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Thread: AfPak: an overview of Pakistan / Afghanistan

  1. #1
    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default Iraqi "Awakening Groups" as a model for Pakistan and Afghanistan

    This aricle is copied by me from Hujra Online, a discussion forum of the website KhyberWatch.com, of which I am the only non-Muslim Member as far as I know.

    The fact that I dialogue with vs. talk "at" Paks, Afghans, and other worldwide Muslims who will discuss matters, even though they and I have built in biases, as do you as American troops, gets me onto and into many sites in both the US (academia) and overseas. The Karach DAWN and Peshawar FRONTIER POST print my articles and letters, mainly letters, ever since 9/11 with little or no editing and I pull no punches but am not deliberately rude as all Muslims are not our enemies.

    As a non-Member you can still read KhyberWatch.com, the Forums is your area of greatest benefit I would guess, by directly entering in your search box: Hujra Online

    No .net nor .com, just Hujra Online.

    George Singleton, Colonel, USAF, Ret.
    Capital suggestion

    Muslims Killing Muslims
    Sunday, March 30, 2008 - By Dr Farrukh Saleem

    In 2005, Pakistanis witnessed a total of four suicide attacks. In 2006, there were seven and in 2007 there were 56; more than one a week. In the first 11 weeks of 2008, there have been 17 suicide attacks; an annualized rate of 80. In 2005, Muslim casualties of terrorist violence in Pakistan numbered 648. In 2006 and 2007, casualties jumped to 1,471 and 3,599, respectively. In the first 10 weeks of 2008 casualties already stand at 1,064 with a daily average of 14 and an annualized rate of over 5,000.

    Why are Muslims killing Muslims? Is there a connection between suicide attacks and lack of education? Is there a correlation between suicide attacks and poverty? Is there a connection between suicide attacks and the followers of Islam?.....
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 04-07-2008 at 02:04 PM. Reason: Added link, edited content.

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    Thought I'd append this latest article here.

    Pakistan Will Give Arms to Tribal Militias


    Pakistan plans to arm tens of thousands of anti-Taliban tribal fighters in its western border region in hopes -- shared by the U.S. military -- that the nascent militias can replicate the tribal "Awakening" movement that proved decisive in the battle against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

    The militias, called lashkars, will receive Chinese-made AK-47 assault rifles and other small arms, a purchase arranged during a visit to Beijing this month by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistani officials said.

    Many Bush administration officials remain skeptical of Pakistan's long-term commitment to fighting the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups ensconced in the mountains near the border with Afghanistan. But the decision to arm the lashkars, which emerged as organized fighting forces only in the past few months, is one of several recent actions that have led the Pentagon to believe that the Pakistani effort has become more aggressive.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Leap of faith?

    I too had noticed the local and international reporting of a local tribal backlash to the Taliban's activities - clearly with Pakistani government encouragement. Now a programme of arming the tribes; tribes that are already well-armed, maybe not with heavy weapons - a leap of faith I say! How long before these arms are turned on the suppliers, or sold?

    If "Uncle Sam" is wise he'll stand back and wait awhile before paying up.

    davidbfpo

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    Default Durranistan - The Unification of Pakistan and Afghanistan

    Some other stuff I did, and across this theme I came:

    What about uniting Pakistan and Afghanistan?

    Would it stabilize the region, or rather de-stabilize further (is that possible)?
    What would the neighbours say? Esp India and Iran?
    What would that country look like and what role would/could it play in the larger region?
    Would it be a threat? Would it turn extremist/lawless (more than now)? Would it be in permanent civil war (more than now)?
    And what kind of structure could/should it have?

    Without much analysis I say Durranistan could actually be a quite good idea! Based on a federal concept it could work.

    Opinions?

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    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Distiller View Post
    What about uniting Pakistan and Afghanistan?
    . . .
    Without much analysis I say Durranistan could actually be a quite good idea! Based on a federal concept it could work.

    Opinions?
    Seems to me this is what happened in the Balkans post WWII and was called Yugoslavia, which hung together only as long as Tito was around to keep it together by his personal force of will. Is there an equivalent strong man to do the same in your proposed federation? Are you ready for another Bosnia/Serbia intervention? (Oh gee, I forgot, we already have one going in A-stan now, don't we?)
    Also seems to me that the history of British colonial rule in the region would be worth consulting, not to mention the experiences of the various Persian Empires.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. Sydney J. Harris

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    Yugoslavia happened post WW1, not 2. In any case the ex Austro-Hungarian areas of the SHS state and the Kingdom of Serbian didn't have anything to do with each other since the late Roman Prefecture of Illyricum.


    Yip, nobody says it would be perfect. Historically it's not so easy to say how the country between Persia and India was organised, especially taking into account the "natural" border of Greater Persia might be considered on the Indus, as well as India's "natural" border along today's Pakistan's border in Baluchistan (continuing towards Herat), and how long that area of modern-day Afghanistan was ruled by Mongols or Turko-Mongols.

    But one thing is for sure: A lot of problems today stem from the division of the Pashtuns.
    With Russia's weakness keeping it from plotting another "Great Game", a more-or-less stable (of course not internally!) Pakistan, and with the SIS running most of Afghanistan anyway, the chances might be good. And the alternative from a Pashtun view would be unacceptable for Pakistan.

    Just think that such a Durranistan would pretty much cover that "middle ground" between Persia and India (leaving out the classical Baktria north of the Oxus) and would have some pre-colonial justification, which might be actually accepted by the people.

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    The dissolution rather than the unification of countries seems to be the major over-arching political theme of the last 60 years. I don't think the region in question has the infrastructure (political or military) to impose a federation on the disparate groups of people in the area.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    Council Member jonSlack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Distiller View Post
    Some other stuff I did, and across this theme I came:

    What about uniting Pakistan and Afghanistan?
    You are talking states (Afghanistan and Pakistan) when you should be talking about nations (Pashtuns, Tajiks, Balochis...)

    I do not think the fusing of Pakistan and Afghanistan is a good idea.

    I also do not think that "westerners" should dictate any changes to political boundaries in that region or any other region in the developing world.

    However, if there is consensus on both sides of the Afghanistan and Pakistan border for the creation of an independent Pashtunistan I think our best COA is to get out of the way, let it happen, and then begin a working relationship with the new state to include providing the assitance and advising we are currently offering in Afghanistan.

    However, I do not know what the second and third order effects of this new state would with reference to the other major ethnic concentrations in the area. Would Pakistan and Afghanistan cease to exist as states? Would other ethnic groups like the Balochis get their own state? Would still others like the Uzbek and Tajik populations in Afghanistan choose to start their own state or would they opt to join Uzbekistan and Tajikistan? How would Iran, India, and the other states in the region the changes? For example, would Uzbekistan try to foricibly annex the Uzbek areas of Afghanistan?

    Does the name you gave to this hypothetical new state, Durristan, imply that the state will be comprised solely of the Durrani Pashtuns? What of the Ghilzai and other tribes?

    You might find the following paper interesting:

    Artificial States by Alesina, Easterly, Matuszeski

    Abstract: Artificial states are those in which political borders do not coincide with a division of nationalities desired by the people on the ground. We propose and compute for all countries in the world two new measures how artificial states are. One is based on measuring how borders split ethnic groups into two separate adjacent countries. The other one measures how straight land borders are, under the assumption the straight land borders are more likely to be artificial. We then show that these two measures seem to be highly correlated with several measures of political and economic success.

    In reference to the paper though. It would appear the Durrani line is an exception to the findings of the paper because the Durrani line is not generally straight because it is drawn along moutains which have the same ethnic group residing on both sides.
    "In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." - Eric Hoffer

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    Note: It's Durranistan, the other name of the old Afghan Empire that incorporated today's Pakistan and existed from 17-something till the Brits showed up in the area. And it's Durand Line for what is on paper the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    The name is of course open. Might well call it Bactrian Federation, even though I think old Bactria didn't include Baluchistan and also went far north of the Oxus.

    Pashtunistan would be the end of Afghanistan (with Uzbeks and Tadjiks going north, Herat to Iran, and Baluchis going where?), and also make Afghanistan very slim up north. It would also lack access to the sea. Not a good option in any way.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    While a "Durranistan" approach is arguably supperior to the current effort to somehow enforce a wedge of a border right through the heart of the Pashto populace who's support we are trying to garner, it has several drawbacks as well. Not the least of those being:
    1. I don't hear any voices from either of the affected states calling for this; and
    2. It would potentially create a Taliban-led nuclear state.

    Both of those are, shall we say, "problematic."


    The approach that I have been mentally juggling lately is not how do we exert some new control mechanism on a foreign populace to suit our needs, but rather how do we change our concept of what makes up a state and what exactly composes sovereignty instead. Many of the world's simmering conflicts are where an ethnic populace has been divided by borders drawn to suit colonial powers more than to facilitate effective local governance. The question to me is, how do we continue to honor and support the sovereignty of two states like Afghanistan and Pakistan, while at the sametime recognizing some lesser degree of sovereignty for a Pashto popualce that sits astride those two countries? Same applies for the Kurds and Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran; and muliple situations in Africa.

    This is simply a matter of changing our perspective, and then facilitating / mediating some application. It's bold new ground, and perhaps isn't the right approach, but I have to believe a shift to less outside control to impose solutions that work for us, and more outside facilitation of solutions that work for the affected populaces is the best way to move forward. Realize this is easier said than done, but the longest journey begins with the first step...
    Last edited by Bob's World; 11-21-2008 at 05:24 PM.

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    Default Related thread

    A discussion coming at the topic here from a different angle is here.

    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...0668#post60668

    Plus, it's got pictures - highly intellectual, like Classics Illustrated.

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    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default Racially motivated, bad idea

    The Pukhtun nationalist movement all too often is racially motivated, have little to no interest in minority tribes and factions in Northern Pakistan nor inside Afghanistan, either.

    Attacking the 100 years standing of the Durand Line, the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is as often as not a Pukhtun rallying cry.

    How about all the Scot-Irish ancestry US and Canadian folks forming a new nation of Scot-Irishastan out of a huge slice (jigsaw puzzle piece) of current US and Canadian soverign territory and name the newly cut out nation as mentioned here?

    Folks can come up with reasons to infinity to redraw political boundaires but the less of that we have the less foreign aid and military involvement we will have to get into.

    Do we want the Kurds to form Kurdistan as was promised to them by the Great Powers at the end of WW I? Then expect Turkey to invade Iraq, and associated wild events to ensure for the rest of our natural lives and into generations to come.

    My two cents.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Two pence

    There is no chance IMHO that borders in the region will change, but I am aware that some see a "fix" in:

    1) Granting the FATA full provincial status and integration into Pakistan
    2) NWFP losing any "oversight" of the FATA
    3) Afghanistan recongnising the Durand Line as the border

    Apparently an idea that is floating around inside and beyond Pakistan. Not sure of the dynamics and practicalities from this armchair.

    davidbfpo

  14. #14
    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default We substantially agree here

    I agree that FATA will have full Province status, that is a good thing in my book.

    Afghanistan to recognize the Durland Line, this was the case under the late King (who died maybe a year ago. the ex-King called the Grand Jurga which helped kick off the current movement toward some version of democracy in Afghanistan after 9/11).

    Your insights and awareness of some details in Pakistan/Afghanistan as a Brit...what did you do over there to have such good insight? When, what years?

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    I think you are assuming that those living in the FATA want full province status and that the central government wants that as well. I don't think either is the case in reality.

    As far as "uniting" Pakistan and Afghanistan, I can't see what problem that would solve, but can see many problems that it would create. Regardless, I think very few who actually live in those two countries (not to mention neighboring countries) want to see Pakistan and Afghanistan merged.

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    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    It is the Pukhtuns who want FATA to have Province status. However, the abrupt abolition of the "Black Laws" is hardly a year old, and FATA is about as backward, tribally, as it gets over there.

    I have weekly e-mail dialogue with folks in and nearby FATA, all Pukhtuns as the interactive website is a Pukhtun ethnic site, and their views to me, over and over, are what I am reflecting here, not some secret knowledge that I uniquely have.

    Splintering is in vogue over there, not unifying, that I can safely say based on the revolts underway in Balcoshistan, Waziristan, FATA, and the NWFP.

    Swat to me is somewhat unique as they did well under others rule and now are suffering murder and heinous crimes from other tribes which have nothing in common with the culture and heritage of native tribes inside Swat.

  17. #17
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Overview of Pakistan / Afghanistan

    The link belows refers to testimony to the UK House of Commons Foriegn Affairs Committee 28/2/09 by four experts (Thanks to Kings of War):

    http://www.publications.parliament.u...-i/uc30202.htm

    Lots to mine within, particularly over the UK in Helmand and a lack of guidance. Sean Langan, kindnapped by the Taliban and held in the FATA, makes many interesting comments. ISI and the pakistani Army get a mention too.

    Fascinating stuff and to American readers will be different to what you see regularly IMHO.

    davidbfpo

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    Q<36> <Chairman:> What does SWAT stand for, just for the record?

    <Sean Langan:> It is a name, not an acronym.
    Marvellous.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Fascinating. It also seems to back up Kilcullen's analysis and recommendations.

    I have a question. If Pakistan were to tip over the precipice spoken of, and the radicals were on the ascendancy, what would the Indians do? Could they afford to take any chance at all that the nukes would get loose?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Looking over the precipice

    Carl,

    Should Pakistan lurch towards the final state of chaos / oblivion not only would India be concerned at who had the nukes; China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and those further away. Would the nukes be transferred or seized by a "concerned" party?

    How would Pakistan react to an Indian move, say to resolve Kashmir and so avert oblivion? A military confidence building measure that enabled the Pakistani Army to deploy away from the border?

    Just a few thoughts.

    davidbfpo

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