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Thread: AfPak: an overview of Pakistan / Afghanistan

  1. #41
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Patchwork steamroller: Kilcullen on Afpak

    David Kilcullen has written a review in The Spectator: http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-magaz...urzon-do.thtml

    I particularly like the description of the current Pakistani operation: 'a patchwork steamroller'.

    The last paragraph will be familiar to SWC: For Britons and Americans watching the hard-fought progress of our Coalition troops in Helmand, the harsh reality is that Nato could do everything right in Afghanistan and still lose the broader regional campaign against terrorism if Pakistan fails to contain its internal militants. (My emphasis) This makes the fight in Pakistan, and finding means to help Pakistanis help themselves, the most important battle in the world.

    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    David Kilcullen has written a review in The Spectator: http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-magaz...urzon-do.thtml

    I particularly like the description of the current Pakistani operation: 'a patchwork steamroller'.

    The last paragraph will be familiar to SWC: For Britons and Americans watching the hard-fought progress of our Coalition troops in Helmand, the harsh reality is that Nato could do everything right in Afghanistan and still lose the broader regional campaign against terrorism if Pakistan fails to contain its internal militants. (My emphasis) This makes the fight in Pakistan, and finding means to help Pakistanis help themselves, the most important battle in the world.

    davidbfpo
    Exactly! The Afghan campaign and Pakistan/FATA campaign are linked.

    Question: Would letting the Pashtuns have a Pashtunistan solve this problem?
    I can understand why Islamabad and Kabul might have a problem with this (Talk about your understatement ), but it might be a solution, at least as far as stabilizing the region goes.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-17-2009 at 02:16 PM.

  3. #43
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pashtunistan

    Valin,

    This topic has featured in SWJ before and I am aware that some in the USA (inside the Beltway) see a united Pashtunistan state as a solution. Personally I think it is a pipedream and does not help now. Would such a state be stable and resist the Jihad? Today, very unlikely.

    Previous threads: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...t=pashtunistan , slightly more cultural: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...t=pashtunistan and older: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...t=pashtunistan

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-17-2009 at 02:23 PM. Reason: Add links

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Valin,

    This topic has featured in SWJ before and I am aware that some in the USA (inside the Beltway) see a united Pashtunistan state as a solution. Personally I think it is a pipedream and does not help now. Would such a state be stable and resist the Jihad? Today, very unlikely.

    Previous threads: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...t=pashtunistan , slightly more cultural: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...t=pashtunistan and older: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...t=pashtunistan

    davidbfpo
    Thanks. Just throwing out simple ideas
    Simple ideas are my speciality

  5. #45
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Pashtunistan is like Kurdistan (an artificial political construction unacceptable to every country with which it would share a border), but without the established Kurdish political infrastructure.

    Whose pipe dream would it even be? Can anyone name a major Pashtun political figure, or even two, who can genuinely mobilize a broad consensus of the Pashtun population on either side of the border?

  6. #46
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    Well, I for one agree and am concerned about a strategy/policy where our ability to achieve success in Afghanistan is contingent upon Pakistan having the will and means to do what we think they need to do.

  7. #47
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    Default Af-Pak predictions

    These predictions are cynical and pessimistic and off the top of my head and I HOPE that some of them turn out to be wrong; Maybe they will (in some infinitesimally small way) even contribute to making themselves wrong....
    1. Everyone and his dog knows that the Karzai regime is dysfuntional and is becoming a millstone around the neck of the US effort, but nobody will be able to do anything about it. The US is in the strange position of having occupied Afghanistan without having occupied it and is not acting, and cannot act, as the occupying power. Obama and Biden are not going to be able to get Karzai "fixed" (he could stay on as president, but that whole setup still needs to be fixed) and without someone at the top knowing what they are trying to fix and why they are fixing it and how to do it without becoming publicly or habitually nasty, this is not going to get fixed. Bottom line: the US has taken up a job it is institutionaly incapable of doing (manipulating a foreign country into a desired place without wrecking it, and getting your way while genuinely helping THOSE people...that is just too much of a "finesse" requirement).
    2. That woman who is viceroy in Pakistan looks smart and hard and maybe up to the job, but if the US is pulling out of Afghanistan, there is no way in hell they can get a good result in Pakistan. The Pakistani army will continue to lose men in a confused fight with the "bad taliban" while continuing to ignore the "good taliban". If they could think that far ahead, they would know that "defeating" the US in Afghanistan will ruin their own future (well, it wont ruin all of them, some will retire to ranches in the US before the #### well and truly hits the fan)..OK, some of them actually know that by now, but they are scared, confused and trained to think like anti-Indian automatons (remember, they went to NDC and I have never met a Pakistani officer whose thinking had not been completely warped by his time at NDC). They will jump up and declare victory and appoint Hakeemullah Mehsud the governor of Waziristan the moment the US leaves. The irony is, Hakeemullah will then have some of them shot just for fun and "on principle". They will then fight Indian and Iranian proxies in Afghanistan down to the last Afghan and all the mayhem will probably end when India and Pakistan finally blow each other up. This being kalyug and the downward spiral and all that...
    3. The US army has never really had a good start in any war (except Inchon? but then the advance on Seoul was hardly the stuff of legend). But they eventually figure it out (OK, except Vietnam). Its not the armed forces that are going to lose this war (or whatever its officially called). Its an institutional and cultural failure at the level of the political leadership and (even more so, in my humble opinion) the strategic "thinkers" and the punditocracy. Or maybe its just rampant corruption (as in people looking out for their own or their friend's pocketbook). I know some people here think its just a culture past its peak, but I dont buy that. There is no general theory of the rise and fall of "cultures". The only rule is "whatever works" and all the patterns are there all the time. Sometimes things turn around and sometimes they dont. What kind of idea are you? (gratuitous "satanic verses" quote: http://evildrclam.blogspot.com/2006/...c-verses.html) also check out the Housman poem I found there when I went looking for the satanic verses quote.(http://evildrclam.blogspot.com/)
    comments?
    Last edited by omarali50; 10-14-2009 at 07:44 PM.

  8. #48
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    Its not the armed forces that are going to lose this war (or whatever its officially called). Its an institutional and cultural failure at the level of the political leadership and (even more so, in my humble opinion) the strategic "thinkers" and the punditocracy.
    Exactly! Well said.

  9. #49
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    Default Pakistan rounds up the Quetta Taliban and now let's one go? (updated title)

    (Moderator's Note another thread 'Nearly half of Afghan Taliban leadership arrested in Pakistan', which was started 25/2/10 merged into this and re-named as 'Rounding Up').


    Well, I've checked this very large board the best I can and found no mention of this incredible news that the Afghan taliban's operational #2, Abdul Ghani Baradar was capture a few days ago in Karachi. NYT held off the story until today-

    Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban's Top Commander-NYT Mazzetti Feb. 16, 2010

    Baradar was profiled last summer in this excellent NEWSWEEK article.

    This is MASSIVE news. That he was captured in Karachi wasn't particularly surprising. There've been rumors of the Afghan taliban leadership relocating quietly for some time. Too, Hakimullah Mehsud of the TTP supposedly expired in Multan on his way for treatment in Karachi. Karachi is increasingly playing a prominent role in the GWOT. That an Afghan Taliban commander was captured in Pakistan at all IS surprising in light of eight plus years of sanctuary. The implications of a sea-change in Pakistani perspectives is profound.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-25-2010 at 09:32 PM. Reason: Moderator note added
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski, a.k.a. "The Dude"

  10. #50
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    I guess that Karachi beats an Afghan/Beluchistani cave/village. Anyway an excellent catch.

    Hopefully they can tap rapidly into the wider network.


    Firn

  11. #51
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    This is a big, big catch. In terms of the Afghan Taleban, it's the biggest yet.

    Berader was always viewed as a more 'moderate' element within the Taleban's senior echelons though and rumours would frequently abound about the potential for him to reconcile. He is from the same Popalzai tribe as President Karazi and they were rumoured to be in occasional direct contact.

    I think the Talieban in southern Afghanistan is too diffuse for the effects of this to be felt at the tactical level, but Berader has had kind of status, plus the reutation of Mullah Omar's right hand man, hich means more senior commanders will be feeling the pinch. That the arrest took place in Karachi is highly significant; some individuals had begun to favour it over Quetta once the Pakistani authorities begun to make arrest in the latter.

    If this strategic boost can be matched by success in Marjah, just perhaps the worm may be about to think about turning.

  12. #52
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Comments from over the ocean

    The BBC report:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8517375.stm

    The Daily Telegraph:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...-Pakistan.html

    Interesting quote within:
    Former Pakistan intelligence chief Hamid Gul, today told The Daily Telegraph Mullah Baradar’s arrest was evidence that Islamabad has been sincere in its dealings with the Uninted States. “Mullah Baradar is member of the Taliban Shura and an important member of it. There haven’t been joint operations between Pakistan and the United States, but perhaps this is new ground,” he said.
    Interesting contrast to other items on another thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=2313
    davidbfpo

  13. #53
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    Default Baradar

    He is, politely, the MAN-

    "It is key that he controls the Taliban's treasury—hundreds of millions of dollars in -narcotics protection money, ransom payments, highway tolls, and 'charitable donations,' largely from the Gulf. 'He commands all military, political, religious, and financial power,' says Mullah Shah Wali Akhund, a guerrilla subcommander from Helmand province who met Baradar this March in Quetta for the fourth time." Newsweek
    Fought with Omar in the Afghan-Soviet war. Retired with him to Oruzgan. Drove ol' Omar to Pakistan on a motorcycle. Married sisters together. Connected beyond our wildest dreams and, unlike Dadullah, alive.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski, a.k.a. "The Dude"

  14. #54
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    Default Pakistani Gov't Denies Arrest

    This is becoming a world-class farce-

    Mullah Baradar Arrest Reports "Propaganda": Rehman Malik-DAWN Feb.16, 2010

    Stunning.

    Moderator's Note: Rehman Malik is the Interior Minister.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-16-2010 at 05:52 PM. Reason: Add Mod's note
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski, a.k.a. "The Dude"

  15. #55
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    “We are a sovereign state and hence will not allow anybody to come and do any operation. And we will not allow that. So this (report) is propaganda,” he added.
    Typical Rehman Malik stupidity. The last time he was promising to resign if there was any Blackwater/Xe contractors on Pakistani soil, or claiming that India was funding Beitullah Mehsud. I'm pretty sure we can safely discount anything he has to say.

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    Default Malik

    "Typical Rehman Malik stupidity."
    Concur. That's the salient portion of farcical.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski, a.k.a. "The Dude"

  17. #57
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    A great score. Lets hope we can get some good intel out of this guy and start rolling up more of them.
    "But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet withstanding, go out to meet it."

    -Thucydides

  18. #58
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Applaud now, wait for the result

    A careful comment by Joshua Foust, hat tip to Abu M:http://www.registan.net/index.php/20...adars-capture/

    Amidst the summary this stands out IMHO:
    We’ll Keep It Brief: It was a joint CIA-ISI operation, with the ISI taking the lead. “ISI sab ka dada hai,” as they say: the ISI is everyone’s granddaddy.(My emphasis) We paid a price for this, keep an eye out for what it might be.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-25-2010 at 09:51 PM.
    davidbfpo

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    Default davidbfpo Reply

    Yeah...the quid pro quo thus still waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski, a.k.a. "The Dude"

  20. #60
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A good news story for once

    An interesting comment by Steve Coll on the 'bargain':http://freerangeinternational.com/blog/?p=2604

    I read whilst off-line a variety of comments in European papers and one suggestion that the arrest was made at a VCP.

    Also see this US-based Pakistani comment:http://watandost.blogspot.com/2010/0...ndahar-to.html
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-21-2010 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Add second link
    davidbfpo

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