Maybe thats not such a catastrophe. The Chinese start out with less baggage and they are more businesslike and ruthless. Hopefully, they will guide their local agents into some simulacrum of stability.
I am ranting and raving a little, so I will drop it for now. I really dont know how this will turn out. But if you want to know the deep state's latest attempt at humor, check out: http://aq-lounge.blogspot.com/2011/01/how-to-save-america-from-abyss.html

01-11-2011, 03:56 PM
Interesting article in DAWN: "The Rise of Mehran Man (http://news.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/irfan-husain-the-rise-of-mehran-man-740)":

Often, perceptive foreigners spot social trends that escape us because we are too close to them to see the changes going on around us. For instance, Burke identifies the shift away from English, and sees ‘Mehran man’ as urban, middle class and educated outside the elite English-medium system. He sees Muslims being under attack from the West, and genuinely believes that the 9/11 attacks were a part of a CIA/Zionist plot. Actually, my experience is that many highly educated and sophisticated people share this theory.

Burke continues his dissection of the rising Pakistani middle class: “Mehran man is deeply proud of his country. A new identification with the ummah, or the global community of Muslims, paradoxically reinforces rather than degrades his nationalism. For him, Pakistan was founded as an Islamic state, not a state for South Asian Muslims. Mehran man is an ‘Islamo-nationalist’. His country possesses a nuclear bomb….”

Mehran man’s views about the region and the world reflect contradictions and confusion. While India is home to Bollywood and IPL cricket, it is also viewed as the historic enemy. And while increasingly Islamic jihadis who kill Pakistanis are seen as terrorists, those who kill westerners or Indians are called freedom fighters. Small surprise, then, that public opinion in Pakistan no longer favours a pro-western agenda.

In his encounters with army officers, Burke sees a growing alienation from western goals and aims. According to him, the army is now full of Mehran men, and this has dramatically changed the institution’s orientation.

The rise of urbanized middle classes in India, China, Pakistan, and Russia may lead to greater prosperity and democratization, but also to increased political instability, radicalism, and hyper-nationalism as well. Germany and Japan in the early 20th century provide cautionary examples of how rising prosperity does not necessarily equate to greater liberalism, especially if economic conditions turn. The current economic crisis in Pakistan might be just such a turning point, and not for the better.

01-11-2011, 07:23 PM
I think the Mehran Man business is overrated. its true enough of army officers but the vast majority of Pakistanis are still urban poor or rural peasants, not "Mehran man". Mehran Man is ruling the place right now, but the basis for this creation is almost entirely imaginary (including extremely silly books like Indus Saga, and of course, the blessed "two-nation theory"). Mehran man will have to compromise with the reality of Pakistan's Indian and Afghan origins (with persian high culture thrown in) a bit more or he (and his women) are in for very serious trouble...

01-11-2011, 10:17 PM
Pakistan I think can be described as an egg that moves around as the wind blows and a variety of players armed with a variety of weapons try to hit it. Some clearly want to smash the egg and re-assemble it very differently. Bit by bit those overseas, including those of Pakistani heritage, shrug their shoulders and are less inclined to help the egg survive.

US, UK and other Western players policy has been to shore up the 'egg', but as we know it has also given the military players some weapons and loads of US$.

Earlier Bill asked:
What happens if the State fails in Pakistan? What would it look like? How would a new government emerge?

Remarkably the Pakistani state is quite resilient and it is civil society, especially the secular parts, that are being battered. The state will survive. Look like? A more Islamic state, in reality not the current rhetoric, without affecting the power of the urban and rural rich (assuming they stay). Yet another period of 'emergency' and with little role for the West.

01-11-2011, 10:39 PM
Isn't the big danger though that the Indians will panic or be provoked beyond endurance? What would happen then is beyond bad.

01-13-2011, 03:13 AM
No, the big danger is that Pakistan will become more overtly Islamist, will finally be cut off from international assistance, and will then fall into serious disorder due to the Islamist's inability to provide basic services and manage existing internal conflicts...(I assume that China will not pick up the tab; that in turn is based on the assumption that the Chinese know how to count money)
India cannot do anything dangerous (and will not do anything dangerous) as long as Pakistan is a functioning state. If it falls into disorder, they will face piracy, illegal immigration and terrorism threats like everyone else in the neighbourhood.
The US has the least to worry about, but will pull its hair out and invest large amounts up to that point as if it has a lot to lose. WHen you play worldcop long enough, you start to believe your own responsibilities are very serious.
I recognize the possibility that the overt Islamist takeover will be so ruthless that they will actually organize a functioning state. But it will not be the international threat that is being imagined. It will still barely keep its head above water while shooting thousands to maintain order.
A dystopian (and satirical/exaggerated) vision of that state is at http://accidentalblogger.typepad.com/accidental_blogger/2011/01/a-trip-to-pakistan-in-2022omar.html

01-23-2011, 10:49 PM
Hat tip to Circling the Lion's Den for drawing attention to the pakistani news report on:
..Colonel Imam, the former Pakistani ISI officer responsible for training many of the current leaders of the Afghan Taliban, including leader Mullah Omar, has been found murdered outside the town of Mir Ali in North Wazirstan.


One wonders how those within ISI who sympathise with the Taliban - the Pakistani variety - will react. Note the report implies those responsible are renegades. What will be more interesting is the reaction amongst the local populace.

02-02-2011, 06:04 PM
USIP, 1 Feb 11: Reforming Pakistan's Police and Law Enforcement Infrastructure: Is It Too Flawed To Fix? (http://www.usip.org/files/resources/SR266-Reforming_Pakistan‘s_Police_and_Law_Enforcement_In frastructure.pdf)

An effective police force is critical to countering insurgency. In Pakistan, an understaffed and underequipped police force is increasingly called on to manage rising insecurity and militant violence. This report evaluates the obstacles to upgrading the existing police system and recommends traditional and innovative reform options, including major restructuring of the total civilian law enforcement infrastructure, without which the police force cannot be effectively improved. Because Pakistan’s police capacity has direct implications for the country’s ability to tackle terrorism, the United States and its allies would realize counterterrorism dividends by helping law enforcement efforts through modern training and technical assistance.

03-02-2011, 10:39 AM

We go after the Taliban and Al-Qaeda because they kill innocent men, women & children in Afghanistan. They whine, weasel, and defend the same people who're killing off their government, and their country bit by bit. The duplicity, apologism, and excuses that go with their defense of this scum is disgusting and immoral.

03-02-2011, 03:27 PM
Like the man said, "It is as clear as the sun in the sky.", that duplicity and immorality, yet we refuse to see it. What does that say about us?

03-02-2011, 08:24 PM

03-02-2011, 08:53 PM
Keep in mind that they have no vocabulary for dealing with this. Many middle class pakistanis are already asking if this assassination was carried out by Blackwater to "malign Pakistan". I am not kidding.
Again, what people in the US frequently miss is the fact that these views are not fringe views. They are not even Glenn Beck style bull#### (where the bull####ter knows he is bull####ting and nobody in the policy establishment really believes his shtick)..in Pakistan, the lunacy is mainstream. Scratch Shuja Pasha and he probably believes its all a Jewish-Hindu plot too. Kiyani sahib is probably smarter, but even he wont have the vocabulary with which to challenge this discourse, so if his officers start the zionist conspiracy BS, he will just mumble and change the subject and pray that everyday mundane needs will keep most people working without going completely bonkers.

03-02-2011, 08:59 PM

Not bad at all. In fact, one of the better statements a high official in the US has made (the usual bit about "what Pakistanis desire" can be safely ignored). At least he openly questioned the blasphemy laws and stated the criteria by which a civilized nation should be judged.
Not that it will do much good. Zardari is courageous enough in a street brawler kind of way, but seems to lack the ability to deliver, and the army is focused on "beating India". They are not going to wake up until somebody drives them out of their housing societies. And they have the US over a barrel, or think they do, so why change course?

03-02-2011, 09:48 PM
A former colleague of mine is an Ahmadi Muslim who was born in Lahore around 1947. He said the persecution made possible under Pakistan's blasphemy laws is what caused his family to leave the country. Intisar became a naturalized American citizen and a U.S. Army pharmacist who retired as a major.

03-02-2011, 10:11 PM
If you are curious about the Pakistani middle class response: http://pkpolitics.com/discuss/topic/shahbaz-bhatti-assasinated

This is NOT one of the deep state's network of websites. Those (PKKH, Ahmedqureshi.com, rupeenews, etc) must be going deep into conspiracy mode by now but I have not seen them yet..

03-03-2011, 01:45 AM
If you are curious about the Pakistani middle class response: http://pkpolitics.com/discuss/topic/shahbaz-bhatti-assasinated

This is NOT one of the deep state's network of websites. Those (PKKH, Ahmedqureshi.com, rupeenews, etc) must be going deep into conspiracy mode by now but I have not seen them yet..

They just make crap up rather than looking at the truth. It's fairly pathetic and venal.

I don't like seeing how they're going to lie to themselves & cause a real war. Once Pakistan falls to the crazy militants, there will be a war, because that's what they want. Pakistan will be devastated. There is no scenario that has them winning anything. The militants will kill anyone who stands in the way of their fanatic goals, that's what they do, and that's all they're good for. They like to claim religion whenever they blasphemously & evilly claim to be killing in the name of god, so it's fairly ironically stupid that people listen to them over those matters. Little do they seem to understand that no one wins when everyone is setting out to kill people they don't agree with. Any religious dogma that advocates killing unarmed civilians as an answer to disagreement is a false theology that is not good, that has whatever good that was there corrupted like spoiled milk.

The bottom line is Pakistan is going to fall to these maniacs because they lack the will and decency to stop murderers. They're worrying about the CIA when they really need to be worrying about what $2 billion worth of bombs dropped on them would look like. That aside from what we could euphemistically refer to as a cost savings, because we wouldn't need to spend another $2 billion the next year for sure if they choose to give the rest of the civilized world no better options.

The fact is that not even MAD protects them, because they just won't get that far ever.

03-29-2011, 02:26 PM
Tom Ricks at Best Defense pointed out this story from the Asia Times.


The story states that Mr. Bin Laden has been moving about both sides of the Durand Line frequently in recent months visiting many people including Hekmatyar (sic). The author of the story thinks he is up to something and speculates at to what.

This seems to me an important thing and I wonder what others around here think.

03-29-2011, 09:33 PM

Strip away the historical, interesting angle there is a lot of speculation here about OBL's movements, based on alleged multiple sources within the Jihadist groups, groups that IIRC do not have a history of talking to outsiders. What I did not was that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is alleged to have had a visit, after the much rumoured talks with NATO and others. That I call exposure and high risk.

Overall, not convinced.

04-04-2011, 04:30 PM
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, 05:21 PM
My comment on the latest attack in Karachi: http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?268028

An interesting commentary by you.

While the article does indicate some of the reasons for the malaise, what, in your opinion can stem the rot.

The Pakistani websites seem to be spouting venom against the US for the drone attacks, manipulating the Pakistani govt and leaving it a vague suggestion that the US is running Pakistan. They are however silent on the US financial and military aid that keeps Pakistan afloat.

I am not sure what the Urdu media has to say since I do not know the Urdu script.

It is not that Pakistan is a failure. It appears that the Govt and even the Army are rudderless and have lost their vision. While encouraging the fundamental elements as s 'strategic weapon', they are allowing them to dismember Pakistan with unending bombing and massacre.

What is the answer to bring Pakistan back to the reality of the environment and bring back its stability?

04-06-2011, 05:30 PM
From the point of view of the "paknationalists", things are not going too badly. US and NATO funding for various needs has been helpful, but other sources do exist and will step in when and if the NATO infidels leave. For example, Saudi Arabia and the gulf states are going to need a lot of mercenaries in the coming days and where else will they get them? China is getting rich so fast it changes as you blink. Hopefully,they will pay in the next phase. Islamist insurgents create an ongoing problem, but the good jihadis are still behaving and the bad ones mostly kill civilians. Its not the end of the world.
I write this with some bitterness, because I think they are mistaken. But they are not COMPLETELY mistaken. So the mess goes on. You can check out my views at

04-06-2011, 05:39 PM
you can see some of the paknationalist viewpoint at


I must add that I have heard the argument (from leftist friends who credit the US with great Machiavellian abilities) that all these websites are CIA fronts...I find that hard to believe, but its a good time to say "how would I know"...

04-07-2011, 03:47 PM
Thank you.

The major players/ factors in the arena of Pakistan and its stability, as far as I see, are Pakistan Government, the Army, the ISI, the good and bad jihadis, the growing sub-nationalism, the internecine historical rivalry between the Sunnis and the Shias, the targeting of the Sufis and the marginalising of the minorities to include the Ahmediyas.

Then there are the external factors, namely, the US and its actions in Afghanistan, the historical baggage in the form of India, Iran, China (to include China's fear of Islamic assistance to the Uyghurs), the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia.

We will discuss their involvement and effect on the situation later.

The so called democracy appears to have lost the authority (if one goes by the websites of Pakistan) and even the Army appeared to have lost out with the people after the Raymond Davis case, where the US cleverly used the Sharia to get out a rather tricky situation. This apparently infuriated the people more since they could not condemn the provision of the Sharia and yet at the same time, found it difficult to accept the 'escape' of a 'killer' of Muslims. The sacked Foreign Minister did only inflamed the situation.

The manner in which assassin of the Governor of Punjab was feted and the killing of the Christian minority Minister does indicate that the fundamentalists are on the ascendancy and the Govt writ is negligible.

The never ending bombing of mosques, shrines etc gives the impression that either the internal intelligence agencies are defunct or they are in collusion.

The militant fundamentalist organisation escape security scrutiny since they cover themselves with the guise of being philanthropic organisations.

Then the Courts seem to have taken a lax view towards those who are apprehended for these acts of crime.

To an external observer, it appears as if the Government has lost its grip over governance.

The US has its own agenda chalked out. For good or for worse, it would be naive to believe that the US will leave Afghanistan lock, stock and barrel, after so many have been sacrificed and so much money has been invested. It must also be remembered that they came into Afghanistan, not merely to get rid of the AQ, but for greater strategic reasons as follows:

a) to link the Caspian oil to Gwadar. It would do marvels for the US economy as also establish US presence in an area that is strategically important. (One may peruse Dick Cheney's Defence Policy Guidelines and the Oil Policy, when he was the Secretary of Defence).

b) have a hold over Balochistan wherein having a clear route for the oil pipeline to Gwadar, as also have a leverage over Pakistan and also, Iran - present to both some sort of a 'threat in being'.

c) neutralise China from Gwadar so that the Straits of Hormuz is 'safer' as also eliminate any possibility of the Chinese establishing electronic surveillance over US actions in the Middle East.

India, has it own agenda, as is reported in the Pakistani media. It is obvious that if Balochistan is in a state of unrest, it is to India's advantage since the Pakistani Army would be dispersed in the NW and Balochistan and thereby the pressure on Kashmir would be less.

China, is in a overdrive to compete with the US and without oil it will slow down the pace. They are also aware of the problems that could arise in using the Indian Ocean route to including the chokepoints of the Straits of Hormuz and Malacca. Therefore, the requirement of Gwadar, and a safe and secure route through Balochistan to the Karakorum and into East Turkmenistan. They have also organised a route through Myanmar and a direct route to East Turkmenistan from the Caspian. Hence, it indicates the importance China places in so far ensuring an uninterrupted oil supply.

Another fear of China and which is usually not spoken of, is the fear of the influence of the world wide fundamentalist movement having an adverse effect on the Uyghurs. This fear has pressured China to fast pace the demographic change in East Turkmenistan through Han migration, forced assimilation through marriage, depriving Uyghurs of white collar jobs subtly by rejecting them since they do not know Mandarin. This discrimination has spurred Uyghurs opting for education in Mandarin instead of their native language. They are forgetting their culture, traditions, customs and language. Soon, the threat of Islam would be a matter of the past. This forcible assimilation is not new to the Han Chinese. They have done so throughout history wherein today the Han Chinese population is said to be at 97% in China. That this has been feasible is because they converted the 'eastern barbarian' and the 'western barbarians'. The forcible assimilation is well documented in Olsen's An Ethnohistorical Dictionary - China.

As far as Iran is concerned, it is concerned about the Balochis since Eastern Iran has the same ethnic mix. That apart, the historical divide of Shia Sunnis also impact the relationship. The recent happenings in East Iran sort of soured the relations.

We are well aware of the equation Pakistan has with the Middle Eastern countries.

If this be the scenario, then what would be the Pakistan's strategy to balance all these contradictions, if you will, and emerge unscathed so to say.

04-07-2011, 06:30 PM
Nobody will emerge unscathed.
I am personally a hippie liberal at heart, so I just wish everyone would just get along. But if it aint gonna happen, it aint gonna happen.

04-08-2011, 03:02 AM
What if an "unthinkable" happened; and the US were to withdraw all armed forces (and aid) from South Asia and the Middle East.

In that posited scenario, what would the geopolitics of India, Pakistan and the adjacent regions look like ?



04-08-2011, 03:19 AM

If I can chime in. I think we are in the odd positions of saving Pakistan from the Pak Army/ISI. If we were to get out completely as you postulate, the Pak Army/ISI would get all puffed up with their mightyness and take actions that would eventually cause a showdown with India. That would be too horrible to contemplate.

04-08-2011, 05:10 AM
The 'unthinkable' that the US will quit Middle East is unthinkable so to say :D

US economy is powered by Oil and even if the US can find other sources within the US, it will not use up its 'strategic reserve' and will depend on outside sources, mainly the Middle East.

If the US quits Afghanistan, then there is good reasons to believe that China and Russia will move in, maybe directly or through proxies. It is believed that there are large untapped deposits of mineral resources in Afghanistan. Russia will be interested since it will open an avenue to the Indian Ocean, through Iran, with which it has an ambivalent relationship and would do its utmost to keep China out. This is feasible since China supports Sunni Pakistan and there is the real threat of a Greater Balochistan, sponsored by Pakistan since such a movement will distract the Balochis and would curb their anti Pakistan activities.

India will not be abandoned by the US. The US interest in India is vast, given the market and the fact that it is the bulwark of US interest against China. India geographical shape wherein it juts in, into the Indian Ocean is ideal to keep the eastern and western flank of the Indian Ocean under check. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India is like a sentinel over the Malacca Straits as also a checkpoint to ingress into the Bay of Bengal, hence Chinese sea route interests in Myanmar. It is, however, a moot point as to how much India will bend to allow a free access to the US of her facilities, even though it will be a salutary check on Chinese interests in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and even Gwadar.

In the event the US quits South Asia, it will not abandon its covert activities in Pakistan. Pakistan, unfortunately, is on the boil. Subnationalism and sectarian activities, apart from the fundamentalists, are at work in Pakistan and this is dangerous for the polity and integrity of the nation. There is no telling if the US, assisted by other, will not give these activities a churn so as to 'immobilise' Pakistan.

China, on the other hand, will assist Pakistan to maintain status quo, enforce its writ in Balochistan, for obvious reasons, though it will not be too discomfited if the areas where the Islamic fundamentalists are kept on the boil, since it will ensure that these divisive interests do not manifest itself in East Turkmenistan.

It is obvious that such a scenario of instability in Pakistan will not keep the Govt or the Army calm. Given the fact that the US would have pulled out its troops and there would be no threat in the western half of Pakistan, it would use the fundamentalists as the 'strategic weapon' to not only heat up Kashmir through its proxies, but also undertake terrorist act within India to keep India on tenterhooks.

It would then be the ideal scenario for war between India and Pakistan, and given the delicate situation in Pakistan, could lead to a nuclear exchange.

Therefore, it would be to no one's interest that the US should leave the region, lock stock and barrel.

04-08-2011, 02:09 PM
An insightful comment IMHO and opens with:
The two successive attacks last week on pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlur Rahman, who heads Pakistan's largest religious party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), caught many observers by surprise. Yet these attacks against a strong supporter of the Taliban give credence to increasing evidence of rifts among the Taliban factions in Pakistan, whose central leadership - insofar as one can say the movement has a central leadership - is underground, and their organizational structure shattered in face of the increasing number of drone strikes and military operations. Yet this division masks new efforts by Taliban supporters in the Pakistani government to bring some militant groups, including the group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) back in the fold, as the country's military and security services plan for the future.

Ends with:
Indeed, while no one can deny Pakistan's connection with the Taliban and other groups, both local and foreign, analysts and security officials believe some fighters have escaped the grip of the country's intelligence services, leading in part to the rash of recent attacks on government installations and even pro-militant figures. Even as Pakistan re-orients its strategy towards militants as part of their planning for Afghanistan's future, these "splinters" may continue to wreak havoc with the government's best-laid plans.

On other threads IIRC we have discussed the impact of talks with the Afghan Taliban, including arrests of leaders and Pakistan's relations with others.


I still remain puzzled how serious strategists in Pakistan, overwhelmingly still military-dominated, see a positive national role for "splinters", who might just set off a crisis, even war with India.

Note I do not dismiss talking to insurgents, which the UK has followed in secret, well sort of secret to the public, in Northern Ireland and of course the much mooted talks with the Afghan Taliban of late.

04-08-2011, 03:04 PM
Maybe we should blame the West.
Our strategic horizon, in the times of the great maharaja Ranjit Singh, was limited to Northern India, Afghanistan and maybe Tibet (which one of Ranjit Singh's generals offered to conquer after he conquered Ladakh). But starting in 1953, our "brightest officers" were sent to study at American institutions of strategic learning. They came back with half-baked theories which they proceeded to teach in their own "National Defence University". From such seeds grew poisonous fruits like "strategic depth" and Shireen Mazari. The rest is history.
Islamofascism and Islamist extreme and murderous factionalism (exemplified by the Kharijites and now the TTP) have always been present (actually or potentially) in the Islamicate world and were available for use, but without the generous assistance of the University of Nebraska, would we have reached such brilliant heights?
Now, the genie is out of the bottle. And our Rommels and Guderians have no clue what to do, and more important, no vocabulary with which to construct an alternative. I think (and hope) that the pressure of economic necessity will give birth to alternatives at some point. Until then, we are condemned to more of the same.
The only rays of hope are that Indian "strategic thinkers" like B Raman seem to have more sense than Shireen Mazari and may actually help rather than hinder the transition. And the Chinese pulitburo (though not necessarily the PLA) is reasonably sane. On such thin threads hangs our fate....

Bill Moore
04-08-2011, 06:25 PM

The future would look brighter if there were much resistance to the extremists from political leaders. But, because of either fear or opportunism, there isn’t. The failure of virtually the entire political establishment to stand up for Mr Taseer suggests fear; the electioneering tour that the law minister of Punjab took with a leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba last year suggests opportunism. “The Punjab government is hobnobbing with the terrorists,” says the security officer. “This is part of the problem.” A state increasingly under the influence of extremists is not a pleasant idea.

The Article summed up four troubling threads that have a negative impact on Pakistan:

1. Pakistan's strategic position
2. Islam's role in the nation
3. A useless government
4. Dominance of the Armed Forces

04-08-2011, 09:42 PM

Read and weep.

04-09-2011, 01:22 AM
by positing two things ("Let's Pretend the Unthinkable 02"):

1. US withdraws military forces and military aid from South Asia and the Middle East.

2. US continues trade and commerce and economic aid in South Asia and the Middle East.

Why would any nation refuse to trade with the US under those circumstances, and elect a "Shut the Door" policy vs the US ?

Is there any military advantage to the US by continuing military forces and military aid in South Asia and the Middle East - other than to enhance US military operations in South Asia and the Middle East ?

Let's also be clear: "Never Again, but ..." (re: military force) does provide exceptions for presently-undefined "extreme cases".



04-09-2011, 05:16 AM
Now, the genie is out of the bottle. And our Rommels and Guderians have no clue what to do, and more important, no vocabulary with which to construct an alternative. I think (and hope) that the pressure of economic necessity will give birth to alternatives at some point. Until then, we are condemned to more of the same.
The only rays of hope are that Indian "strategic thinkers" like B Raman seem to have more sense than Shireen Mazari and may actually help rather than hinder the transition. And the Chinese pulitburo (though not necessarily the PLA) is reasonably sane. On such thin threads hangs our fate....

You are more well versed on the subject than me. Nonetheless, if I may play the Devil's Advocate.

One wonders if the Rommels and Guderians do not have a clue or is it that they are being rutted in the niche that has become sort of a legacy from the very start when Pakistan became a Nation?

As I see it, the whole issue of the Army vs the Government (or governance) stems from the 'animosity' that was there between the 'sons of the soil' of what became Pakistan and the Mohajirs. This apparently has manifested itself, subtly, if you will, in the flow of Pakistan's short history.

The 'sons of the soil' of Pakistan, mostly illiterate or of the feudal strain and of the Army, were the inheritors of what became Pakistan. On the other hand, the Mohajirs, being educated and having expertise from their profession in undivided India in the bureaucratic, judicial and commerce realms, usurped the reins of power of what became Pakistan. It was, thus. obvious that this was not to the liking of the macho 'sons of the soil'.

The Mohajirs, being astute, realised that they were rootless in comparison. And therefore, they had to find ways and mean to establish their relevance to the State of Pakistan. Nothing could be better for ensuring their 'stamp' on Pakistan than having their language, Urdu, as the National Language. And there is no doubt, a National Language plays a major part to smoothen the rough edges and gives an ascendancy apart from subtly suggesting a supremacy of the group (the same is the case in India, where Hindi has been made the Official [note: note National] Language of India).

That apart, the Mohajirs laid great emphasis on Islam as the raison d'etre for Pakistan. None could dispute that since it would be blasphemous to do otherwise (note how conveniently Jinnah's address to the Constituent Assembly on 11 Aug 1947 was conveniently forgotten as soon as it was given). Thus, it established an anti Indian (read Hindu) psychology, so as to divert the attention from them being the rootless lot who had usurped the rightful place of the 'sons of the soil'.

Not to be outdone, the 'sons of the soil' made hay in the Kashmir vacillation by sending in tribal hordes, backed by their Army. They, thus, turned the tables on the Mohajir by championing Islam and the anti Indian sentiments churned by the Mohajirs as the cause.

In the bargain, the Army (read: sons of the soil) established their equal relevance to Pakistan and as a 'power centre' of Pakistan.

And then the story continued throughout the history of Pakistan with the see saw of civil vs the military in governance and power peddling.

Zia, went one step further. He incorporated the fundamentalists as the flag bearers of Islam when he unleashed them against the Soviets. Thereafter, he institutionalised these fundamentalists as a 'strategic weapon'.

However, the 'strategic weapon', became unemployed after the overthrow of the Soviets in Afghanistan. They could have created problems within Pakistan, and so they were vectored into Kashmir.

OBL ruined the Kashmir roadshow by organising 9/11.

US came down heavily in Afghanistan and the fundamentalists were on the run.

The Pakistan Govt, playing ball reluctantly with the US in the WoT, did some damage to the fundamentalists' infrastructure. The fundamentalists, finding their space narrowing, not only struck against the ISAF with vengeance but also against Pakistan. Initially, they targeted the Govt machinery and not finding adequate results or reaction, turned to make Pakistan a total chaos, by splintering into various group with various agendas and started targeting the population and fanning internecine sectarian rifts in the form of bombing Shia, Sufi, Ahmediya etc shrines and prayer places, while whipping up religious frenzy and recruiting 'religious warriors' in their various madrassa, well funded by the Saudis preaching the Wahabi doctrine that brooks no quarters to be given to the 'enemy'.

In this total internal and external confusion created by the fundamentalists and the fact that the 'strategic weapon' could not be forsaken for future use, the Pakistan governance and the Guderians and Rommels, while having all good intentions to bring in stability, have been reduced to a state of paralysis. They are at sixes and sevens and are not finding a solution how to resolve the contradictions of keeping afloat the bonhomie with the US and at the same, keep the fundamentalists on its right side.

It is a Catch 22 for them.

04-09-2011, 05:29 AM
by positing two things ("Let's Pretend the Unthinkable 02"):

1. US withdraws military forces and military aid from South Asia and the Middle East.

2. US continues trade and commerce and economic aid in South Asia and the Middle East.

Why would any nation refuse to trade with the US under those circumstances, and elect a "Shut the Door" policy vs the US ?

Is there any military advantage to the US by continuing military forces and military aid in South Asia and the Middle East - other than to enhance US military operations in South Asia and the Middle East ?

Let's also be clear: "Never Again, but ..." (re: military force) does provide exceptions for presently-undefined "extreme cases".



If the US quits ME and South Asia, it will hand it over to Russian and Chinese who will corner the areas under its 'sphere of influence'.

Already the Chinese are operating in large number in the Gilgit Baltistan area and it has the Gwadar port, next to the Straits of Hormuz, under its influence.

As per one source, about 15 tankers carrying 16.5 to 17 million barrels of crude oil pass through the strait on an average day, making it one of the world's most strategically important choke points. This represents 40% of the world's seaborne oil shipments, and 20% of all world oil shipments.

The strategic importance of the Straits of Hormuz is thus established and relinquishing this advantage (US has a naval base in Bahrain) would have serious consequences to the US wanting to remain as the sole superpower.

If India comes into the Russian 'sphere of influence', then the effect requires no elaboration.

04-09-2011, 06:42 AM
I'll "bombard" you tomorrow - re: this ...

from Ray

If the US quits ME and South Asia, it will hand it over to Russian and Chinese who will corner the areas under its 'sphere of influence'.

Already the Chinese are operating in large number in the Gilgit Baltistan area and it has the Gwadar port, next to the Straits of Hormuz, under its influence.

As per one source, about 15 tankers carrying 16.5 to 17 million barrels of crude oil pass through the strait on an average day, making it one of the world's most strategically important choke points. This represents 40% of the world's seaborne oil shipments, and 20% of all world oil shipments.

The strategic importance of the Straits of Hormuz is thus established and relinquishing this advantage (US has a naval base in Bahrain) would have serious consequences to the US wanting to remain as the sole superpower.

If India comes into the Russian 'sphere of influence', then the effect requires no elaboration.

As to the last sentence ("India comes into the Russian 'sphere of influence'"); no way. You (India) cozing up to a Russki is about as likely as you mating with a skunk.

So, "Nyet": the Indo-Aryans of the Old World and the very mutant Indo-Aryans of the New World still have lot to talk about - and achieve a commonality.

My reason for not being more explicit is that I spent too much time tonite on this, Field Artillery, Ping and Booze (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=119001&postcount=92), which may give you some idea of from whence I come.

In fact, you may want to PM me and see where both of us stand. For me, in summary, a "back woods" regional lawyer (ala Davy Crockett) - as from Rajastan > Delhi > Rajastan (you get the idea, I'm sure).



04-09-2011, 12:35 PM

Does your refined hypothetical include cutting Israel loose?

04-09-2011, 07:57 PM

from Carl
Does your refined hypothetical include cutting Israel loose?

Putting it as you have makes it look harsh - cutting the rope to someone staying afloat in a life preserver comes to my mind image. That's not a criticism BTW. We do need a change from the suger-coated doubletalk of the Beltway

But withdrawing military forces and military aid from a region has to mean exactly that - if that is the proposition.

Continuing with what we (US) have become accustomed to in the Middle East and South Asia (oil, minerals, Israel, etc.) is a major reason why the US is unlikely to withdraw military forces and military aid from the Middle East and South Asia. And, of course, to those who believe that the US must be the sole superpower (e.g., control of Hormuz as Ray points out), that is another major (in fact, probably sufficient) reason not to withdraw.

I expect what role the US will play in the future will be determined by economics, not by the logic or illogic of futuristic propositions.



04-10-2011, 12:56 AM
I suspect that a lot of "strategic thinking" basically exists because we employ strategic thinkers. Otherwise, it doesnt really matter who controls the bloody straits of hormuz. Not in the present world system....we COULD move to a situation where it matters, but then so many other things will change and collapse that talking about it as if the rest of the world remains the same and X blocks Y is just meaningless.
MOre to the point, the best thing the US could do would be to establish a successful pax Americana (which includes buy-in from all powers, including China) without going bankrupt, but that aint gonna happen.
THe next best thing is to get out and make sure you can pull China into playing superpower in afghanistan. Then sit back with coke and popcorn and watch the #### go down in 3D....

04-10-2011, 07:16 AM
Continuing with what we (US) have become accustomed to in the Middle East and South Asia (oil, minerals, Israel, etc.) is a major reason why the US is unlikely to withdraw military forces and military aid from the Middle East and South Asia. And, of course, to those who believe that the US must be the sole superpower (e.g., control of Hormuz as Ray points out), that is another major (in fact, probably sufficient) reason not to withdraw.

I expect what role the US will play in the future will be determined by economics, not by the logic or illogic of futuristic propositions.



This link would give an idea as to whether soft power itself can succeed.

Contrary to what many politicians and talking heads tell Americans, a false choice exists between what are often referred to as hard and soft power. A country's military resources (its hard power) and the diplomatic tools it uses to persuade others without resorting to coercion (its soft power) operate most efficiently in tandem....
Link (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2009/06/sustaining-american-leadership-with-military-power)

Soft power alone cannot determine a country's influence on other countries.

The US could embark on the Iraq War on the slogan of 'Freedom and Democracy' and WMD, even though it was patently unjustifiable was because the US was militarily and economical strong and thus could mute any serious international uproar. If it had been any other country, there would have been international condemnation and if it were a weak country, then there would be sanctions imposed.

Therefore, a nation has to be militarily and economically relevant to dictate its terms.

As I see it, economics cannot be seen to be independent of being a relevant militarily. China may try what it wants, but it is still not militarily relevant and hence cannot make its writ run, even though it is an economic powerhourse.

The fact that the US is a military power, it is dictating the convertible currency for world trade. notwithstanding the pressure to convert to other currencies.

Therefore, maybe, the US will have to maintain her supremacy as the world sole global superpower through military and economic might

I suspect that a lot of "strategic thinking" basically exists because we employ strategic thinkers. Otherwise, it doesnt really matter who controls the bloody straits of hormuz. Not in the present world system....we COULD move to a situation where it matters, but then so many other things will change and collapse that talking about it as if the rest of the world remains the same and X blocks Y is just meaningless.
MOre to the point, the best thing the US could do would be to establish a successful pax Americana (which includes buy-in from all powers, including China) without going bankrupt, but that aint gonna happen.
THe next best thing is to get out and make sure you can pull China into playing superpower in afghanistan. Then sit back with coke and popcorn and watch the #### go down in 3D....

I wonder if employing strategists leads to 'strategic thinking'. The whole ball game is as ancient as possibly mankind. In China, there is a strategy game called 'Go'. It is ancient and very interesting.

The chokepoints of the world are important to 'exert' influence, the same way as sanctions are used to exert influence. While sanctions can be circumvented, choking of a 'chokepoint' carrying essential economic ware for sustenance cannot be. For instance, hypothetically, the Straits of Hormuz is made unpliable, imagine the effect on China's economy. China is aware of the dangers of the chokepoints and hence are feverishly devising alternate routes to ensure the needed oil supply; they being the direct pipeline from the Caspian, the pipeline through Gwadar and the one through Myanmar.

As far as China entering Afghanistan in any role, she would baulk at such a move for the simple reason that she will have to take sides. She cannot afford to upset any side of Muslim sentiment because of her internal problem in East Turkmenistan where the party whose sentiment has been rubbed, could interfere and cause immense problems for China and may even upset China's attempt to Sinicise the Uyghurs.

04-10-2011, 06:44 PM
I think most folks at SWC endorse DIME. For each, the letters may size differently depending on the time and circumstances (METT-T or METT-TC as one likes). For me, the D really should be a "P", where Diplomacy is only one aspect of the Political Struggle. The Political Struggle has to be executed in co-ordination with the Military Struggle. Both the Military Struggle and Political Struggle have to be driven by the same Policy (Politik per CvC) and be aimed at the same end result required by Policy. So much for theory.

US diplomacy in general (not all, but much) has looked to me like the nice little puppy dog avatar who appears when I run Windows XP Search. That little mutt just cries out to be liked - "please like me; pretty please". Another aspect of US diplomacy has been its apparent need to make a deal - regardless of future costs to ourselves and others. Those factors, combined with what seems another apparent need to talk too much, incline me to discount US diplomacy.

Thus, I have a higher degree of confidence in the "M" than in the "D". BTW, as to "M", we have a solid history of "breaking things" (we do that well), regardless of what our current "Political Class" may believe.

Personally, I don't care if the US is the "sole superpower". I do care that the US has the "M" to destroy all realistic threats to its existence. That being said, from a global standpoint, "I" (broadly defined) and "E" (broadly defined) are more important.

Heh, I'm a clipper ship guy - with a David Porter in the background. :)



04-10-2011, 07:54 PM

I think that is the US were to pull out of the area, the Saudis and the Iranians would get into a big fight. How quickly I don't know. Each would seek allies which would draw in Pakistan which would then draw in India. It might even draw in Israel since they would make a capable ally and would need the money. Or maybe before they got into their big fight they might cooperate for a little while to put the squeeze on Israel, which we would then respond to, which in turn might lead to oil transport by sea selectively interdicted. All this might lead to the Chinese going into an accelerated panic for fear of the sea lanes being threatened which might lead them to build a really big navy to protect that long and chokepoint strewn route. If they did that it would lead to very nervous countries to include us, India and Japan. And on and on and on.

It would be a big and very dangerous mess.

What does DIME mean?

04-10-2011, 09:25 PM
My point (not made very well) was that the world as it exists (and as we take for granted most of the time) would already have collapsed if X is blocking the straits of Hormuz for Y. And that would be such an awful calamity that it is worth some effort to avoid that. And that China and Russia and India and Iran all understand that at some level. People take advantage of the US because the US lets them take advantage (not necessarily altruistically, but because special interests within the US put their profits ahead of the greater national interest, or because well meaning "good people" misunderstand stuff because they have spent too much time in good Universities)...
As we leftist hippies used to say "a different world is possible"...its actually the world we already have, with fewer wars and less strategic thinking.

04-10-2011, 11:57 PM
I'm aware of the worst case scenario. If everyone else, except the US, gets into a Middle Eastern - South Asian brawl, the US should be able to tough it out better than most other countries. Some parts of the US have gone soft; others haven't.

D = Diplomatic

I = Information

M = Military

E = Economics

"I" can be more broadly defined as Information in and out with analysis of same (giving us Intelligence). "E" can be more broadly defined to also include Finance, Trade, Commerce, Production. "Legal" cuts across all of these areas; but who cares about that. ;)

The idea is to take into account and balance "DIME" in considering National Security Policy. There are other acronyms used.

Good National Security Textbooks (FREE):

U.S. Army War College Guide to National Security Issues, Vol I (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?PubID=1004): Theory of War and Strategy, 4th Edition

U.S. Army War College Guide to National Security Issues, Vol II (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=1005): National Security Policy and Strategy, 4th Edition



04-11-2011, 09:11 AM
Way back in 1968 the UK decided to reduce it's role, in all aspects, 'East of Suez' and withdrew over a short period from a number of bases - such as Aden and Singapore. At the time the UK was the only major power with deployed military forces in the region; much of the effort was multi-lateral, principally with Commonwealth nations and some Persian Gulf nations.

A variety of suggestions were made about the doom that would follow IIRC. In reality little happened.

In one key "choke point" the Straits of Hormuz the UK continued to have a direct role, in tandem with Oman; the Gulf of Aden was left alone, although the French were in Djibouti.

South Asia has seen serious involvement by China (in Pakistan), USA recently and historically Russia (ex-USSR) in India. Other nations, like the USA and Japan, are far behind. Containment to assist peace aside and national advantage, principally in selling weapons, what real national interest has been served?

Yes times have changed since 1968, just two examples: local nations have a greater role and there is the presence of many more non-local nations.

04-11-2011, 12:28 PM
I've often thought that fear of what the Russians or Chinese might do is a greater threat to the US than anything the Russians or Chinese might do. Fear is rarely a sound basis for policy.

04-11-2011, 03:06 PM
Color me fearful.

In 1968 the Americans still had a gigantic navy. If the British pulled out it didn't make much difference because our huge navy still insured free seas, even with the effort in VN. All the other states in the area were relatively weaker then compared to the USN. Now we have only a relatively big navy that is getting littler and littler. But there is no other navy to take its' place as the USN could take the place of the RN in the old days. (Is there still an RN?)

If we were to completely pull out of the middle east and south Asia, to include Diego Garcia I presume, I think the states with interests in the area could legitimately conclude that the world had fundamentally changed, the USN wasn't going to guarantee free seas as it had since the end of WWII. People would get very nervous about that and when people get nervous, dangerous things happen.

If the most dangerous things happened, we would be drawn in. Fortress America can't stand on its own, or won't, if only because of emotional ties to Israel.

Mike: Parts of the US may not have gone soft, but do those parts have more, or less influence than the parts that have gone soft? If the soft parts have the political power, then the country will be that.

04-11-2011, 03:09 PM
These so called 'fears' are actually geostrategic and geopolitical 'scenarios' that could occur.

And to be ready to face them rather than be surprised and rudderless, 'contingency plans' for all possible scenarios are prepared.

All countries, big and small, prepare such contingency plans.

These scenarios may or may not play out, but then forewarned is forearmed.

04-11-2011, 04:43 PM
But its also worth keeping in mind where the "level of analysis" is in any given debate. There are many mistakes being made at much narrower focus...the wide-angle debate may not be as relevant to some of these affairs, but may be used to score points and support a lower level policy that really doesnt make sense AT ITS OWN LEVEL..

04-12-2011, 12:25 AM
If we were to completely pull out of the middle east and south Asia, to include Diego Garcia I presume, I think the states with interests in the area could legitimately conclude that the world had fundamentally changed, the USN wasn't going to guarantee free seas as it had since the end of WWII. People would get very nervous about that and when people get nervous, dangerous things happen.

People get very nervous about sole superpowers as well... especially when people think they are capricious and prone to unilateral action.

The US Navy may not have the number of assets that it once did, but it's still orders of magnitude beyond any other Navy.

These so called 'fears' are actually geostrategic and geopolitical 'scenarios' that could occur.

And to be ready to face them rather than be surprised and rudderless, 'contingency plans' for all possible scenarios are prepared.

All countries, big and small, prepare such contingency plans.

These scenarios may or may not play out, but then forewarned is forearmed.

You can drive yourself batty envisioning scenarios, and you can drive yourself bankrupt preparing for scenarios, and you can drive yourself into a world of $#!t trying to preempt scenarios.

A total US pullout from the ME and South/Central Asia is unlikely, and envisioning scenarios based on that assumption is a largely academic exercise. Envisioning scenarios based on excessive sinophobia or russophobia is also not terribly productive. We can't assume that we must have military dominance over every strategic area of the world because if we don't, somebody else will... the cost of trying to maintain that dominance will choke us far more surely than the possibility of having to share influence.

Certainly it makes sense to envision and prepare for scenarios built on the assumption that the US will no longer be a sole superpower, as the US no longer has the economic wherewithal to maintain that status.

04-12-2011, 12:55 AM
People get very nervous about sole superpowers as well... especially when people think they are capricious and prone to unilateral action.

I don't think they do. They say they do and they make all kinds of noises about the unfairness of it all, but they don't really do much to change the situation. They basically accept that the USN keeps the seas in order. If the USN publicly said they weren't going to do it anymore, great disorder would ensue.

The US Navy may not have the number of assets that it once did, but it's still orders of magnitude beyond any other Navy.

That may be true but it will get to the point where it won't matter. All the other navies may have only 2 ships each and if we have 20 we are an order of magnitude stronger. But we would still only have 20 ships. There's not much you can do when you don't have many ships.

Ken White
04-12-2011, 02:13 AM
I've often thought that fear of what the Russians or Chinese might do is a greater threat to the US than anything the Russians or Chinese might do. Fear is rarely a sound basis for policy.Fortunately or not, viewpoint dependent, we tend to err on the side of hubris...:wry:

I see nothing to be unduly concerned about save excessive entitlements in the budget. :rolleyes:

Been worse in my lifetime internationally in almost all aspects, several times and in one way or another. Though I admit many today seem to want some kind of reassurance. Never be enough of that and it isn't an entitlement anyway... :D

04-12-2011, 06:29 AM
People get very nervous about sole superpowers as well... especially when people think they are capricious and prone to unilateral action.

The US Navy may not have the number of assets that it once did, but it's still orders of magnitude beyond any other Navy.

You can drive yourself batty envisioning scenarios, and you can drive yourself bankrupt preparing for scenarios, and you can drive yourself into a world of $#!t trying to preempt scenarios.

A total US pullout from the ME and South/Central Asia is unlikely, and envisioning scenarios based on that assumption is a largely academic exercise. Envisioning scenarios based on excessive sinophobia or russophobia is also not terribly productive. We can't assume that we must have military dominance over every strategic area of the world because if we don't, somebody else will... the cost of trying to maintain that dominance will choke us far more surely than the possibility of having to share influence.

Certainly it makes sense to envision and prepare for scenarios built on the assumption that the US will no longer be a sole superpower, as the US no longer has the economic wherewithal to maintain that status.

Sun Tsu had said -It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

It is true that one should not have any phobias over possibly adversaries, but one help but note that if one cannot visualise the major scenarios (taking into account the CNP), and contingencies, then one is saddle with an Iraq. I believe, from open sources, that the campaign was not 'thought through', or in other words, the contingencies that could arise.

There is no doubt that one cannot have military dominance everywhere; that is axiomatic, given the state of economy. Yet, one cannot help but maintain a force level that can safeguard the nation's interests. Given the US position in the world and interests, it has to be vast, compared to others. Likewise, China and Russia are aggressively enhancing their strategic reach by adding to its arsenal. They too have concerns about the state of their Nation's economy and what their economy can sustain in this quest to increase their strategic reach.

In so far as the US is concerned, given that the Cold War was over, Di.ck Cheney's Defence Policy Guidelines and the National Policy for Energy, when he was the Secretary for Defence, is worth a look as to how the US would detach itself from a unidirectional approach to National Defence to a multi-directional approach in areas that were not within the conventional threat ambit and would be basically on small wars format.

It is also of interest to note that the US is 'outsourcing' the protection of it the defence of its national interest.

This is quite evident in Asia, more so, after the tour of Asia by President Obama and selective tour of Hilary Clinton.

04-12-2011, 06:52 AM
Ultimately, the US Navy is trying to replace 30 FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates, 14 MCM Avenger Class mine countermeasures vessels, and 12 MHC-51 Osprey Class coastal mine hunters (TL = 56), with about 55 Littoral Combat Ships.

The LCS requirement has been identified as part of a broader surface combatant force transformation strategy, which recognizes that many future threats are spawning in regions with shallow seas, where the ability to operate near-shore and even in rivers will be vital for mission success.

I don't have the link since it is from my 'archives'.

It indicates to some extent the type of threat the US envisages and how the US will apply itself to exert its will.


I like Davy Crockette. It reminds me of my childhood and host of Dell comics and Classics. In fact, I still remember the words of the song and sing it too! :)

04-12-2011, 04:58 PM
another Davy Crockett fan - M.A. Lagrange (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/member.php?u=3717) is the other. You all still wear them coonskin caps ? :D



04-12-2011, 08:05 PM
New strains?


04-12-2011, 11:25 PM

This statement by the Pakistan interior minister in one of the articles you linked to in brownpundits is classic.

'"The Americans need to devise a strategy but better still, share the [drone] technology with us,"'

04-13-2011, 06:05 PM
Meanwhile, everyone's favorite Jihadi commander speaks: http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=177602

04-13-2011, 07:14 PM
The weird at first sight aspect is that the external Kashmiri struggle is kept under control by the Pakistani state, by ISI plus and activity along the LoC is strictly controlled (rarely reported too).

Sad to say the Kashmiri cause is largely forgotten outside the Kashmiri community and of course in India. In the UK there is reportedly a significant gulf between generations over the issue - what has it got to do with me - and an awareness that Azad Kashmir is not a shining example of good governance, for example with the highest officially recorded unemployment in Pakistan (Yes, that struck me as odd too).

Now the drones. On another thread IIRC 'The Drone Paradox' the Pakistani state has sought access to the targeting technology, not the missiles themselves and there are those who think ISI has provided the "boots on the ground" intelligence for targeting. Link to drone thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=7385

On reflection there is nothing weird at all, it is the 'Great Game'.

04-14-2011, 06:53 AM
Now the drones. On another thread IIRC 'The Drone Paradox' the Pakistani state has sought access to the targeting technology, not the missiles themselves and there are those who think ISI has provided the "boots on the ground" intelligence for targeting. Link to drone thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=7385

On reflection there is nothing weird at all, it is the 'Great Game'.

This could be the answer as to why Pakistan wants the technology and not the drones.

A fast, stealthy fighter. An aircraft carrier. A heavily-armed attack helicopter. Satellites, satellite-killers and maybe even a rocket-powered space plane. After a decade of meteoric economic growth and expanding global ambitions, China now has weapons to match the U.S. in almost every category.

There’s at least one big missing piece — one that’s indicate of the ongoing technological limitations facing the People’s Liberation Army. Where, oh where, are China’s killer drones? That’s a question I attempt to answer in my latest feature for The Diplomat.....

What’s holding China back? Engines, for one. Chinese industry has not proved capable of developing reliable military-grade motors. That’s been the biggest thing holding back China’s new fighters and choppers — and now apparently drones, too.


04-15-2011, 11:42 PM

So, what do the members think? bluff? Jedi negotiation? impending divorce? tempest in a teapot? clever psyops? (I mean the whole imbroglio, not Arif Jama's article, Arif is the author of "shadow wars", an excellent account of the 64 year old Kashmir Jihad)..

04-16-2011, 12:30 AM
If my modest little memory serves, before the Second World War the Japanese got themselves into a political cycle they couldn't break out of. It was driven by too much regard for themselves and their spiritual superiority, too little regard for foreigners and a reverence for the military. If any politician tried to break out of the cycle, they were liable to be murdered by a fanatical officer or officers who would get a slap on the wrist because their hearts were pure. Consequently not many politicians tried to break the cycle. This led to ruin for Japan. They were just lucky that we occupied them and not the Soviets.

Omar, do you think Pakistan could be in a similar sort of thing? If they are, they will eventually exceed even our capacity to be fooled and we will break with them and they will be recognized as the enemy. We will lose the Karachi supply line but that might be the best thing that could happen to us.

I have another question. The ISI has been very cross with us lately. Do you think that might be because after all these years, we have finally been able to develop some intel resources in Pakistan not dependent upon the ISI, and these resources are allowing the drones to do some actual damage to the "good" jihadis?

Watcher In The Middle
04-16-2011, 06:18 AM
If Pakistan wants extended access to our UAV targeting technology and methodology, well, looks to be a pretty fair indication that we have developed a capability that's beyond their (ISI) control, or even influence.

We obviously made a recent 'hit' that must have scored and was not part of the carefully served up menu provided by the ISI.

I often wonder what the ramifications would be on immigration and business ties between the US and Pakistan if Pakistan did start limiting our supply line access into Afghanistan. INS and US Customs can make both business dealings and immigration into the US from Pakistan extremely convoluted. They might want to reconsider this whole drone dustup....

04-16-2011, 03:59 PM

The "official" ISI position seems mildly conciliatory....

04-18-2011, 05:39 PM
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...

04-18-2011, 05:41 PM
I must add that there IS another theory, which gives less credit to the generals "strategic vision" and much more to their need to maintain domestic political supremacy using the Indian threat as a handy excuse (that the threat is partly real makes it even better)...

05-23-2011, 10:21 PM
Hat tip to Circling the Lion's Den for the commentary:http://circlingthelionsden.blogspot.com/2011/05/haqqanis-shaky-peace-deal-in-kurram.html, although the cited report was on SWJ Blog a week ago:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=13298

I knew there was a sectarian aspect to areas in the FATA and it appears that the Shia in Kurram Agency have been murdered by the roadside since 2007 and the Pakistani Army failed to provide keep the road to Peshawar secure.

Overall some local colour, if sad and indicates peace is a long way off.

06-04-2011, 09:50 PM
The BBC are reporting his confirmed death:
..a major psychological blow to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and will also make it more difficult for wanted militant leaders to find safe places to go......He is widely believed to have masterminded an audacious attack on the Mehran naval airbase in Karachi last month...many would be led to believe the Pakistani intelligence operatives had a role in leading the Americans to Kashmiri..


In tonight's BBC News the reporter stated Pakistan is claiming it's information led to the US drone strike.

His BBC obituary:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13655883

This indicates a link to the Mumbai attack following the Chicago trial testimony.

Seems that several national interests were served by this attack.

06-08-2011, 09:12 PM
A superb context comment for the drone hit that reportedly killed Ilyas Kashmiri and illustrates the importance of context - know the tribes!

Kashmiri had only been in the district a few hours when he was killed in a targeted drone strike. Hardly surprising really; his very presence in South Waziristan was a threat to a 2007 peace agreement between the Ahmadzai Wazirs and the government under which the tribe agreed not to attack Pakistani forces or to allow foreign militants into their district. The Waziris had previously risen up against the Arabs and many Uzbeks from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan who had settled amongst them and who had become notorious for their cruelty. More than 200 Uzbeks were killed by the Waziris and the survivors were forced north, where they were given shelter by other Pashtun tribes.

As recently as March this year the nine clans of the Ahmadzai Waziris agreed to stick to the terms of the 2007 treaty.


06-09-2011, 12:12 AM
SO you are sure he is dead? And if the Ahmedzai Wazirs are so careful to avoid such people, why was he unaware of this fact and sitting in an orchard having tea?

06-09-2011, 08:20 AM
I am not sure he is dead, hence my use of reportedly and in the case of Rashid Rauf some, including his family, maintain he is not dead either.

Over-confidence springs to mind, belief in his host's motives being good - Pashtunwali does apply and being sure his movements were covert.

06-30-2011, 09:57 AM
A short report that illustrates the problems Pakistanis face and sub-titled:
Faisalabad, the industrial hub of Punjab, is ailing -- badly. And militant groups are reaping the benefits.

This mix of anti-Americanism, religiosity, and agitation over the dire economic situation has found a receptive audience among unemployed youths residing in Faisalabad's industrial slums -- and Pakistan's traditional institutions are doing a poor job of responding to the threat.


07-14-2011, 06:06 PM
Not a surprise to observers, although even in a high profile case the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009, it is - diplomatically put - sad.

An Islamist militant accused in dozens of killings and a 2009 attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team was freed on bail on Thursday after 14 years in custody because the Supreme Court decided there was not enough evidence to keep holding him, his lawyer said.

(Later) Criminal conviction rates hover between 5 and 10 per cent in Pakistan, according to a report by the International Crisis Group, a respected think tank. Terrorism convictions are rare, even in major cases, and convictions in lower courts are frequently overturned by appeals courts. Part of the problem is that police are ill-trained in the art of gathering evidence, while witnesses are often afraid to testify.


07-14-2011, 09:37 PM
Hat tip to the only UK-based blogsite on Afghanistan 'Circling the Lion's Den' by Nick Fielding:http://circlingthelionsden.blogspot.com/

For a pointer to a CTC report on the Haqqani network, yet to be read here:http://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/CTC-Haqqani-Report_Rassler-Brown-Final_Web.pdf

Which remarks:
Positioned between two unstable states, and operating beyond their effective sovereignty, the Haqqani network has long been mistaken for a local actor with largely local concerns. It is vital that the policy community correct the course that has taken this erroneous assessment for granted and recognize the Haqqani network’s region of refuge for what it has always been – the fountainhead of jihad.

08-18-2011, 06:11 PM
Hat tip to Circling the Lion's Den for this pointer:
Jeffrey Dressler at the Institute for the Study of War on the Pakistan Army's current offensive in Kurram in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) says that the insurgency in Afghanistan's Eastern region is likely to benefit from the action.

Which concludes:
Dressler makes it clear that the Pakistani military has little interest in curbing militancy in the region. It is simply taking on those elements of the TTP that have turned on their former mentors, solely in order to strengthen the insurgency in Afghanistan.


Link to the cited Dressler report:http://www.understandingwar.org/files/Backgrounder_PakistansKurramOffensive.pdf

08-28-2011, 11:49 AM
A short BBC News article based on two women in the Swat Valley:
Swat in north-west Pakistan is still recovering from a period of militancy several years ago. Men and women deemed un-Islamic were killed by the Taliban and their bodies dumped on the street. Hundreds of girls schools were destroyed before the army ousted the militants in 2009. A local school girl and Swat's first woman to train as a lawyer told Nosheen Abbas how life is changing.


A reminder too of women's role in COIN, which IMHO we often overlook.

08-28-2011, 03:18 PM
This comment is in regard to David's post #147 from 1 week ago.

Just when I thought I could not be surprised by Pak Army perfidy, here is an account of a conventional Pak Army operation, complete with air support, the objective of which is to facilitate Haqqani and Taliban & Co. attempts to kill Americans. They mounted a big operation in order to clear a supply route for Taliban & Co. I wonder if some of the jets providing air support were F-16s.

11-08-2011, 10:08 PM
Hat tip to Circling the Lion's Den for this update:http://circlingthelionsden.blogspot.com/2011/11/pak-taliban-flexes-its-muscles-in-fata.html

Given the criticism of the Pakistani Army, here is a comment by the:
.. head of the pro-government Amn Lashkar militia announced this week that he was closing down their centre in Shahukhel village in Hangu district due to non-cooperation from the security forces and the government. Nine members of the lashkar have been killed in the last year and 13 others injured. “The government had pledged to provide us with arms and ammunition but it could not deliver on its promise. We cannot continue battling the militants on our own,” said Salamat Khan Orakzai.

12-02-2011, 06:17 PM
An IISS Strategic Comment 'Bad times in Baluchistan', which reminds us that Pakistan has some problems.

In the past few months alone in Baluchistan, the death of a separatist leader and the discovery of the bullet-ridden corpses of many missing activists precipitated a general strike, while militants repeatedly blew up oil pipelines. Security-forces personnel and civilians were killed by landmines; and scores of ethnic Hazara Shia Muslims died in sectarian attacks. Taliban fighters also kidnapped two Swiss tourists, perpetrated a major suicide bombing in the provincial capital, Quetta..that killed 22...(the target being) Brig. Khurram Shahzad, the deputy head of the region's Frontier Corps.

Militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for a recent series of deadly ambushes on Shia Hazara pilgrims - killing 14 in an attack on a minibus on 4 October, and 29 in the Mastung area of Quetta on 20 September. The group, also implicated in an attempt to assassinate Baluchistan's Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Rasiani in December 2010,

Here is a twist:
Major opium-processing hubs lie in the same Chagai Hills region as Pakistan's nuclear-testing facilities.


12-02-2011, 07:16 PM
The Baloch separatists are relatively small in number and lack sanctuaries (NATO will probably push them out of Afghanistan one day in exchange for safe exit from Afghanistan) so they may be a nuisance for the Pak army but they are not a critical problem (that, at least, is the Pak army view).
Killings of Shias are unfortunate but cannot be helped because the main anti-shia militant group (LEJ) is connected with the same networks that are our "strategic assets" and cannot be cleaned out without jeopardising the "good jihadis". They are also funded by our brothers in Saudi Arabia, who are going to be ever more essential once the US dollar stream finally begins to dry up. It is sad, but sometimes that is the price we pay for mining copper at Saindak.
In short, killings in Balochistan will be a human rights issue, but will not have any "strategic" impact. On all sides, the "deep strategic thinkers" understand that some eggs have to be broken in order to make an omelette. In Pakistan, we will break many of them and not even cook the omelette. Sometimes, things don't work out so smoothly. What can one say..

12-15-2011, 11:53 AM
Hat tip to the Australian Lowry Institute for a recommendation of 'The Most Dangerous Place: Pakistan's Lawless Frontier' by Imtiaz Gul (Pub. June 2010):
a wonderfully written, deeply researched, but profoundly depressing book. Gul takes the time to explore in detail the social, historical, tribal and religious complexities of the Pakistan-Afghan border regions in ways that show why any and all attempts to impose external order are deeply futile. The Most Dangerous Place should give pause to optimistic scenarios that there will be stability and peace in that part of the world any time soon.


12-22-2011, 02:50 AM
An Indian commentary that opens with:
t was pathetic to see Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik thanking on 8 December the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) for maintaining peace during Moharram, thus indicating the helplessness of his security machinery.

Then refers to a new report:
the December 2011 special report from the US Institute of Peace, "Who Controls Pakistani Security Forces" by Shuja Nawaz (Atlantic Council) offers new insight.

Link to cited report:http://www.usip.org/publications/who-controls-pakistan-s-security-forces

On CT work:
... there is no coordinated counter-terrorist (CT) action in the country. 19 civilian agencies involved in internal security mount uncoordinated CT operations along with the state police


12-27-2011, 12:09 AM
I missed these two updates, hat tip to Circling the Lion's Den, on the Pakistan Taliban (TTP): http://circlingthelionsden.blogspot.com/2011/12/confusing-reports-on-pakistan-taliban.html and http://circlingthelionsden.blogspot.com/2011/12/pakistan-taliban-crisis-deepens.html

From the later:
...money has dried up for the TTP and this has led to the desertion of former supporters, many of whom only fought for money. The TTP's shura, or ruling council, has shrunk from nearly 40 members to less than 10. The reason funds are in short supply, the article speculates, is that the Afghan Taliban has stopped paying the TTP because it is now in negotiations with the Afghan government.

01-07-2012, 02:01 PM
Placed here due to the wider impact on pakistan beyond the frontier provinces.

Hat tip to Circling the Lion's Den, with several updates on the talks between the Pakistan Taliban (TTP) and ISI, as indicated by:
We have drawn the broader outlines for a possible accord. And what we're now working on are minor details...These are crucial times ...we have to be extremely careful. A slight miscalculation can harm us in a big way," an intelligence official told The Express Tribune


The TTP factions have regrouped:
According to reports coming from Pakistan, a new organisation called the Shura-e-Murakbah, made up of the remnants of what was once the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has been created in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The author comments:
Three points should be drawn from this news: first, that al-Qaeda is still an important player - and, more importantly, financier - of the various jihadi factions in Pakistan. That is why they are at the table; second, support by Mullah Omar for this unification move may have more to do with unfolding events in Afghanistan than with a concern for uniting the notoriously unruly Pashtun tribes in Pakistan; and third, don't put any money on this agreement holding up for any length of time.


The murder of fifteen Frontier Corps jawans taken prisoner in late December by a TTP group, which most of the Pakistani press have ignored:http://circlingthelionsden.blogspot.com/2012/01/more-on-murder-of-15-fc-jawans-by-ttp.html

01-20-2012, 09:41 PM
Pakistan's western province of Balochistan / Baluchistan is rarely reported upon so Al Jazeera decided to have a look and broadcast early in January 2012.

From the short written summary:
This film offers a glimpse into a region which, in 2010, had the highest number of militant, insurgent and sectarian attacks of any province in Pakistan. It is a region torn apart with separatist organisations attacking the state, sectarian and ethnic attacks, and crime, including kidnapping for ransom.

Link to summary:http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/aljazeeraworld/2012/01/2012121372863878.html

Link to film (47 mins):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4aTxF3xjWA

What startled me was to see Cryptome feature the documentary via a what shall I say opinionated Pakistani blogsite, who had watched very closely and noted early on (02:02 to 02:16):
what came as a new revelation was a militant carrying an "SA-7" MANPAD. Yes, a shoulder launched surface-to-air missile, the Soviet SA-7, a weapon which is not even in use with the Afghan Taliban. After the withdrawal of Soviet Union from Afghanistan and several subsequent years of civil war, an SAM was never noticed in use by the militants in Afghanistan. The terrorist front, TTP, could not get its hand on an SAM, despite some reports which suggested they were trying very hard to get access to missiles for use against the Aviation Wing of Pakistan's Army.

The Pakistani blogsite:http://www.terminalx.org/2012/01/tx-report-separatist-baloch-militants.html

03-12-2012, 06:31 PM
Hat tip to Circling the Lion's Den blogsite:
I have been perplexed for some time by the figures for militants killed in clashes with the Pakistani Army and Airforce. If accurate, then given the massive attrition these figures suggest, it is surprising that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan can still find anyone willing to fight for it....

Thus in the last three months - and accepting that these figures are not complete - a reported 496 militants, mostly members of the TTP or Lashkar-e-Islam, have been killed in military action in the FATA region of Pakistan. A similar number have been injured. Can this be possible? If so, it certainly confirms FATA as more of a battlefield than southern Afghanistan, for example, where reported deaths of militants are much lower. Either that, or the official figures are suspect. You decide.

A list of reported incidents is included:http://circlingthelionsden.blogspot.com/2012/03/counting-dead-militants-in-pakistan.html

Have our observers of the Pakistani security scene noted a change in 'will'? Plus after the passage of time 'capability' may now be far more effective.

03-13-2012, 02:26 PM
Maybe more are getting killed, but there is one definite pattern: If "militants" (aka "bad jihadis") ambush the security forces and kill some of them then that incident is NEVER reported as just an ambush and X security forces dead. A larger number of militants is invariably announced as having been killed in the "clash" or in counter-operations by the security forces. I cannot recall a single ambush/clash in which the claimed militant death toll did not exceed the security forces death toll. If there are some, I will be happy to be proven wrong. (there are occasional IED or bomb blast events in which no militants are said to be killed).
That sounds suspicious to suspicious people, but then, some people are incorrigible cynics.
Having said that, I do not doubt that the Pakistani security forces will fight a longer and bloodier war in the years to come. I know the official line (Ahmed Qureshi) is that things will become normal once the accursed Americans leave, but I have my doubts. Some people are also incorrigible pessimists.

03-13-2012, 02:29 PM
Having said that, I do not doubt that the Pakistani security forces will fight a longer and bloodier war in the years to come. I know the official line (Ahmed Qureshi) is that things will become normal once the accursed Americans leave, but I have my doubts. Some people are also incorrigible pessimists.

I foresee Pakistan descending into a low-grade civil war smoldering on for years as the state slowly implodes over a decade or so. The signs have been evident for quite some time.

03-13-2012, 02:39 PM
btw, the exactitude of the casualty lists from aerial bombing is extremely impressive. Every time the hideouts are bombed the army seems to know exactly how many militants were killed and how many injured. Given the primitive nature of medical facilities in the area, many of the wounded must also die in the days that follow, but surprisingly the superb intel network that the army has in place does not seem to relay those numbers to headquarters. This may just be an oversight on the part of ISPR. Perhaps someone can let them know so they can start adding "wounded, died later" to their casualty lists. Future historians will want an accurate count. This will also permit us to estimate the size of the militants field hospitals and their ancillary staff. Unless the wounded are permitted evacuation to "our side" of the front. Which would be an impressive humanitarian gesture, but raises the issue of where they go after they recover? are they permitted to rejoin the fight in the best tradition of Salahuddin Ayubi? Or are they unchivalrously locked up? Or do they make their way to hospitals operated by RAW? Lots of questions, I know, but its that kind of day.
Tangentially related: some Western Hadith scholar wrote that one easy way to detect fake hadiths (traditions of the holy prophet) is to see which one is supported by the most impressive list of transmitters. Accursed westerners. if we dont give them an authentic list of transmitters, they dont believe the tradition. If we give them an impressive list, they say its too impressive. We cannot seem to win.

05-12-2012, 07:32 PM
The internal troubles in Pakistan's western province, Balochistan / Baluchistan, get an occasional mention here, although there is a persistent insurgency underway, so hat tip to Watandost for it's commentary:http://watandost.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/baluchistan-in-shadow-of-gun.html and the pointer to this backgrounder by a Pakistani:http://www.newslinemagazine.com/2012/03/of-empire-and-army-a-historical-understanding-of-balochistan/

No wonder it is so easy for some, maybe the majority in the Pakistani Army / ISI to see the "hidden hand" of others.

05-12-2012, 10:22 PM
No wonder it is so easy for some, maybe the majority in the Pakistani Army / ISI to see the "hidden hand" of others.

The whole country is in a delusional state, with gross overestimation of its own importance and abilities, a carefully nursed grudge against the rich world for not giving it enough money, and a state-encouraged persecution complex that readily blames everything from a shortage of onions to no electricity on foreign powers.

Not a happy combination overall.

07-27-2012, 09:36 PM
Hat tip to Circling the Lion's Den blogsite for this update, cited in part:
Maulana Ashraf Ali Marwat, the bloodthirsty Tehreek-e-Taliban commander who was responsible for bombing a volleyball match in which more than 100 people died in January 2010 has been shot dead in South Waziristan, according to reports. Marwat helped to plan the attack in Shah Hasankhel village (his home village!) in which a truck loaded with explosives was detonated at the packed tournament in Northwestern Lakki Marwat district.

Hearts & Minds! The comment ends with:
Who needs enemies when you have comrades in the TTP?


08-08-2012, 07:00 PM
Hat tip to Circling the Lion's Den blogsite for this:
I've always had the greatest respect for the FATA Research Centre, based in Pakistan and under the direction of former BBC radio journalist Dr Ashraf Ali. Its website is a source of unbiased and useful information on this most impenetrable area of Pakistan.
In strategic terms, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas are one of the most important pieces of real estate in the world.

Citing a recent report on extremism and radicalisation:
Militant groups' lucrative offer of food, clothes, weapons, drugs and public charm of authority drive them to join militant groups...They are pushed into a deep desire of revenge against US and Pakistan Army, as revenge is one of the important components of Pakhtoon code of life.


08-16-2012, 01:18 AM
Gunmen have attacked and entered a Pakistan air force base, according to Reuters.

The target is the Kamra Air Base, located around 40 miles outside Islamabad. The attacked is believed to be conducted by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — reports in the Pakistan press have suggested they were planning attacks in retaliation for upcoming military action.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/gunmen-have-attacked-and-entered-kamra-air-base-in-pakistan-thought-to-house-nuclear-weapons-2012-8#ixzz23fRw661g

Live updates here

08-20-2012, 07:44 PM
So the August 16 attack that left nine suspected Islamic radicals and one Pakistani soldier dead once again raised eyebrows over Islamabad's claims that its nuclear installations are under foolproof security.

Much of the concern is predictable, but misdirected, according to experts.

The location of Pakistan's nuclear weapons are a highly guarded secret, but despite news reports to the contrary, most observers doubt that warheads are stored at Minhas.


11-29-2012, 01:30 PM
A new book on:
an ex-Royal Navy pilot, led a 25-strong force of specially-recruited (Frontier Corps) Pakistani soldiers raiding Taliban camps, hunting down kidnap victims and detaining suspected al-Qaeda militants (in 2003).

Lt Cdr Leedham tells his story in a new book, Ask Forgiveness Not Permission....The inspiration for his instructions came from the writings of Lawrence of Arabia. “These guys really did perform..I used a lot of Lawrence doctrine. I know it sounds a bit hokey but I did.”.....the model he used — small teams of local fighters with tight security protocols that prevent tip-offs to militant leaders — could still be used to hunt terrorists even as Western forces pull out of the region.


The UK Amazon has six rave reviews and the Foreword is by Frederick Forsyth:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ask-Forgiveness-Not-Permission-Operation/dp/1903071674

It appears not to have been released yet in the USA:http://www.amazon.com/Ask-Forgiveness-Not-Permission-Operation/dp/1903071674/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354194943&sr=8-1&keywords=Ask+Forgiveness+Not+Permission

12-05-2012, 11:27 PM
Hamid Hussain, an irregular contributor to SWJ, was asked by a senior Pakistani military officer: Do you see any changes occurring in FATA consequent to the planned withdrawal of US Forces from Afghanistan?

There is an appropriate main thread 'Operations in Pakistan’s Frontier / Tribal Areas', but the context may change if and when the USA draws down or exits Afghanistan.

Quite a difficult question to answer. In my humble opinion, Pakistan’s problem in FATA has taken a life of its own regardless of what happens in Afghanistan. The foundation stones of troubles in FATA were laid at least 4-6 years before 2001 (even otherwise informed Pakistanis are not aware of the history in their own backyard). 2001 just speeded up the trajectory and a rapid downward spiral. Surely, events across Durand Line will have impact on both sides. It is clear that Pakistani society and security forces have sacrificed a lot for the sins of their own leaders and others.

A very basic rule is that Pakistan has to take control of its own territory. How they do it is their business but there is no other way around. In the absence of that the wound will fester with effects on rest of the country as well as regional and international repercussions. Everything else, i.e. return of IDPs, reconstruction, de-radicalization, re-integration etc. follows the control of territory. If you don’t control the territory, everything else will be a mirage. I think, a more successful Swat model proves this point (carefully detached from all things foreign especially American and relying on indigenous thought process & resources especially general public support). It is also true that you can not shoot your self out of this war. A combination of efforts and more importantly in proper order will help to stem the tide.

It is easy to blame people with 20/20 hindsight and off course no one could have imagined the backlash from extremists with vengeance. However, at various stages serious mistakes were made that resulted in major disasters. Intelligence officers provided detailed information about retreating foreign militants from Afghan theatre in the fall and winter of 2001. Peshawar Corps commander and IGFC were in total denial and refused to accept it at a time even when local tribesmen in Kurram agency had looted many of these retreating foreigners taking away even their shoes. Once entrenched and joined with local militants, the retreat of the state was so shocking that local tribesmen were convinced that old order was gone for good. Many joined the rising star of the militants while others ran away to settled areas to save their heads. This is how FATA was lost by the state of Pakistan.

Very poor leadership on top, confusion, strategic myopia and operational incompetence of highest order (we had a division commander whose lines of communications were cut off by the militants and he sat as if nothing had happened) combined with low morale at junior officer and rank and file level (fear and desertions) resulted in many set backs (I can cite specific examples in each instance but these should suffice). Troops marching behind cowed tribal elders were passed on as ‘operations’. Most casualties were suffered when militants were taking the initiative in attacking troops i.e. IEDs, attack on convoys, posts and forts. When properly trained and led by dynamic junior and senior officers, troops achieved assigned objectives with minimum casualties and pushing militants further out. Joint efforts and combined arms tactics were most successful (Army aviation and Air Force contributed a lot). In the last 3-4 years, things have improved a lot in terms of security forces training and operations.

Everybody and his cousin including Pakistan’s friends are very jittery about the whole situation as extremists from all over the globe have found ‘Ivy League’ centers of learning in Pakistan’s periphery (just to give few examples; China’s most wanted chap was killed in Waziristan by Pakistani SSG, Uzbekistan’s most wanted man found home in Waziristan, Indonesia’s most wanted man for Bali bombings was caught in Pakistan after his ‘sightseeing tour’ of Abbotabad, some Saudis were netted by FC in Mohmand agency and their diaries were full of abuses hurled at Saudi Royal family warning them that after finishing up in Af-Pak theatre, they are coming after the Royals). Imagine what all these countries; none of them hostile to Pakistan are thinking about Pakistan. They all need to know what is happening and therefore everybody has set up ‘shops’ in Pakistan and locals are selling information to everyone interested. Regardless of the intentions of each actor, this is a recipe for more complications for Pakistan. I know that Pakistanis don’t like this but there is almost international consensus that Pakistani are either unable or unwilling to tackle the ‘genie now out of bottle’. Off course, Pakistan is not alone at fault but that is the world we live in.

Some work in progress (i.e. pro-active approach of security forces, recruiting sons of tribal elders to help them take control back from militants, regrouping intelligence assets, standing up local tribal militias etc.) may keep lid on the situation while the state becomes more stable politically & economically. There is lot of confusion among general public and sharing some facts with general public will help everybody. People are humans and affected by violence perpetrated by extremists. People are scared and this fact can not be hidden behind rhetoric and empty slogans of chivalry, bravery and martial tunes. Everyone including members of security forces and much celebrated tribesmen are scared (who will not be when extremists can bomb, shoot, behead and abduct with impunity). State can lift the cloud of fear only by proving that it can and will protect its citizens.

12-05-2012, 11:35 PM
It is easy to argue that the FATA will only change if Pakistani national policy changes, notably that political will is apparent and state institutions - notably the military - respond.

We know that the FATA has traditionally been semi-independent from national, Pakistani rule. There are those who argue that tradition and customs have evaporated since 9/11, mainly through fear and killing anyone who did not share the Jihadist viewpoint.

The bigger question is IMHO could the people and local tribes change - without changes in Pakistan?

12-06-2012, 11:37 AM
An interesting, if puzzling Reuters report:
Pakistan's Taliban, one of the world's most feared militant groups, are preparing for a leadership change that could mean less violence against the state but more attacks against U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, Pakistani military sources said.


Just 'what the doctor ordered"? Or what the Pakistani military & ISI want the world to believe?

Reuters interviewed several senior Pakistan military officials as well as tribal elders and locals during a three-day trip with the army in South Waziristan last week, getting rare access to an area that has been a virtual no-go zone for journalists since an army offensive was launched in October 2009.

Pakistan Taliban commanders did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the possible leadership change.

I do stress puzzling!

12-31-2012, 02:11 PM
A rather optimistic headline for a good article on Aljazeera, although the focs is on internal Pakistani matters:http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/12/2012122665637630645.html?utm_content=features&utm_campaign=features&utm_source=twitter&utm_term=rss&utm_medium=tweet

In the past, it was easy for the Pakistani military to control different groups because of tribal and ideological divisions, but now these differences are proving to be a disadvantage because the groups often fight each other over influence and tribal allegiances.

From my faraway vantage point there is influence upon the Pakistani Taliban (PTT), but not control. If there was control I'd be curious how murdering a senior, elected politician in NWFP and murdering twenty tribal levies fits in.

12-31-2012, 08:52 PM
One step forward, two steps back. It seems there is a new deal with Uncle Sam. It also seems that the army wants a new army-backed regime of its choice (the two facts may be related). Anyway, i have an article about Pakistan up at 3quarksdaily.com


I dont think the state is about to wither away. But its definitely withering

12-31-2012, 11:45 PM

Good article, but I have long suspected all of the Pakistani state lacks the will to win over its opponents. Nor am I convinced many of the state's instruments of coercion have the capability.

That is without factoring in the effect of the terrorism within.

01-24-2013, 11:21 PM
An ICG Report 'Pakistan: Countering Militancy in PATA':http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/asia/south-asia/pakistan/242-pakistan-countering-militancy-in-pata.pdf?utm_source=pakistan-e&utm_medium=3&utm_campaign=mremail

From the summary:
While the militants continue to present the main physical threat, the military’s poorly conceived counter-insurgency strategies, heavy-handed methods and failure to restore responsive and accountable civilian administration and policing are proving counter-productive, aggravating public resentment and widening the gulf between PATA’s citizens and the state. Meanwhile neither the federal nor the KPK provincial government is fully addressing the security concerns of residents.

The summary does have some strange passages, for e.g.:
Efforts to revive a shattered economy, once heavily dependent on tourism, have
also faltered....

Until Pakistani politicians at provincial and national level show some will to get changes made with military agreement nothing changes sadly.

01-26-2013, 11:57 AM
I have a different take.

The militants, though are going hammer and tongs against the establishment, is actually a handmaiden of the Army and the ISI. It is well known that it is Pakistan's 'strategic tool' to create a suitable situation for Pakistan in Afghanistan and to bleed India by a thousand cuts without going to war and earning the ire of the world community.

It is also a convenient cover for Pakistan Army actions as was seen in Kargil, where it was said by Pakistan that the incursions were by jihadis and it turned out later to be Pakistan Army regulars! Same was done in 1947 (tribal), 1965 (Op Gibraltar) also.

Pakistan Army is well aware that the US will have to quit Afghanistan one day or the other. It requires to create a favourable environment for Pakistan and the militants alone can do it for them. In return, the Army has to allow the militants their space in the badlands of NW Frontier where their writ has always been paramount.

The outcry over US Drone attack is mere cosmetic. It is required to please the militants and at the same time, allow the US to establish a conducive atmosphere where the militants do not become too powerful, while at the same time blame the Great White Satan for the 'evil designs' and get the militants to a new high for more chaos in Afghanistan to secure the base for the future.

In so far as the militant activities in mainland Pakistan, it is ideal to keep the civil Govt in check and discredit them wherein the Pak Army appears the sole saviour. The current chaos is an example where there is a total breakdown of civil administration with all instruments, to include the Supreme Court, of the so called democracy in Pakistan ganging up against the civil Govt.

The militants in mainland also serve a purpose in the temporal warring that signatures Islam - the Sunni Shia divide. It is an ideal way to reduce the influence and numbers of the Shia community, Pakistan having totally made other minorities irrelevant to Pakistan.

These are very basic thoughts.

The bon homie between the Pak Army and the ISI and the militants, who are basically terrorists has method in its madness.

The Pakistan Army's motto is in Arabic:Iman, Taqwa, Jihad fi Sabilillah
A follower of none but Allah, The fear of Allah, Jihad for Allah.

In so far as the Pakistan economy goes, this is what the Pakistani newspaper has to say.

At the end of May 2012, Pakistan’s total public debt (external and domestic) stood at Rs 11.932 trillion against Rs 9.969 trillion during the corresponding period of last year, depicting an increase of 19.7 percent or Rs2.01 trillion in one year, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said.

Pakistan’s total obligations at the end of May 2012 in dollars terms stood at about $125.5 billion and the figure is ballooning day by day.


It maybe said that the collapse of Pakistan is not in the interest of the neighbourhood be it for India or Afghanistan.

But one wonders how one could save Pakistan when it is a bundle of contradictions, chaos and internecine warfare!

03-29-2013, 01:13 PM
Many see what happens in Karachi as a barometer for what is happening more widely in Pakistan, so this NYT article is simply bad news. The article ends:
In such a vast and turbulent city, the Taliban may become just another turf-driven gang. But without a determined response from the security forces, experts say, they could also seek to become much more.


04-01-2013, 11:49 AM
Bosses of Karachi police admitted in the Supreme Court on Friday that their men lacked the ‘will’ to combat the growing number of militants and gangsters in the city because of sluggish follow-up of the cases of their colleagues who had been killed by criminals.

The will was weak because cases of the killing of policemen were not followed up, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Karachi West Zafar Abbas Bukhari said, adding that 162 policemen had lost their lives in different operations but only three killers could be arrested.


Alas no indication over what period this had occurred.

04-29-2013, 09:02 PM
A short, thirty page Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report:http://carnegieendowment.org/files/balochistan.pdf

06-01-2013, 11:11 PM
A Pakistani articie for once, hat tip to Red Rat:http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/17100/why-karachi-police-fails-to-convict-its-criminals

06-25-2013, 05:36 PM
This time they knocked out the high-end climber-tourist industry.


On June 23rd some 15-20 men dressed in the uniforms of the Gilgit Scouts climbed up to the base camp at the foot of the Diamir face of Nanga Parbat. There, at the height of 13000 feet above sea level, they pulled climbers, guides, porters and cooks out of their tents, smashed their phones, laptops and solar panels and put them in two groups. The locals were in one group, the foreigners were lined up on the other side. Then they shot all the foreign climbers in the back of the head. Since exit wounds are bigger than entry wounds and exit wounds were in the face, some of the foreigners are said to be hard to recognize. Looking at ID cards, they also shot a local cook whose name was Ali Hassan. If they had asked him, he might have told them that he was a Sunni, just happened to have a “Shia-sounding” name. But unfortunately the resistance-fighters (thank you Tariq Ali) didnt bother to ask. Another local who told this story to a friend survived because his name is Sher Khan. He is Ismaili. Luckily for him, they just looked at ID cards. He survived because his name doesnt sound Shia.

I just didnt have time to go back and fix the grammatical errors and generally meld the cut and paste parts about the casualties into one coherent whole.

06-26-2013, 04:20 PM
The article about the nanga parbat massacre has been updated, including corrected information about the poor cook (who turns out to be Shia after all).


06-27-2013, 07:22 PM
The local police chief says the attackers are still in the mountains, but not arrested yet.

This is usually code for "we are negotiating with their bosses". Mostly likely a deal will be reached, low-level attackers will be arrested. LEJ honchos in the area will promise not to attack more climbers in exchange for XYZ concessions. Attackers will be well treated in prision (no routine torture). Eventually the courts may set them free since no on will turn up to give evidence..or the judge will magically die.
Its a pattern by now.

06-30-2013, 10:56 PM
see full post here http://www.brownpundits.com/2013/06/30/stopping-terrorist-attacks-in-pakistand/

For historical background on shia-killings


07-06-2013, 09:48 PM
A report by Bill Roggio, based on a Pakistani newspaper story:
An al Qaeda military commander and a Haqqani Network leader are among 17 jihadists who are reported to have been killed in a US drone strike that took place earlier this week.


Note the Haqqani group appears in many threads and one point of reference, originally a RFI, has been moved to this area. It may contain points of reference:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=10387

08-03-2013, 02:04 PM
Well, isn't that nice.


Couldn't possibly be related to this...

08-03-2013, 04:33 PM
TX is not a reliable source. If this is their stance on a "big story" is:
Zaki Khalid (TX Media Director) gives his views to Informe Especial host Santiago Pavlovic of TVN Chile regarding the fabricated OBL "kill attack" in Abbottabad, Pakistan.


Applauding the development of Pakistani "mini-nukes" to be made available to partners is well.....enlightening about their credentials.

08-06-2013, 01:37 PM
A really detailed report on the recent jail break:http://tribune.com.pk/story/587120/security-under-scrutiny-post-mortem-of-the-di-khan-jail-attack/

Insurgency is a local tradition, but this attack displays a higher degree of planning and far better kit than the state, such as:
...they were equipped with night-vision goggles that made their navigation comfortable.

09-23-2013, 03:44 PM
I have a rather longish post up about this topic and welcome comments.


excerpt: I believe this is so because of three concentric circles of confusion that have come together uniquely in Pakistan. The first is the worldwide struggle of mainstream Islamic sects to find a way to harmonize medieval notions of the nature and role of Islam with the realities and challenges of the modern world. This problem is not unique to Pakistan, but it is especially potent in Pakistan because it is reinforced by the next two circles of coflict and confusion. The second layer of confusion arises from the myths promoted by the state as the foundational myths of Pakistan. Those myths are insufficiently based on the actual ethnic and cultural makeup of Pakistan and make it harder to resist Islamist forces in Pakistan, over and above what exists in all Muslim countries. Finally, a third layer of difficulties arises from very specific policy options initiated by the Pakistani state itself in the last 30 years. Taken together, these three layers of confusion have made it impossible for the Pakistani state to create a coherent narrative against terrorism; terrorism that is so vile and indiscriminate that ANY state would find it child’s play to convince people of the necessity to fight against it. Let us take a closer look at all three..

10-22-2013, 07:21 PM
My latest on this strange saga http://www.brownpundits.com/2013/10/22/malala-yusufzai-heroine-victim-patsy-spy/

10-30-2013, 07:19 PM
And now on drones and anti-drones.


11-04-2013, 11:43 AM

Given the pakistani official and establishment reaction to the US drone strike on Pakistan Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud last week, how can anyone claim there is an anti-terrorist narrative?

Here is part of one commentary:
Mehsud, we should remember, was a brutal and effective guerrilla dedicated to imposing strict Islamic law in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the destruction of Western influence across the region. He was responsible for the deaths of thousands in his own country, including the lorry bomb that destroyed the Marriott hotel in Islamabad in 2008.

Yet the politicians in Pakistan have reacted with shrill indignation, treating the demise of the 34-year-old as a national humiliation and the removal of a potential peacemaker in a pivotal position to change the course of the conflict.


What the strike reveals - again - is that Pakistan fails to protect itself.

11-04-2013, 02:11 PM
There is method to this madness. The hope is that the US will blink first. The backup position is: we can always back down in exchange for some money.
The fatal flaw in the process is that the brainwashing of the public and the narrative that is being established is not fully reversible. The accumulated residue will become unmanageable at some point.
The cynical calculation by some likely includes: we will be outta here by then.
An old post for background: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/05/pakistan-the-narratives-come-home-to-roost-by-omar-ali-.html

It could have been different. But all the mistakes were not made in Pakistan. Uncle Sam made his share.
Anyway, here is an optimistic take from 2011: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/03/pakistan-failed-state-or-weimar-republic-omar-ali.html

and the 100 onions and 100 slaps strategy is explained here: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/06/pakistan-end-of-the-affair-by-omar-ali.html

11-11-2013, 11:47 PM
A puzzling Pakistani explanation in 'The Dawn', over-long alas, but some insight is there:
Why is one side always so quiet, always ceding so much space to even the mainstream enablers and sympathisers of the Taliban?


11-13-2013, 06:27 PM
More here (unfortunately, mostly in Urdu)


btw, the Air Marshall sahib representing the Pakistani army is the core of this post...

02-17-2014, 03:57 PM
A short note about Baloch separatist terrorism:


02-19-2014, 12:35 AM
and about anti-TTP ops part X


02-24-2014, 05:45 PM
my latest piece: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2014/02/pakistan-negotiations-and-operations-and-islamicate-rationality.html

02-24-2014, 11:36 PM
A rather curious Pakistani press report on the Pakistani Army, the language verges on the skeptical, if not cynical:http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-28737-Army-is-now-a-think-tank-a-spy-network-an-FO

This analogy is sharply made:
..the beauty of the Pakistan Army. They were the first to really screw-up on the extremism front, but they’re now leading the charge to fix it. It’s the classic case of the heart surgeon who smokes himself. But this heart surgeon claims he’s done smoking, and we should quit, too.

02-25-2014, 12:56 AM
The author (Wajahat Khan) is an American educated youngster who seems to have a lot of access to the army. I dont know him personally, but he reminds me of some other army brats I knew...Paknationalist, a bit shallow, very hip, able to get rides on helicopters and talk to officers because everyone is "uncle Jimmy" or Uncle Jimmy's friend, and Uncle Jimmy is a very senior officer....he seems to be the Pakistani-American face of ISPR (inter-services public relations) these days, which means he probably does represent the views of the "modernist paknationalist" faction of the army...not an insignificant faction in the upper echelons.
They are not as modern as they think they are (operating mostly on the TIME magazine and what-ho-old-chap frequencies), but I am sure they mean well.
I guess almost everyone means well. The critical question to ask them would be "what do you intend to do in Afghanistan and Kashmir?". If that answer remains unchanged, then its likely to be more of the same. IF that answer has changed, then its genuinely good news..

02-25-2014, 05:05 AM

I have two questions about your 3quarks piece.

First, where do the rank and file stand in dealing with the problems that are coming? Will they go along with their commanders or will they object to finally destroying the Jihadis?

Second, do you think another Mumbai will be tried in the midst of all that is to come?

02-25-2014, 07:35 PM
1. I dont think any unit would refuse to fight. That has NEVER been an issue. This army (especially at the lower levels) is still a descendant of the British Indian army, with many of its strengths and weaknesses. That means soldiers are heavily recruited from "martial areas", and they are the sort of people who will do their duty as long as they are treated honorably and paid on time. The ideology of Jihad motivates them (thats a change from British times) against India and is one reason the army finds it easy to just pretend these taliban are Indian agents too. But even if that is out of the equation, they will do their duty. Individuals with Jihadi sympathies may be spying for the enemy and there may be some extremely extremely rare event where some fifth columnist cooperates with them in an attack, but on the whole, the army will fight who they are told to fight. A lot of the "Pakistanis love jihad so please pay us an extra ten billion to fool them" is just the leadership using Jihadis as a convenient excuse to get more cash out of uncle Sam. I am not saying there isnt a real reservior of support for jihadis in the general population, but its my impression its actually likely to be LESS in the army (using Jihad as motivator against India is a separate line item entirely). Army discipline is intact. Soldiers will fight because that is what the orders are and they obey orders..and in many cases, that is a longstanding (and honorable) tradition in their villages (though the martial race thing has been diluted, its not dead).
Does that make sense?
2. I doubt there will be a Mumbai unless the army wants one. That level of preparation and support is not something anyone can do without the secret agencies being helpful, or at least making sure they look away. Smaller acts of terrorism, sure, that can happen. But that was such a well planned, rehearsed, prepared, monitored and guided operation. That cannnot happen without connivance or at least determined "looking the other way".

02-26-2014, 03:45 PM
Thank you Omar.

What you say about the army and the soldiers makes perfect sense.

That is what I am concerned about, that the army will want another Mumbai in order to create external trouble when they figure they need it. And that may be if things get out of hand and they want to distract people from that. I don't suppose though there is any way to predict that. It would depend to much on the situation and individuals who were dominant at the time perhaps.

03-24-2014, 04:50 PM
My latest piece about Shia-killing in Pakistan


03-25-2014, 02:04 AM
My latest piece about Shia-killing in Pakistan


Omar, I never thought it through like that. It's chilling. Especially since they won't change course. They are on the verge of winning a great victory and they won't give up the tool they used to achieve that.

So Pakistan is in very deep trouble. For several years I have thought that the only chance the country of Pakistan had was if we beat the Pak Army/ISI in Afghanistan thereby discrediting them. We didn't choose to fight so there was no chance we would defeat them. The Quds Force won't be so diffident.

05-01-2014, 06:24 PM
This short WoTR piece looks interesting, the opening passage may give a clue why:
When it comes to Pakistan’s bad guys, leaders of the country’s major militant groups—such as Hafiz Saeed of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Mullah Fazlullah of the Pakistani Taliban—tend to hog the headlines. Many more are less well known—yet still highly consequential. Five in particular are worth singling out—not just because they threaten stability, but because they foreshadow Pakistani militancy’s future trajectory.

The evolution of this trajectory will likely feature five distinct trends: Uncompromisingly violent anti-state militant factions constraining Pakistani government peace efforts; associations with a resilient al-Qaeda that remains fixated on both local and global targets; a re-emergence of India-focused militancy; sectarian extremists with strong political influence and associations with the state attempting to earn legitimacy from an increasingly radicalized society; and state assets violently turning on their patrons at a time when the Pakistani security establishment can ill afford new sources of unrest. The five men described below each exemplify one of these trends


05-19-2014, 02:07 PM
Not seen anything before about this development and very notably who is reported as a staunch supporter:
Punjab's chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, who is also the prime minister's brother, is serious about the forensics project. He has invested heavily. The lab, funded without federal or international grants, had an initial cost of $25 million and its expenses total $7 million a year.

He is aware that the police may not "be on message":
We now have to change habits....The police need to still learn to understand its great advantages. They are used to, unfortunately, in some cases, conniving with the culprits. They don't send samples over here unless they feel they are being watched and monitored.


06-15-2014, 07:01 PM
I nearly missed this:
Pakistan's military said it had ordered thousands of ground troops into its most restive region on Sunday evening, launching its long-awaited ground offensive to clear North Waziristan of terrorist bases. The operation is named Zarb-e-Azb after one of the Prophet Mohammed's swords.


06-15-2014, 07:20 PM
I think it is important to keep this in perspective:

1. The army has finally realized (or finally feels confident of doing what it realized a while ago) that the bad Taliban are simply intolerable and must be eliminated. They have been beheading soldiers and playing football with their heads for ages, so this realization is not exactly a stroke of genius. But, better late than never.
2. There will be no operation (yet) against their front organizations and fellow travelers (JUI-S, Jamat e Islami, right wing of the PTI, etc). There is also no sign of any decisive action against the Lashkar e Jhangvi (the anti-Shia killing machine). And of course, the good Taliban and good Jihadists are all on our good side at this time.
3. ALL of the above will eventually have to be tackled.
4. Even small numbers of determined terrorists can maintain a terror campaign for years.
So this is a beginning, not an ending. Maybe not even the "end of the beginning" yet...

06-15-2014, 07:27 PM
an old post about what liberals should do now

06-16-2014, 05:30 AM
Who are the Uzbeks launching terror strikes in Pakistan
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) militants are lethal, ruthless and faceless and physically fitter than the TTP militants. The officials, who examined the bodies of the 10 terrorists killed in Karachi Airport Old Terminal Attack, indicated that appeared Uzbeks and Chechens. On Sunday night of June 8, the target of these militants was the Old Terminal of Karachi Airport. An important member of the ground combat team told The News that siege lasted more than four hours.....

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, air strikes on terrorists’ hideouts in North Waziristan Agency killed 60 hardcore terrorists including some important commanders and foreigners.

This was not the first time that IMU carried out attack in Pakistan.

It appears that terrorists of all nationalities are finding safe havens in Pakistan and wreaking havoc by biting the hand that feeds!

06-16-2014, 06:42 AM

I would agree with you - in part that:
the 10 terrorists killed in Karachi Airport Old Terminal Attack, indicated that appeared Uzbeks and Chechens.....It appears that terrorists of all nationalities are finding safe havens in Pakistan and wreaking havoc by biting the hand that feeds!

The Pakistani state for a long time, certainly since 2005, have repeatedly described the "offside" hostile militants as 'foreign militants' - as if there was a clear line within the hostile militants. For that reason I am wary that all the Karachi dead are Uzbeks. There maybe some advantage in stating such attacks are carried out by capable foreigners, so impugning those who are home-grown. Finally the Uzbeks have been in Pakistan for sometime, since 9/11 and IIRC date back to the Soviet era in Afghanistan.

06-16-2014, 10:18 AM

I would agree with you - in part that:

The Pakistani state for a long time, certainly since 2005, have repeatedly described the "offside" hostile militants as 'foreign militants' - as if there was a clear line within the hostile militants. For that reason I am wary that all the Karachi dead are Uzbeks. There maybe some advantage in stating such attacks are carried out by capable foreigners, so impugning those who are home-grown. Finally the Uzbeks have been in Pakistan for sometime, since 9/11 and IIRC date back to the Soviet era in Afghanistan.

My point is that why is Pakistan allowing its image to be sullied by allowing all and sundry who have nothing to do with Pakistan running a riot?

Am I to understand that ummah is greater than nationhood?

If Pakistan cares about being a nation, shouldn't they throw them out and saying 'thank you', they having gone way past their expiry date as far as the jihad to throw the Soviets out?

I take it throwing out of the Soviets was not a Pakistani action alone, but an Islamic action.

07-07-2014, 12:34 PM
Christine Fair in a sharp commentary on WoTR on Pakistan's offensive into North Waziristan, which ends with:
There is no likelihood that the Pakistan army will decide to shut down its support to the menagerie of Islamist militants operating in and from Pakistan. Therefore it’s difficult to not conclude that many innocent Pashtuns will die, lose their property, and remain in camps for internally displaced persons so that the Pakistan army can—once again—fool its citizenry and the international community all the while continuing to play the double game that it plays so well. Yes. We’ve seen this show before. And it never has a satisfying ending.


08-08-2014, 04:07 PM
A rare article on policing in pakistan, this time with NWFP as the focus. Yes there is an element of "spin", but the figures used are rarely seen IMHO:http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/law-and-order/

First human losses for the NWFP police (not other agencies):
...crime and terrorism has claiemd the lives of 1,015 police officials and wounded some 2,000....since 2006...

Terrorism - good work:
..between July 2013 and June 2014 arrested 260 suspected terrorists...secured convictions for 109...seventy seven terror suspects were killed in police encounters.

08-12-2014, 06:06 PM
A former Pakistani police officer responds to changes afoot in Pakistan, with a new law of counter-terrorism. He starts with:
A nation at war certainly requires all the necessary tools for protection against insurrection and prevention of acts threatening its security. Viewed in this context, the Protection of Pakistan Act (PPA), passed by the National Assembly and the Senate, amounts to a declaration of war against militants across the country over the next two years. However, the elected representatives have gone too far to accommodate the needs and desires of the security agencies battling the militants. While some safeguards have been put in place, certain aspects nevertheless raise concerns.

(He ends) In the long term, it is the rule of law, good governance and socio-economic justice that will defeat the militants.


09-14-2014, 09:43 PM
Readers of this thread will recall my use of 'Stop, Go and now is it GO?' or similar. The following report suggests that some jihadists may have adopted 'Stop, selective Go and be nice'.

One of Pakistan's most deadly Taliban groups (The Punjabi Taliban) has abandoned its armed struggle and announced it will focus on a peaceful campaign calling on the country to adopt Islamic sharia law.

The Punjabi Taliban is believed to have carried out a number of significant terrorist attacks, including the 2009 assault on the Pakistan army's general headquarters in Rawalpindi, in which nine soldiers were killed; the commando raid on the Sri Lankan cricket team in the same year, and the 2011 attack on the naval airbase at Mehran in which 18 servicemen and two US-donated aircraft were destroyed.

.. the organisation would now limit its use of force to "infidel forces" and would focus on promoting sharia law....would continue to operate in Afghanistan but would focus on "Dawat Tablig" preaching and called on other Taliban factions to abandon their insurgencies in Pakistan.


I am sure the causes of this apparent change are many. Including the tradition of temporary compromises on both sides, with ceasefires, compensation, prisoner releases and the like. Now do we see the "hand" of ISI here?

09-15-2014, 06:57 PM
Asmatullah Muavia is the guy who claimed responsibility on behalf of his faction of the Taliban for the slaughter of foreign climbers at a Nanga Parbat base camp. I wonder if that crime can now be forgiven in exchange for future good behavior east of the Durand line? (lower level jihadis involved in the massacre are said to be in custody...whether serious custody or not is hard to say).

See my article on that atrocity here:

and more detail here:

09-26-2014, 09:44 PM
An article from Kings War Studies other blog Strife, by a PhD student Zoha Waseem: 'The arrival of IS in Pakistan and the politics of the caliphate':http://strifeblog.org/2014/09/26/the-arrival-of-is-in-pakistan-and-the-politics-of-the-caliphate/

She draws together a variety of sources and her own knowledge. As if Pakistan didn't have enough problems already, along come the well-funded IS trying to make an impact.

10-25-2014, 08:54 PM
A welcome BBC article, which opens with:
The sacking of Pakistani Taliban (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid for supporting Islamic State is the latest sign of divisions in an already fragmented militant movement. Over the years Pakistan's insurgents have spawned a bewildering array of splinter groups and factions, reports M Ilyas Khan.

10-31-2014, 07:50 PM
Once again Pakistan takes the US$ and condemns the USA, even when it strikes 'militants' who kill hundreds, thousands of its citizens, including a number of ISI staff and security forces:
Yesterday, after the US launched a drone strike in South Waziristan that reportedly killed a Haqqani Newtork commander known as Abdullah Haqqani and an al Qaeda leader, the spokeswoman for Pakistan's Foreign Ministry condemned the attack.

The Pakistani government even denounced a US strike that killed Hakeemullah Mehsud, the previous leader of the al Qaeda-linked Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Pakistanis.

Read more:http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2014/10/pakistan_condemns_drone_strike_1.php?

11-01-2014, 06:34 PM
Par for the course, but the really interesting questions are:
1. Does the US regard such condemnations as ritualistic and perhaps necessary for public consumption, while General Bobby and friends happily cooperate with the US where it matters?
2. The US regards these condemnations as hypocritical and at least mildly harmful, but bites its lip in the interest of X or Y higher cause; the overall situation still being positive?
3. The US hates these condemnations and would shut them down in a minute if it could, but its badly stuck and is desperate for a face-saving exit. So a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

Inquiring minds want to know (but probably wont be told openly by anyone who matters).

11-19-2014, 02:17 PM
One of the rare reports from North Waziristan, yes by a Pakistani reporter and one must assume either embedded or hosted by the Pakistani Army, It opens with:
Once described as the “epicentre of terrorism”, Miramshah is now reduced to mere rubble. The long row of hotels that had sprung up over the last few years and had been used by foreign militants as rest and relaxation centres have been blown up by air strikes and heavy artillery fire.

It ends in part with:
But unfortunately, it is a forgotten war for our political leadership. As one officer lamented: “It is painful to pick up every day the bodies of our fellow soldiers and young officers often blown into pieces by IEDs, but it is more agonising to hear some politicians sympathising with the killers.”

11-19-2014, 06:34 PM
Zahid Hussain is a very good reporter, but the officer's quote is a bit rich; blaming the civilian politicians for not being on-board with this war. Who was hosting, protecting, arming, training, supporting all these Jihadi organizations (the big daddies like Haqqanis and Gul Bahadur in particular) for the last 25 years?
The army is the only institution that can do the job, so everyone has to support them when and if they do move against one of their former comrades, but to criticize the civilians for not being ardent enough in this task is a bit much....

11-20-2014, 11:46 PM
A short BBC report on policing in Pakistan's biggest city, based on a World Service programme. A very thin "blue line" and as for the courts, incredible:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30115827

Starts with:
Pakistan's police are on the front line battling the Taliban. Not just in the remote north of the country, near the border with Afghanistan, but in Karachi, the country's economic and cultural heart.

He is open about the use of what he calls "arm twisting". He admits waterboarding is sometimes used, and I spot a taser gun in his hand although I do not witness him using it...

It can often take 10 years or more for a case to go through the courts.

Nothing startling if you know about policing there, but a good illustration of how Pakistan works, plus comments from a suspected Taliban member.

11-21-2014, 10:08 AM
A short BBC report on policing in Pakistan's biggest city, based on a World Service programme. A very thin "blue line" and as for the courts, incredible:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30115827

Starts with:

Nothing startling if you know about policing there, but a good illustration of how Pakistan works, plus comments from a suspected Taliban member.

From a Pakistani PhD student who grew up in the Swat Valley and did his university time in Karachi: It is quite common that in some neighborhoods family re-unions gone wrong or religious disputes cause dozens of dead and injured people. Ten dead people per night are considered BAU according to him.

He was realy surprised that an Austrian city of 300.000 can be run without obvious police presence and almost could not believe that this city has only 6 homicide victims per year.

11-21-2014, 11:21 AM
Perhaps just a quick comparision with the US LE deaths (http://www.nleomf.org/facts/officer-fatalities-data/causes.html):

There are more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States, which is the highest figure ever. About 12 percent of those are female.

Roughly 150 per year, 1 out of 6000. It is difficult to break down the numbers, but certainly accidents played a big role with fifty percent not being that wide off. Suicides are surprisingly close to the sum of all other causes of death, if one can believe various sources. (http://www.policesuicidestudy.com/) Actually in 2012 they were a bigger cause of death the all those suffered during duty.*

2012 Fatalities

In 2012, traffic incidents were the leading cause of officer fatalities, as they have been for 14 of the last 15 years.

But at the same time, 2012 had the lowest number of law enforcement officers to die in traffic-related incidents since 1991 (with 43 fatalities).

If we take 300 deaths per year from a 15,000 strong force 1 out of 50 from the Karachi LE doesn't make it.

BTW: I tried to find European figures, but there only seem to be national ones. In any case forty years ago (http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-41170559.html) after a sensational 'Bild' report the Spiegel quoted:

Denn während für 1974 (bezogen auf je 100 000 Vollbeschäftigte) die Berufsgenossenschaft Seefahrt 157 Todesfälle meldete, die der Binnenschiffer 127, der Bergbau 103 und der Tiefbau 47, verzeichnete die Polizeistatistik mit 17,8 einen Wert, der nur um 0,1 über dem des Jahres 1965 lag. Im Vergleich mit dem Risiko anderer Professionen. folgern die Soziologen, "liegt das der Vollzugsbeamten auf einem unteren Rangplatz", vor allem: Es ist in letzter Zeit kaum nennenswert gestiegen.

One profession suffered almost ten times the deaths per capita. Of course one should have used a couple of years and only big groups to, but it is fair to say that other occupations are in the Western world considerably more life-threatening then being a police officer. For an European officer wearing a seat belt might be more important then using body armour...

Things are obviously quite different in Karachi.

*Some details remain unclear.

12-17-2014, 12:45 PM
It is the ever most terrible and grieved event taking place in Peshawar, Pakistan that resulted in the loss of 143 lives and 150 injured. Among the deaths included more than 130 School Children, belonging to upper class families in Peshawar (PAK Army officers, Government officials and famous Political leaders), two young female School Teachers, a Professor of mathematics and the School Principal were martyred. The Tehrik Taliban Pakistan based in FATA (which is a lawless area in Pakistan), claimed the responsibility for this event.

Terrorism Background: Geographically and politically, Pakistan is placed in a region of great tension influenced by both the immediate neighbors and global powers and is playing a key role in matters of global security. However, many crimes are faced as a result of careless management of refugees and illegal immigrants (including more than 7 millions from Afghanistan, Iran, Burma, Bangladesh and India) and the internally displaced people from the lawless regions in Pakistan.

The internal terrorism is on rise since the October 2001 that made number of productive activities meant for socio-economic development, uncompetitive both in the domestic and international markets resulting in employment and businesses insecurity. The total number of Pakistani killed in crimes and terrorism in the last decade is around 60,000 and more than 200,000 injured; more than 1.50 millions affected; critical facilities and infrastructures destroyed; many people have been disappeared. All these have terrorized and traumatized every other individual, resulting in increase in unemployment and poverty, inclination of people towards unfair means and crimes, harmful effects on developing community programmes, brain drain to foreign countries.

Description of the Incident: This particular event on Tuesday 16 December 2014 is carried out at the Army Public School Peshawar by a group of about eight terrorists (of age 25 to 30 years) dressed in the Frontier Corps uniform (a paramilitary in the KP Province), warring suicide jackets and carrying very large ammunition of latest technology. These terrorists entered the school from the graveyard at the backside at around 11 AM, killing three security guards, talking to each other in Pashto and Arabic. The school at that time was full of around two thousands students. The terrorists first entered the auditorium that was full of students (particularly of 8th and 10th class) busy in taking examinations. The terrorists started indiscriminate firing towards the students. Since the terrorists entered from the backside, some of the students run outside ground to escape. However, the terrorists stormed the ground, killing all the students, some of the students escaped being injured while few uninjured and went out of the school gate. The terrorists entered then the examination hall, where the 11th class students were busy in taking examination, and started indiscriminate firing – killing and injuring all (in the hall, those who run outside ground) where only few escaped unharmed and went out of the school gate. The terrorists when stormed the ground floor of the school, entered each and every classroom and laboratory (on the ground and the first floor) and killed everyone found – few of the students and staff fortunately escaped the deaths. The terrorists conducted the operation very promptly and rushed to escape. However, the Pakistan Army (quick response force) arrived soon, starting the counter-attack, and exchanged fire with the terrorists. The terrorists injured in the fire exchange blowed up themselves, resulting also in the deaths of more school children. The counter attacks by PAK Army were continued till evening - all the terrorists were targeted by PAK Army forces from outside the school through windows, ventilators whereas quick response forces that entered the school killed three of the terrorists.

Event Relevance: The ISPR (military media) reported that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in his interview to the media stated that the terrorists were carrying large amount of weapons and foodstuff sufficient for some days. The COAS mentioned that the PAK Army has identified the terrorists, the group to which they belong to and the place from where this operation was controlled. The Tehrik-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Khalid Khurasani contacted the media through telephone that this operation was carried out in response to the Zarb-e-Azab operation that has been launched by PAK Army in June 2014 in the Northern Waziristan near Afghan border. Early morning the TTP Leader (Amir) Fazl Ullah telephoned one of the TV Channels Bureau Chief that in a few while He (Fazl Ullah) is attacking a school in Peshawar. The Bureau Chief reported that He (Fazl Ullah) ordered the terrorists to particularly target the children those belonging to the families of Pakistan Armed Forces and government high officials. The COAS went to Kabul, Afghanistan today (early morning) to demand the Afghanistan Government to handover TTP Leader Fazl Ullah. Since, He (Fazl Ullah) has warned of launching further attacks.

Event Impacts: The Prime Minister and other high-level political leaders arrived in Peshawar yesterday on the request of the PM. The PM in his address at the Peshawar KP Assembly said that this coward acts cannot diminish our will to eliminate terrorism. The PM mentioned that such acts of cowardice will not deter our resolve against terrorism and said that the Zarb-e-Azb operation will continue till the extermination of the last terrorist. The PM also ordered the KP Government to hang-till-death all those prisoners, which have been involved in various past terrorism activities and have been found guilty. The execution will be started within the next 48 Hrs.; it is to discourage the terrorism practices in the country.

12-17-2014, 01:06 PM
The Tehreek-e-Taliban's (TTP) murderous attack on an Army Public School @ Peshawar, is being widely reported - with 132 children and 9 staff killed. For details:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-30507836

SWC has followed events in Pakistan for a long time now, sometimes angry, often frustrated and frequently puzzled at the actions of an 'ally'. I suspect some will say nothing will change, so embedded is tolerance of some non-state violent actors within the Pakistani state.

In my reading I found these commentaries useful. First Zoha Waseem, a Pakistani @ KIngs War Studies:http://strifeblog.org/2014/12/16/over-130-children-killed-in-tragic-peshawar-attack/

It includes the TTP explanation for the attack:
Our suicide bombers have entered the school. They have instructions not to harm the children, but to target the army personnel. We targeted the school because the army targets our families. We want them to feel out pain. It’s a revenge attack for the army offensive in North Waziristan.

Shashank Joshi, of RUSI, provides the wider, public context based on Pew's opinion polling earlier this year:http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2014/12/17/Will-school-attack-finally-change-Pakistani-attitudes-to-the-Taliban.aspx?COLLCC=3009934309&

....8% of surveyed Pakistanis held a favourable view of the TTP. This is a small proportion, and belies the notion of widespread popularity. Nonetheless, on a crude extrapolation, it would amount to a staggering 14 million Pakistanis. Although a much larger slice of the population holds negative views of the Taliban (59%), this disapproval rate has fallen steadily from a high of 70% in 2009....

Finally Imran Awan, a British academic, calmly points aout the difference between Islam and terror:http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/imran-awan/killed-for-simply-going-t_b_6335352.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Personally I cannot see the stance of the whole Pakistani state changing, it may change the attitude of the Army to being far harder. The Pakistani public simply see India as the threat, regardless of how many Pakistanis die.

12-18-2014, 11:09 AM
Is the indignation in Pakistan genuine and will it last?

Sharif has said that there is no good Taliban.

But has he acted?

Hafeez Saeed the mastermind of the Mumbai carnage roams free even though he has been declared by the UN and the US as a terrorist. US has put a bounty on his head.

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, accused of planning the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed six years ago has been granted bail.

These are all cosmetic stuff. Nothing will change.

Salmaan Taseer, 26th governor of the province of Punjab from 2008 was assassinated in early 2011 by his own security guard Mumtaz Qadri, who disagreed with Taseer's opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy law.

The Jamaat Ahle Sunnat, an Islamic religious organisation representing the Barelvi movement, issued an advisory against mourning his death. They also declared Qadri a "hero of the Muslim world."

Pakistan A Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan commander in South Waziristan said that Taseer would have been assassinated anyway "very soon" even if he had not been killed by Qadri.

Politicians of Pakistan 'mourned' his death, but the Govt remained impotent and scared.

Those who understand the Pakistan psyche will know that a leopard can't change its spots.

Hilary Clinton has warned Pakistan by stating "It's like that old story - you can't keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbours. Eventually those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard",

Clinton said this during a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

Pak Army and the ISI has spawned the Taliban for strategic reasons.

But these depraved people the Taliban has bitten the hand that feeds by killing children of the Army that sponsors them.

Will the Army forgive?

Maybe since they have strategic reasons to foist a 'strategic weapon' of their creation even if it is a Frankenstein.


Is there a difference between Islam and Terror?

Must be, but the whole image is blurring since the Islamic countries and people themselves are doing sweet nothing to rein in these elements or make strident campaigns against those, who they claim is giving Islam a 'bad name'.

The passivity translates as unsaid unequivocal support.

They have even taken on Australia. It is cute to call it a 'lone wolf' attack. Lone Wolf? What made him join the wolf pack is what is the million dollar question that requires to be nipped in the bud and not get into political correctness of calling it a 'lone wolf' issues.

Too many 'lone wolves' seem to be howling at the Moon of Islam world ascendancy.

It is time for the world to smell the coffee and be serious about this scourge.

Islam has it place and it must be given its space. But it cannot transcend on others' space either.

The fundamentalist Islam is spawning neo Nazis around the world and that too is dangerous.

Germany recently had a Neo Nazi march that was well attended by even those who were not sympathisers. People around the world are getting radicalised because of the Islam aggressive advent and activities.

It is time to make the world an area of peace and not of strife on stupid reasons.


Imran Awan, a British academic is the typical fraud cloaking his thoughts with fraudulent ideas claiming Killed for Simply Going to School, Don't Blame Religion - Blame Terror

Good man, who sponsored Terror in the first place. Let's go back to that Machiavellian bloke Zia, who pampered Islamists to give legitimacy to his illegitimate government?

And why has religion not fought back against those who terrorise in the name of religion, if that is false in Islam?

His contention is the stupidity that is perpetrated by this so called 'intellectuals' to divert from the crux of the issue. Islam is a religion of Peace! If so, do something and go after them and annihilate them, so that there is Peace. Sticks and Stones can alone harm them, woolly woolly esoteric talk wont.

12-18-2014, 03:30 PM
Short Answer: No.

Long answer: http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/2014/12/massacre-of-innocents-death-comes-again.html


There has been an explosion of outrage in Pakistan. Even Imran Khan managed to condemn the TTP by name (though PTI's offical account still tweeted that "Whoever" did this, did something awful). The Pakistani state has reportedly stuck back already at Taliban targets. The PM and the army chief have promised action (and are likely sincere, as far as that goes). The media has condemned the attack. Social media has been on fire. So far so good.
But within hours, the narrative has already started to fracture. First the media groups managed to invite people like Hamid Gul, Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Abdul Aziz (of Red mosque fame) to comment on this terrorist attack. And they managed to muddle the issue with references to the Indian hand and the eternal enemies of Pakistan (Afghanistan, Jews, America, that sort of thing). And on ARY (the most pro-army of Pakistan's many pro-army channels) the anchors themselves have been leading the charge. Mubasher Lucman, for example, angrily demanded that the first step needed at this time was to ban Indian overflights to Afghanistan! Top Military propagandist Ahmed Qureshi and loonies like Zaid Hamid have been busy blustering about how India will be made to pay for this latest atrocity.
The more things change. .

I wrote a piece three and a half years ago about the Pakistani anti-terror narrative and it's confusions and it is depressing to find that little or nothing needs to be changed in that article. The entire piece, unedited, is pasted at the end of this post.

There is a lot of talk about how this particular horrendous event is SO horrendous that now things really HAVE to change. Maybe. But do keep in mind that this is not the first mass casualty attack. There have been attacks on the Marriot hotel, an Ahmedi mosque, a volleyball match, a meena bazar, a church, even a mosque near GHQ (where the son of a corps commander was among the civilian victims killed in cold blood). And of course there have been countless massacres of Hazara and other Shias. Literally thousands of people have died in these attacks. But until now, there is no evidence that the army has changed it's basic "good terrorist/bad terrorist" policy. Terrorists who kill schoolchildren and shoot up railway stations in Kabul and Mumbai are good. Terrorists who kill children in Pakistan are bad. That policy has not worked for 13 years. It is not going to start working now.

How can we tell that GHQ is really changing policy:

1. Ahmed Qureshi and Zaid Hamid are suddenly out of a job and publicly disowned by the army.
2. Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was sentenced to death years ago for the killing of Daniel Pearl (a terrorist act he may not have committed, though he has surely committed many others). He has not been hanged. In fact there are intermittent reports of him living it up in prison. If he is hanged, that will be a sign of change. Especially since his handler was the famous brigadier Ejaz Shah (a close associate of the father of the double game, Pervez Musharraf himself).
3. Mumbai attackers rapid trial and punishment. Outside of Pakistan, everybody and their aunt knows that a group of ten terrorists from Pakistan landed in Mumbai in 2008 and cold bloodedly killed a 168 innocent people. In a famous picture, one of the attackes is calmly walking down the platform at Mumbai Railway station, shooting random civilians sitting on the platform.

Because of international pressure, the FIA (federal investigation agency) in Pakistan actually carried out a very thorough inquiry in Pakistan and identified several people who arranged things for the killers, who trained them, who sent them on their way. The FIA may not have reached all the way to the top, but they certainly made a case against some of the lower level people involved. But 6 years have passed and the trial of these terrorists has not moved forward. The prosecutor has been shot dead. And the supposed military mastermind (Zaki ur Rahman Lakhvi of the JUD/LET) is living it up in prison, and reportedly even got married and conceived a child in prison. If the army has changed it's mind about terrorism, then the trial of these terrorists has to move forward.

Unless you see some of these happenings, things will go back to "normal" ....

A dissenting note about the double game from a friend on facebook:
no, not a double game any more. they are being played by the taliban now, manipulating the internecine fault-lines inside the ISI and the army. they don't mind a few casualties in the mountains, if that is the price (in fact their foot-soldiers welcome the chance for martyrdom). they have the indomitable resolution of a madman doing god's work, while the army has the emptied ideology of a failed religious state being devoured by corruption. by day the generals pay hollow homage to the motherland and at night send tithes to their new fathers in the mountains, hoping to buy personal protection from the next suicide attack for themselves and their families.

A more sober take from the redoubtable Ahsan Butt on Five Rupees.

POSTSCRIPT: it is not looking good for those who thought some great sea change is coming. The script on the media has changed on PTV and to some extent on GEO, but remains the same on other channels and especially on the army's favorite channels like ARY and Dunya..... Blame India, CIA and the Jews. Invite Hafiz Saeed, Hamid Gul and other similar jokers to fog everything up. Bomb someone in the tribal areas and generate suspiciously exact body counts.
Until the next bombing.
Unfortunately it does look like the song remains the same...

Postscript2: Got some feedback from people focused on the role of Islam in these outrages. I would like to emphasize that while various forms of Islamism are causing problems in many parts of the world, Islam is NOT the proximate cause of the choices made by the Pakistani establishment. Hard Paknationalism is the primary driver. Someone like Musharraf (father of the infamous double-game) was not too bothered about Islam. What caused him to maintain the Taliban and other Jihadist groups was Paknationalism; specifically the "hard paknationalist" belief that we have to defeat India and to do that we need certain force multipliers/strategic-assets/deniable-non-state-actors and the Jihadis are the only people who will do that job. It is this belief that drives the "good-taliban/bad-Taliban" policy and the double games it entails. Commitment to fundamentalist Islam has little or nothing to do with it. (though of course, no Islam, no partition in the first place, so there are other turtles below the first one)...

Btw, Zaki ur Rahman Lakhvi's bail was approved today. Talk about timing and messaging. The message is clear. We have Uncle Sam over a barrel. Nothing is going to change.

12-19-2014, 08:03 AM
A very analytical post by omarali50.

worth note.

12-19-2014, 01:53 PM
The BBC's Owen Bennett-Jones comments:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-30520596

Shashank Joshi has an article in the FT (behind a registration wall) and this paragraph, which alas illustrates all too well the problem in Pakistan:
When General Pervez Musharraf (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/pervez-musharraf-blames-india-for-peshawar-attack-says-raw-trained-taliban-commander-fazlullah/518589-56.html), Pakistan’s former military dictator, argued on Wednesday that India should be held responsible for the previous day’s massacre, he was only echoing a wave of similar delusion on social media. From there, it is a short step to the view that the solution is more LeT, more Haqqanis and more Afghan Taliban — whatever the price to innocent civilians.

Twitter reports that the death warrants for six Pakistani convicted terrorists have been signed by the Army Chief of Staff; they were convicted in military courts and security is being increaded @ Karachi Jail, where they are held - prior to execution.

12-19-2014, 09:52 PM
On Twitter based on a Pakistan MoD Tweet:
TTP commander Fazal Ullah was killed in an airstrike carried out by PAF jets inside Afghanistan......The SSG operators have now responded with the visual confirmation of the dead body of TTP commander Fazal Ullah.

12-19-2014, 09:55 PM
Also from a Pakistani MoD Tweet and this will make the pakistani people think:
PM Sharif signs death penalty for 122 terrorists who were awaiting death sentences due to Moratorium.

(Earlier) 8 more terrorists to be hanged anytime soon. Death warrants received by Jail Superintendents.

BBC background on the then possible hangings:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-30556260

12-20-2014, 01:58 PM
Three articles from Pakistan. The first by a human rights advocate notes the label 'terrorist' by their courts is not very accurate:
..the government’s proposal to start executing so-called ‘terrorists’ on Pakistan’s 8,000 strong death row would be a shameful and inadequate reaction, which will neither help the victims of this week’s atrocity nor improve the security situation in Pakistan.

In 'Who is who of top 18 death row prisoners?' the writer ponders who will hang? Maybe even Daniel Pearl's murderer:http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-34781-Who-is-who-of-top-18-death-row-prisoners

'It wasn't the final atrocity' is a commentary on what Pakistan needs:
No security measures can ever prevent attacks on soft targets. The only possible solution is to change mindsets. For this we must grapple with three hard facts. First, let’s openly admit that the killers are not outsiders or infidels. Instead, they are fighting a war for the reason Boko Haram fights in Nigeria, IS in Iraq and Syria, Al Shabab in Kenya, etc. The men who slaughtered our children are fighting for a dream — to destroy Pakistan as a Muslim state and recreate it as an Islamic state....

Second, Pakistan must scorn and punish those who either support terrorism publicly or lie to us about the identity of terrorists.....

Third, if Pakistan is to be at peace with itself then it must seek peace with its neighbours and begin disassembling the apparatus of jihad. The bitter truth is that you reap what you sow.

12-21-2014, 07:37 PM
Former ambassador Hussain Haqqani has summed up all my arguments and more in much better format. MUST READ


12-23-2014, 07:13 PM
if you are interested in GHQ's preferred messaging, here is the man himself


12-23-2014, 10:08 PM
For anyone who can understand urdu. Outstanding speech. https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=761289083962711

12-31-2014, 04:42 PM
From Zoha Waseem's Twitter (Kings War Studies PhD student):
In 2014 at least 1816 civilians and at least 140 police officers were killed in Karachi due to crime and terrorism-related violence.

Bill Moore
12-31-2014, 07:40 PM
From Zoha Waseem's Twitter (Kings War Studies PhD student):

I don't trust the numbers I'm providing, but they are probably approximate and Karachi seems relatively safe to many cities in America.


The lists vary from place to place, but here is an average of what the top ten most dangerous cities consist of.
1.San Pedro Sula, Honduras
2.Ciudad Jaurez, Mexico
3.Acapulco, Mexico
4.Caracas, Venezuela
5.Distrito Central, Honduras
6.Maceio, Brazil
7.Baghdad, Iraq
8.Sana’a, Yemen
9.Cape Town, South Africa
10.Karachi, Pakistan

The following list doesn't even list Karachi in the top 50 (doesn't mean its right):


Murder is more common in Latin America than in any other part of the world.

Thirty-four of the 50 worst cities were located in the region, including repeat murder capital of the world — San Pedro Sula, Honduras — which saw 187 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013 and is getting steadily worse. A full one-third of global homicides occur in Latin America even though the region has just 8% of the world's population, according to United Nations data.

And we're worried about Islamists?

01-02-2015, 03:49 PM
From the Dawn paper:
According to official figures, 701 suspects were killed in ‘encounters’ with police and 224 were gunned down in shootouts with the paramilitary Rangers while 143 personnel of police and 17 of Rangers were killed in targeted attacks in the metropolis, said spokespersons for police and Rangers.

The report has more:http://www.dawn.com/news/1154281


I wonder if those cities you listed above have similar figures for both civilian and state deaths.

01-02-2015, 04:42 PM
Beyond the sub-title there is value here, especially that painful question for the Pakistani people - so only killing Army children and their teachers causes the state to react?

Anyway the sub-title is:
In the absence of effective political institutional input to set up mechanisms able to handle terrorism, Pakistan has given the military a free hand to maintain the status quo.


02-01-2015, 04:10 AM
I have a post up about the latest Shia killing and long section on the background to this particular phenomenon in Pakistan


So where will this end? Prediction is where the pundit rubber meets the road, so here goes:

1. The state will make something of an effort to stop this madness. Shias are still not seen as outsiders by most educated Pakistani Sunnis. When middle class Pakistanis say “this cannot be the work of a Muslim” they are being sincere, even if they are not being accurate.
But if the state makes a greater effort to rein in the most hardcore Sunni militants, it will be forced to confront the “good jihadis” who are frequently linked to the same networks. This confrontation will eventually happen, but between now and “eventually” lies much confusion and bloodshed.

2. The Jihadist community will feel the pressure and the division between those who are willing to suspend domestic operations and those who no longer feel ISI has the cause of Jihadist Islam at heart will sharpen. The second group will be targeted by the state and will respond with more indiscriminate anti-Shia attacks. Just as in Iraq, jihadist gangs will blow up random innocent Shias whenever they want to make a point of any kind. Things (purely in terms of numbers killed) will get much worse before they get better. As the state opts out of Jihad (a difficult process, but one that is almost inevitable, the alternatives being extremely unpleasant) the killings will greatly accelerate and will continue for many years before order is re-established. The worst is definitely yet to come. This will naturally mean an accelerating Shia brain drain, but given the numbers that are there, total emigration is not an option. Many will remain and some will undoubtedly become very prominent in the anti-terrorist effort (and some will, unfortunately, become special targets for that reason).

3. IF the state is unable to opt out of Jihadist policies (no more “good jihadis” in Kashmir and Afghanistan and “bad jihadis” within Pakistan) then what? I don’t think even the strategists who want this outcome have thought it through. The economic and political consequences will be horrendous and as conditions deteriorate the weak, corrupt, semi-democratic state will have to give way to a Sunni “purity coup”. Though this may briefly stabilize matters it will eventually end with terrible regional war and the likely breakup of Pakistan. . Since that is a choice that almost no one wants (not India, not the US, not China, though perhaps Afghanistan wouldn’t mind) there will surely be a great deal of multinational effort to prevent such an eventuality. If it does happen, the future may look very different from the recent past (btw, a little explanation of the scenario building in that last link is here).
Sadly, the Tariq Ali type overseas/Westernized-elite Left will play no sensible role in any of this. If we do (God forbid) get to the nationalist-Sunni-coup phase; Pankaj Mishra may find something positive in it (“strength” and the willingness to stand up against imperialism being a high priority for him) but events will not fit into that semi-positive framework for too long.

04-12-2015, 02:51 PM
For anyone who can understand urdu. Outstanding speech. https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=761289083962711

Well that was horrifying. Especially the Mazar-i-Sharif part.


According to the person in the video, 2000 Hazara (Shia) were massacred when taliban took over the city and some Mullah gave them 3 choices.

1) Recite Kalma and become a "Muslim".

2) Remain a non Muslim and pay Jizya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jizya).

3) Or die.

At one point of time, you can hear an iPhone ringing, so I think it was a gathering of elites.

04-21-2015, 05:44 PM
ISLAMABAD: Just as Pakistan was celebrating the launch of Chinese investments worth $46 billion in the country, the militant organization Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Monday claimed to have successfully test fired its first indigenously developed missile named as "Omar-1".

To justify its claim, the TTP, which has presence across the country and currently resisting Pakistani troops in the volatile tribal regions on the border with Afghanistan, has issued a statement and posted a video demonstrating the launch of missile.


Waiting for the confirmation by Pak media. It is still unknown what kind of missile this is.

05-11-2015, 05:14 PM
On the Pak-China Economic Corridor


btw, does any credible person take the Taliban claim of downing the helicopter in Naltar seriously? or is there consensus that the chopper crash was an accident? I ask because Major Amin (who is frequently unprintably rude, but usually does have information) insists it was brought down, but nobody else seems to agree. What do "serious" people think? (obviously no one will reveal classified information, but what is out there in public?)
(Major Amin's claim is here http://electronicwarfares.blogspot.com/2015/05/major-pakistani-intel-and-security.html )

05-14-2015, 08:34 PM
Yet another example of the hatred by some Sunni towards the Shia minority, claimed by different groups. A simple BBC report:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-32732784

Want more, Zoha Waseem (Kings War Studies), adds much more:http://strifeblog.org/2015/05/13/karachi-attack-on-shia-community-calls-security-operation-into-question/

05-15-2015, 07:23 PM
I had an early post on this massacre. Nothing much has happened since in terms of leads or people being caught, so this is pretty much up to date.


06-24-2015, 08:41 PM
From a BBC report:
Officials in Pakistan's MQM party have told the UK authorities they received Indian government funds, the BBC learnt from an authoritative Pakistani source.UK authorities investigating the MQM for alleged money laundering also found a list of weapons in an MQM property.
A Pakistani official has told the BBC that India has trained hundreds of MQM militants over the last 10 years.
The Indian authorities described the claims as "completely baseless". The MQM said it was not going to comment.Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-33148880

The MQM is mainly active in Karachi and can order up crowds, disorder and shootings. For context see the stand-alone thread on Karachi:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=21443

07-29-2015, 10:14 AM
It appears that patience with his activity just ran out. The headline and subtitle from The Guardian:
Pakistan terrorist leader killed in police shootout
Malik Ishaq, head of al-Qaida-linked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, dies with 13 others in operation some suspect may have been staged by authorities Some of the detail:
Leaders of Pakistan’s most infamous sectarian terrorist group, including its founder Malik Ishaq, were killed in a gun battle with police on Wednesday that many suspect may have been deliberately staged.
Ishaq and 13 other militants from the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) – including two of his sons and a top official – died after gunmen attempted to free them from custody in a pre-dawn operation, police claimed.Link:http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/29/pakistan-terrorist-leader-maliq-ishaq-killed-police-shootout (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/29/pakistan-terrorist-leader-maliq-ishaq-killed-police-shootout)

(Added later):http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-33699133

07-29-2015, 10:53 PM
This is truly significant. Even if we suppose that his killikng is a one-off (maybe because he was not being cooperative and knew too much etc etc) and this is not a "genuine shift" in GHQ thinking (I think it IS a genuine shift, but just for the sake of argument), the end result is the same. True believer deobandi jihadists will leave the officially-approved Jihad world and move into opposition. Their numbers may be small and their ability to disrupt things less than it was advertised when their threat was magnified to get American money flowing or to explain why we couldnt "do more", but they are true believers. Without true believers, what will become of the official Jihad-machine and the two-nation theory? What asabiya will unite Pakistan? Sure, Gabon manages without deep Gabonese Asabiya, but we are not Gabon.
Interesting times.

08-23-2015, 12:08 PM
A succinct commentary in The Economist Explains and ends with:
In December 2014 a Pakistani branch of the Taliban massacred more than 130 schoolboys on Pakistani soil, in the city of Peshawar. In response the prime minister vowed to end the state's old distinction between “good and bad Taliban”. Progress towards that goal had seemed patchy, at least until July 29th, when the senior leadership of LeJ, including its kingpin, the once-untouchable Malik Ishaq, were all gunned down. The police have barely bothered to pretend the incident was anything other than a mass extra-judicial killing. Even people who were appalled to hear that Ishaq had been summarily executed hope to draw the conclusion that Pakistan has finally learned its lesson

Just maybe the July 29th killing means a change in policy.

08-29-2015, 10:15 AM
An obituary on the fifth anniversary of a senior pakistani police officer, Safwat Ghayur, a native of Peshawar, murdered by the Taliban, when he was commanding the Frontier Constabulary. The author is Hamid Hussain, our irregular contributor and the quote has been edited from 16k to 10k to fit.


August 04 was the fifth death anniversary of Safwat Ghayur. An army officer who met Safwat first time described him as “a lean man, with loosely fitted clothes, a hint of pattas (a pushtu word for hair coming down over the neck) peeping out from behind his beret, with a swagger in his gait, a sultry smile and a twinkle in his eye. He was a good looking person radiating confidence and authority”. This is the best description of a fine police officer and a gentleman who laid down his life to secure peace of his beloved city. He was killed in an attack on his vehicle by a suicide bomber in Peshawar on August 04, 2010 and police lost one of its finest and bravest officers.

Safwat spent most of career in his hometown of Peshawar and started his fight against militancy in 1990s long before the rest of the country was aware of the danger. In 1997, he spearheaded the ‘Operation Garbage Dump’ to tackle foreign militants in Jalozai camp near Peshawar. In the last few years of his career, he was at the forefront of the battle against militants encroaching on the city from all directions. Peshawar was literally under siege from militants based in surrounding Khyber, Mohmand and Darra Adam Khel tribal territories. He never blinked and stood up with an ill equipped and poorly trained force against hard core militants. This was the time when more than half of the KPK police was equipped with World War II vintage .303 rifles while militants were brandishing AK-47s, submachine guns and rocket launchers. He was always at the front risking his life to protect the citizens of Peshawar.

Safwat was from a well respected and well connected family. His close relatives include army officers, civil servants, ambassadors, politicians, ministers, governor etc. He could have easily opted for a less risky and safe appointment but he decided to be in the trenches where the battle for the survival of Pakistan is being fought. He was one of the few officers whose heart and mind was in right place. There was no confusion and ambiguity. He saw militants as a clear and present danger and carried his duties with vigor and dedication.

As DIG Peshawar Range and CCPO Peshawar, he worked closely with Frontier Corps to secure the city. Safwat was not the kind of guy who would take a back seat. During an apex committee meeting which was chaired by Governor of KPK and his cousin Owais Ghani, he announced that he had subordinated himself to Inspector General of Frontier Corps (IGFC) and that all further instructions for him should be routed through IGFC. In September 2009, he was relieved of his duties due to medical reasons under intense pressure from his family and friends. However, a restless soul like Safwat could not be tamed and barely two months later when the opportunity came to be in the frontlines with his soldiers, he jumped in the fray again.

In December 2009, he was appointed Commandant of Frontier Constabulary. He was frustrated due to the fact that a large number of his force was deployed on protection duties of VIPs. He approached everyone who would listen and with the help of IGFC, he was able to get back about 40 platoons of Frontier Constabulary. Now, his next step was to improve training and administration of his force and lift the sagging morale. He was a hard task master but never asked from his subordinates what he wouldn’t do himself. He removed the dead wood very quickly and dismissed several platoons not up to the task in one go. He sacked about 30 platoons (around 900 soldiers). Once he turned around his force, he now went to army and FC and asked for an opportunity to take his reconditioned constabulary into some operation to build up their operational confidence. He was assigned the task of cleaning up Kala Dhaka (a provincially administered tribal area) in Mansehra district that was the den of criminals and militants. After a successful operation there Frontier Constabulary had a new look. Safwat began to pester IGFC for some more combat opportunities on a larger scale. He was given the task of cleaning Pastawana area with the main objective around Tor Chappar in Darra Adam Khel. This Frontier Region (FR) of Peshawar and Kohat was at a strategic location and local chapter of Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) used this area to launch attacks in Peshawar, Kohat, Nowshehra, Mardan and Attock. The operation named ‘Spring Cleaning’ was carried out in February-March 2010. A joint tactical HQ was established in Dara Adam Khel with a reserve Quick Reaction Force (QRF) of Frontier Corps, artillery and attack helicopters in support but they were never needed. Safwat was in-charge of the operation proudly commanding his constabulary and always leading from the front. Around 36 platoons of Frontier Constabulary did all the heavy lifting causing significant causalities to the militants and captured many alive.

One example is suffice to show that when properly trained, equipped and led by good officers, any group can be molded into a fighting force walking proudly. On the other hand, even a seasoned battalion with over a hundred year history when not properly trained and poorly led surrenders in dozens without firing a single shot. During operations in Darra, Safwat’s troops complained of their kheris (Peshawari chappals) falling apart. Since his establishment had a team of cobblers, he ordered them to follow in the wake of the operation carrying their implements and instruments for repairing the chappals. Some of the cobblers got lost in the mountains and came across a dozen militants who had fled after being given a good thrashing by the Frontier Constabulary troops. The militants, on seeing a different breed of troops equipped with menacing looking tools, quickly surrendered to the cobblers. It was a strange sight to watch when a group of cobblers with their heads held high mustered their prisoners into the camp in the evening. An army officer who worked with Safwat closely is of the view that ‘his standards of leadership were very high and visible and very rarely one come across such a man’.

Safwat’s father was a diplomat and he spent his early life in different countries. He was fluent in Arabic and French. He admired courage and bravery. This factor was very important for him and he would grudgingly admire courage among his adversary especially Arab fighters. On the other hand he had contempt for cowardice and when his own soldiers showed hesitation, he was quick to dismiss them from service. In 1997, he was serving in Traffic police and going on with his usual routine. When he heard on wireless that police were engaged in a firefight with criminals, he turned his vehicle and rushed to the site of action. Soon he was in the middle of the shootout and got shot in left shoulder. When doctor finished his job, he told Safwat, ‘the good news is that it is your left shoulder and not right”. Safwat quipped “and the bad news is that I’m left handed”. Safwat was left handed and he worked hard to learn to use his right hand. It was during this injury that he got hepatitis from a tainted transfusion. Later, complications from the illness caused low platelets making him at risk for serious bleeding even with a minor injury. However, he was so immersed in his work of protecting his beloved city that he didn’t even travel hundred miles away to Rawalpindi to get treated by an expert physician. When pestered about the issue, he simply said that doctor can send me the medicines I need. He was a very light eater and got through a hectic daily schedule only on three Cs: Coke, Coffee and Cigarettes.

02-09-2016, 07:40 PM
Hat tip to Strife, a Kings War Studies blog for Zoha Waseem's two articles on Daesh in Pakistan; she uses open sources and interviews mainly in Karachi. Slim author bio:http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/warstudies/people/phd/waseem.aspx

Part One 'An evolving militant landscape – Part I', which opens with:
Daesh, otherwise referred to as Islamic State or ISIL, has been expanding its presence around the world beyond its stronghold in Syria and Iraq. In the coming weeks, Strife will be focussing a number of articles more closely on emerging areas of concern in Asia, speaking with practitioners on the ground and academics who interrogate the potential threat posed by Daesh.Link:https://strifeblog.org/2016/02/06/daesh-in-pakistan-an-evolving-militant-landscape-part-i%E2%88%97/

Part Two 'The allure for the urban militant – Part II':https://strifeblog.org/2016/02/08/daesh-in-pakistan-the-allure-for-the-urban-militant-part-ii-2/

02-09-2016, 09:11 PM
Just watched a BBC / PBS Panorma documentary 'Taliban Hunters' set in Karachi, from mid-December 2015, which reports (with my emphasis):
The Pakistani city of Karachi is one of the biggest in the world - and now one of the most dangerous. For more than two years, it has seen an onslaught of kidnappings, bombings and targeted assassinations by Taliban militants. The police are now fighting back, but they are understaffed, under-resourced and up against a deadly enemy. More than 160 police officers have been killed in the line of duty in just 12 months......286 Taliban prisoners in the city jail, 3 convicted; the criminal courts are scared to convict and the (new) anti-terrorism courts in action for a year have a 6% conviction rate.
Link, yes I know often not watchable in the USA:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06qzrfy/panorama-the-taliban-hunters

Hopefully the PBS link does work:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/taliban-hunters/

Rather oddly there is no mention of the para-military Rangers who have been deployed in the city, although I cannot recall how log for; nor the role of other agencies in CT.

08-03-2016, 07:09 PM
From an IISS Strategic Comment on Pakistan, which takes an optimistic viewpoint and on internal security:
Security improved across the country in 2015. Under Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the Pakistani military has nearly completed its operations in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, in particular North Waziristan and Khyber Agencies, with displaced people beginning to return home. A high-level committee chaired by Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan's de factoforeign minister, has produced recommendations for the tribal areas – traditionally governed under antiquated arrangements dating from the British colonial era – that would gradually move them into the Pakistani political mainstream. The attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar at the end of 2014 led to a near national consensus on the need to tackle terrorism. Concerted counter-terrorism operations across the country have yielded impressive results. Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies' statistics indicate a 48% fall in terrorist-related attacks in 2015 compared to the year before and a 38% fall in the number of deaths. The deployment of paramilitary Rangers has also ameliorated the security situation in Karachi, Pakistan's business capital. To be sure, there have been major terrorist attacks this year, including a bomb targeting Christians in Lahore on Easter Sunday. Furthermore, groups posing transnational threats to India and Afghanistan have continued to operate from Pakistan. But the overall level of violence has been lower.
Note a full copy of the Comment is behind a paywall:http://www.iiss.org/en/publications/strategic%20comments/sections/2016-e7c1/pakistan-e44d

The cited Pakistan Institute website has nothing readily found with the cited statistics:http://pakpips.com/index.php

10-09-2016, 01:39 PM
Thanks to a Pakistani "lurker" for the pointer to three new articles on policing, each takes a different focus.

Lahore, in Punjab Province, has a new police force, for odd reasons called 'Dolphin' whose role is officially a Patrolling Unit and Street Crime Unit. With some hi-tech equipment. Alas all is not well:
Initially, the Force created an impression of being an uncorrupt and efficient outfit. But, that image was soon dashed to pieces when, in random incidents, the DF cops were found guilty of taking bribe, resorting to misconduct, and causing a road accident that killed one.Link:http://tns.thenews.com.pk/just-dandy-cops/

A broader view of attempts at police reform, where only the motorway police get good marks. This sentence explains:
The government does not follow the Constitution and the laws, the police does not accept its code of conduct or the rules of superintendence.Link:http://tns.thenews.com.pk/case-police-reforms/

Does the image of policing matter:
The catch-22 in this situation is that an improved public image will undoubtedly help the police force to serve the public better, and yet this image can only be created and sustained if the force is able to drastically improve their calibre.Link:http://tns.thenews.com.pk/matter-image/

10-26-2016, 04:54 PM
Thanks to a Pakistani "lurker" for the pointer to this excellent article, with two viewpoints from:
... Laurent Gayer, a French social scientist and author of Karachi: Ordered Disorder and the Struggle for the City (2014). For the past fifteen years, he has been studying Karachi’s complex sociopolitical and cultural environment. Omar Shahid Hamid is the second participant in the discussion. He has written two novels about Karachi, deriving mainly from his own experiences as the son of a slain bureaucrat, Shahid Hamid, and as a young police officer in Karachi in 2000s. He has recently rejoined the Karachi police force to work with the counterterrorism department.Link:http://herald.dawn.com/news/1153570/dialogue-laurent-gayer-and-omar-shahid-hamid-on-karachi

01-25-2017, 06:43 AM
Two very different commentaries on the war within Pakistan, made clear in the titles.

First, by Peter Oborne and Sabin Agha, in The Spectator entitled:
Pakistan is winning its war on terror ;Over the past three years, the country has seen an extraordinary reduction in violenceA key passage:
Violence has not just dropped a bit. It is down by three quarters in the last two years. The country is safer than at any point since George W. Bush launched his war on terror 15 years ago. The change can be dated to a special cabinet meeting called by prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Karachi in September 2013. At this meeting Sharif called an end to Pakistan’s culture of violence.Link:http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/12/pakistan-is-winning-its-war-on-terror/

Second, Christine Fair, in WoTR entitled, bluntly:
Pakistan's unending war on civil societyHer point in one sentence:
The Pakistan military is waging a war on democracy at home and wars in Afghanistan and India with the subsidy of the United States.Link:https://warontherocks.com/2017/01/pakistans-unending-war-on-civil-society/