Afghan NSA sharpens rhetoric on Pakistan

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by ejazr, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Pakistan is the Afghan war's real aggressor washingtonpost.com

    After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Afghanistan became a rare example of international consensus. The global community, amid competing regional and international interests, undertook a military intervention endorsed and legitimized by the U.N. Security Council. It was common knowledge that al-Qaeda had created a haven in Afghanistan with the support of Pakistan's intelligence agency. Dismantling this regional terrorist infrastructure was considered vital to the international counterterrorism strategy.

    Then-U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage delivered a message to Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, in November 2001: It could join the international coalition or be bombed "back to the stone age." Across the border, the Afghan people persecuted by the brutal rule of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, as well as by the lordship of Pakistani generals, welcomed the international community with open arms. We have made significant progress in recent years. But our achievements in education, health, development and civil rights have been overshadowed and eroded by terrorist attacks.

    There is ongoing domestic and international confusion in identifying Afghanistan's friends and foes. The Afghan people are wholeheartedly grateful to the international community for its sacrifices in blood and treasure. Unfortunately, the military-intelligence establishment of one of our neighbors still regards Afghanistan as its sphere of influence. While faced with a growing domestic terrorist threat, Pakistan continues to provide sanctuary and support to the Quetta Shura, the Haqqani network, the Hekmatyar group and al-Qaeda. And while the documents recently disclosed by WikiLeaks contained information that was neither new nor surprising, they did make public further evidence of the close relations among the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Pakistani intelligence.

    The international community is present in Afghanistan to dismantle these international terrorist networks. Yet the focus on this fundamental task has progressively eroded and has been compounded by another strategic failure: the mistaken embrace of "strategic partners" who have, in fact, been nurturing terrorism.
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    Much has been said about the political will of the Afghan government, governance in our country and corruption. These are mainly domestic variables. It is true that an exhausted and desperate political elite in Afghanistan, faced with predatory and opportunistic individuals in and outside the power structures, allowed the mafia to penetrate into politics. State institutions were undermined and the rule of law weakened. Undoubtedly the absence of transparency in contracts and the presence of private security companies clearly connected to certain officials -- contributing ultimately to the privatization of security and thus insecurity in our country -- are matters of grave concern. But the international terrorist presence in the region is not entrenched solely because of Afghan corruption. Britain, Spain, Turkey, China, Germany and India have all been victims not of Afghan corruption but of international terrorism -- emanating from the region.

    It is my firm conviction that securing our people, districts and towns from terrorists; institutionalizing the rule of law; and fighting corruption are necessary steps toward building a strong and responsive state. But that is not enough. No domestic measure will fully address the threat of international terrorism, its global totalitarian ideology or its regional support networks. Dismantling the terrorist infrastructure is a central component of our anti-terror strategy, and this requires confronting the state that still sees terrorism as a strategic asset and foreign policy tool.

    To be clear, Afghanistan opposes the expansion of conflicts into other countries and opposes unwarranted military interventions in the internal affairs of sovereign nations. But global efforts to counter terrorism will not succeed until and unless there is clarity on who our friends and foes are.

    The conflict we are engaged in is becoming a long and expensive war for us and our international partners. The Afghan people are rightly frustrated and exhausted by a war in which the line between friends and foes is blurred. Global opinion has also turned against us. Yet surely it is understandable that we have failed to mobilize people for a cause where the fighting is in one place and the enemy is in another. How can we persuade Afghans, or the parents of young soldiers from coalition countries, to support a war where our "partners" are involved in killing their sons and daughters? While we are losing dozens of men and women to terrorist attacks every day, the terrorists' main mentor continues to receive billions of dollars in aid and assistance. How is this fundamental contradiction justified?

    The Afghan people are no longer ready to pay the price for the international community's miscalculation and naivety. The aggressor understands only one language: that of force and determination. Afghanistan, along with the United States and many other nations, is a victim of terrorism. The international community must establish a clear alliance among such victims. We cannot mobilize the Afghan people with uncertainty, confusion or appeasement of those who sponsor terrorism.

    The writer is national security adviser of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. He served previously as foreign minister.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
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  3. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    news.outlookindia.com | Afghan Minister Meets PM

    The curiously-poised situation in Afghanistan and India's extensive aid programme today came up for a review as visiting Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here.

    Rassoul, who arrived here earlier in the day on his first stand-alone visit since becoming the Foreign Minister in January, updated Singh on the Karzai government's efforts to bring about peace in the war-torn country.

    Rassoul and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna will have detailed delegation-level talks tomorrow.

    As it makes reconciliatory efforts towards Taliban elements, the Afghan government has lately been publicly voicing its anger over Pakistan for not allowing these efforts to succeed.

    The latest salvo came in the form of an article written by Afghan National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta in which he talks about the frustration among the Afghan people over the fact that sanctuaries of terrorism continue to exist in Pakistan despite which it is pampered by the West.

    "While we are losing dozens of men and women to terrorist attacks every day, the terrorists' main mentor continues to receive billions of dollars in aid and assistance. How is this fundamental contradiction justified?" asked Spanta.

    Rassoul is also believed to have given to Singh his government's assessment about India's assistance programme that covers a wide range of segments benefiting the people of Afghanistan directly.

    India, with aid projects worth USD 1.3 billion already going on in Afghanistan, has made it clear that it stands ready to extend any possible assistance to that country depending on its request.

    India has been extending "unstinted assistance" as per the "wishes, preferences and priorities" of Afghan government, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said.

    He said despite the "heinous attacks" on Indian interests by the "forces inimical" to Indo-Afghan relations, New Delhi remains committed to assisting government and people in their quest for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

    India plays a "benign role" which is being widely appreciated.

    On Karzai government's reconciliation efforts, India is of the view that it should be "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process" and the "red-lines" should be observed.

    Elaborating on the "red-lines", government sources said any Taliban element to be rehabilitated should abjure violence, snap links with al-Qaeda and abide by the Afghan Constitution.

    The Indian assistance programme in Afghanistan broadly has four segments -- humanitarian, development of infrastructure, social projects and capacity building.

    The humanitarian aspect relates to providing of food, medicine and healthcare.

    The sources said the Indian Medical Mission in Kabul, suspended after the February 26 terror attack, is expected to be restarted shortly as the process in this regard is on.

    In the social development, 50 small projects have so far been undertaken and similar number of schemes are in the pipeline, the sources said.

    Under capacity-building, India gives scholarships to Afghan students. Recently, India started giving fellowships to 100 Afghan students for Masters courses in Agriculture.

    On Spanta's article, sources noted that it only reflects what India has been saying for long.

    New Delhi maintains that future of Afghanistan should be determined by Afghans themselves and all countries, including Pakistan, should respect its sovereignty and not interfere.

    With regard to Iran's recent proposal for holding meetings of regional groupings like Iran-India-Afghanistan, Iran-Tajikistan-Afghanistan and Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan, the sources said it was receiving New Delhi's "attention".

    They pointed out that India is willing to cooperate with any regional country for peace in Afghanistan.
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Ejaz Sir,
    There is another nice write up by WILLIAM DALRYMPLE in outlook this week,where he warns India about Karzai's tilt towards Pakistan and he kinda suggests that india must dump karzai if it want to be relevant in Afghanistan and resuscitate the Northern Alliance by working with Russia ,Iran and Tajikistan against Taliban.

    Souter Takes The Call
    As the Great Game repeats itself, India must wake up to Karzai’s new moves


     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Quite a good write up by William Dalrymple....

    The military and the mullahs

    William Dalrymple
    Published 23 August 2010


    The Pakistani state has a long history of nurturing jihadis as a means of dominating Afghanistan and undermining India. It is proving a fatal alliance.

    It may have been a nightmarish year for Pakistan but it has been a pretty good one for the country's inscrutable chief of army staff, the most powerful man in the Land of the Pure, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

    For a start, the army's response to the floods has compared well to the usual corrupt incompetence of Pakistan's civilian politicians, guided by their chateau-hopping president, Asif Ali Zardari (while minister for investment, he was nicknamed "Mr 10 Per Cent"; he has now been upgraded to "Mr 110 Per Cent"). This has led to discussion in army circles about whether it is time to drop the civilian fig leaf and return the country to the loving embrace of its military. So serious is this threat, that one of the country's most senior and well-connected journalists, Najam Sethi, editor-in-chief of the Friday Times, went on the record this month to warn that elements in the army were plotting yet another coup. "I know this is definitely being discussed," he said.

    Then there was the news that Kayani was going to be allowed to keep his job for a second term: "an extraordinary situation requires an extraordinary decision to overcome it", explained a brigadier, writing in the Nation newspaper. Kayani, a former head of Pakistan's notorious intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), can now continue to run the army, and by default Pakistan's foreign policy, until November 2013.

    But Kayani's biggest triumph this year, arguably the greatest of his career, was his visit to Kabul in July as the honoured guest of the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. The visit marked an important thawing in Pak-Afghan relations, which have been glacial ever since Karzai came to power in 2001. It also coincided with the sacking of Amrullah Saleh, Karzai's pro-Indian and rabidly anti-ISI former security chief. Saleh is a tough Tajik who rose to prominence as a mujahedin protégé of Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Indian-backed "Lion of Panjshir". The Taliban, and their sponsors in the ISI, had regarded Saleh as their fiercest opponent, something Saleh was enormously proud of.

    When I had dinner with him in Kabul in May, he spoke at length of his frustration with the ineffectiveness of Karzai's government in taking the fight to the Taliban, and the extent to which the ISI was managing to aid, arm and train its puppet insurgents in North Waziristan and Balochistan. Saleh's sacking gave notice of an important change of direction by Karzai. As Bruce Riedel, Barack Obama's Af-Pak adviser, said when the news broke, "it means that Karzai is already planning for a post-American Afghanistan".

    It seems that Kayani and Karzai are discussing some sort of accommodation between the Afghan government and ISI-sponsored elements in the Taliban, maybe those of Sirajuddin Haqqani, which could give over much of the Pashtun south to pro-Pakistan Taliban, but preserve Karzai in power in Kabul after the US withdrawal. The expulsion of India, Pakistan's great regional rival, from Afghanistan, or at least the closing of its four regional consulates, would be a top priority for the ISI in return for any deal that kept Karzai in power.

    With the US toppling of the Taliban after the 11 September 2001 attacks, Pakistan's influence disappeared abruptly from Afghanistan and
    India quickly filled the vacuum. To the ISI's horror, in the early years of this decade, India provided reconstruction assistance and training worth roughly £835m in total. It also built roads, sanitation projects, the new Afghan parliament and free medical facilities across the country. It even offered to help train the Afghan army. Nato refused. As General Stanley McChrystal put it in a report last year, "while Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures".

    McChrystal was right. The Pakistanis have always been paranoid about the small Indian presence in Afghanistan. "We have strong evidence [that India is] using Afghanistan against Pakistan's interests to destabilise Pakistan," a foreign ministry spokesman claimed in March. Pakistan's military establishment, terrified of the economic superpower emerging to the south, believes it would be suicide to accept an Indian presence in what it regards as its Afghan backyard - a potential point of retreat for the army in the event of an Indian invasion, something Pakistani analysts refer to as vital "strategic depth".

    According to Indian diplomatic sources, there are still fewer than 3,600 Indians in Afghan istan; there are only ten Indian diplomatic officers, as opposed to nearly 150 in the UK embassy. Yet the horror of being encircled has led the ISI to risk Pakistan's relationship with its main strategic ally, the US, in order to keep the Taliban in play and its leadership under ISI patronage in Quetta - a policy Kayani developed while head of the ISI. Karzai's new deal with the Pakistanis, and his clear intention to try to reach some accommodation with their proxies among the Taliban, therefore represents a major strategic victory for Kayani and Pakistan's military, as well as a grave diplomatic defeat for India.

    Pakistan's support for the Taliban today is only the most recent chapter of an old story of complicity between jihadi movements and the Pakistani state. Since the days of the anti-Soviet mujahedin, Pakistan's army saw violent Islamic groups as an ingenious and cost-effective means of both dominating Afghanistan (which they finally achieved with the retreat of the Soviets in 1987) and bogging down the Hindu-dominated Indian army in Kashmir (which they managed with great effect from 1990 onwards).

    The former ISI director and **** Dastardly lookalike Hamid Gul, who was largely responsible for developing the strategy, once said to me: "If the jihadis go out and contain India, tying down one million men of their army on their own soil, for a legitimate cause, why should we not support them?" Next to Gul in his Islamabad living room lay a piece of the Berlin Wall presented to him by the city's people for "delivering the first blow" to the Soviet empire through his use of jihadis in the 1980s. The WikiLeaks documents suggest he is still busy liaising with jihadis in his "retirement".

    The Pakistani military top brass were long convinced that they could control the militants they have nurtured. In a taped conversation between President Pervez Musharraf and Muhammad Aziz Khan, his chief of general staff, that India released in 1999, Aziz said the army had the jihadis by their "tooti" (balls). Yet the Islamists have increasingly followed their own agendas, sending suicide bombers out against not just Pakistan's religious minorities and political leaders, but even the ISI headquarters. Nonetheless, many in the army still believe the jihadis are a more practical defence against Indian hegemony than nuclear weapons. For them, supporting Islamist groups is not an ideological or religious whim, so much as a practical and patriotic imperative - a vital survival strategy for a Pakistani state.

    The army and ISI continued this duplicitous and risky policy after 11 September 2001 despite Musharraf's public promises to the contrary. The speed with which the US lost interest in Afghanistan after its invasion and embarked on plans to invade Iraq convinced the Pakistani army that the Washington had no long-term commitment to Karzai's regime. This led to the generals keeping the Taliban in reserve, to be used to reinstal a pro-Pakistani regime in Kabul once the American gaze had turned elsewhere.

    So it was that the ISI gave refuge to the leadership of the Taliban after it fled from Afghan istan in 2001. Mullah Mohammed Omar was kept in an ISI safehouse in Quetta; his militia was lodged in the sprawling suburb of Pashtunabad. There, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar presided over the Taliban military committee and war chest. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hizb-e-Islami, was lured back from exile in Iran and allowed to operate freely outside Peshawar, while Jalaluddin Haqqani, one of the most violent Taliban commanders, was given sanctuary in North Waziri stan. Other groups were despatched to safehouses in Balochistan.

    By 2004, the US had filmed Pakistani army trucks delivering Taliban fighters at the Afghan border and recovering them a few days later; wireless monitoring at the US base at Bagram picked up Taliban commanders arranging with Pakistani army officers at the border for safe passage as they came in and out of Afghanistan. Western intelligence agencies concluded that the ISI was running a full training programme for the Afghan Taliban, turning a blind eye as they raised funds in the Gulf and allowing them to import materiel, mainly via Dubai. By 2005 the Taliban, with covert Pakistani support, were launching a full-scale assault on Nato troops in Afghanistan and being given covering fire as they returned to their bases in Pakistan.

    At the same time, Taliban attacks on Indian interests in Afghanistan intensified, beginning the process of turning the Afghan conflict, like that in Kashmir, into what it is today: an Indo-Pak proxy war. The Indian embassy in Kabul was twice bombed - in July 2008 and October 2009 - as were two city-centre hotels thought to have been used by the Research and Analysis Wing (Raw), the Indian intelligence agency. Seven Indian civilians and two Indian military officers died in the blasts.

    The degree to which the ISI has been controlling the Afghan Taliban has only just become clear, and not just in the documents published by WikiLeaks. A report by Matt Wald man of the Carr Centre for Human Rights at Harvard, based on interviews with ten former senior Taliban commanders, closely documents how the ISI "orchestrates, sustains and strongly influences" the Taliban and shows how the ISI is even represented on the Taliban's supreme leadership council, the Quetta Shura.

    Meanwhile, in the Punjab, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, founder of Lashkar-e-Toiba, and the man believed to have been behind the 2008 Bombay attacks, has been allowed to continue operating from Muridke, near Lahore. "The powerful western world is terrorising Muslims," he told a conference in Islamabad this year. "We are being invaded, manipulated and looted. We must fight the evil trio of America, Israel and India. Suicide missions are in accordance with Islam. In fact, a suicide attack is the best form of jihad."

    At the same time as pursuing its policy of selectively using jihadis, Pakistan has appeased the US by giving generous assistance to the CIA in arresting foreign Arab al-Qaeda personnel. A major assault was also launched against both the militants who took over the Lal Masjid and the ultra-radical Pakistan Taliban who took over the Swat Valley and announced their intention of turning the country into an Islamic Emirate. In the course of these operations and others in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, more than 1,500 Pakistani soldiers and policemen were killed; another 250,000 people were made homeless in the Pak army assault on Bajaur. The ISI has even been prepared to arrest any members of the Afghan Taliban who didn't follow orders. Hence the seizure in Karachi, in February, of the Taliban second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, along with about a dozen other senior Taliban whom the ISI regarded as infringing on their hospitality by opening talks with the Karzai administration via the Saudis, without ISI clearance.

    Yet, even though the Pakistani army has conducted major offensives in six of the tribal areas, the seventh, North Waziristan, has been left alone, as it is home to the ISI's favourite proxies: Haqqani and Hekmatyar. Similarly, Pakistan's foot-dragging response to the 2008 attacks on Bombay, and the lack of response to the attacks on minority faith groups in Pakistan over the past few months, show that the Janus-faced policy remains in place. This summer, the chief minister of the Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, was quoted heatedly denying that there were any militant groups working in the Pakistani Punjab, or that the Punjabi Taliban even existed. There are still, in the eyes of many in the Pakistani establishment, good Taliban and bad Taliban, useful militants and expendable ones.

    In their eyes, the ongoing defeat of Nato in Afghanistan, with US and British troops suffering record casualties last month, is a vindication of its long-term strategy. Islamabad has succeeded in regaining influence in Afghanistan and Delhi has been checked. But India will not take this lying down. Already the Indian press has reported attempts to resuscitate the Northern Alliance as a contingency against the Taliban's takeover of the south, and here India is working in conjuction with Russia, Iran and the central Asian "stans". The Indian national security adviser, Shivshankar Menon, was despatched to Afghanistan in March, and the foreign minister, S M Krishna, has visited Tehran. Post-American Afghanistan is looking increasingly likely to be divided between the Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara north and the Pashtun south, either formally, with a partition, or more likely, to slip into inter-ethnic civil war, with India supporting and arming the north and Pakistan the south.

    As diplomacy gathers pace, the Afghan Tali ban, who already control over 70 per cent of the country, continue to increase their power. The most worrying development has been the spread of Taliban units to the previously peaceful north, where they have taken over pockets of Pathan settlement around Kunduz and Badakhshan. The death of the British aid worker Karen Woo on 5 August was a direct result.

    In Pakistan, too, jihadi activity is growing. Last year there were 87 suicide attacks across the country, killing roughly 3,000 people and the ISI this week stated that, for the first time in the nation's history, it regarded home-grown Islamic militants to be a bigger threat to the integrity of the nation than India. Yet the army continues to obsess about India. In a recent speech, Kayani emphasised that although the army knows the dangers of militancy, it was against Indian attacks that he was principally focused. At a time when Pakistan's economy is in crisis, electricity supply increasingly erratic and the educational system in complete breakdown, Kayani has secured a huge increase in the country's defence budget.

    It is not a pretty picture: growing violence everywhere, increasing Indo-Pak tensions and a defeat for western interests in the region. Worst of all, because the Pakistani army regards this as a major triumph, it is unlikely to change its policy any time soon.

    William Dalrymple's "Nine Lives: in Search of the Sacred in Modern India" won the first Asia House Literary Award in May and is newly published in paperback (Bloomsbury, £8.99)
     
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Victims of terrorism need to unite against the real foe


     
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    A fair share of the pie


    A report has been published in The New York Times (NYT) about Pakistan’s real motives for arresting Mullah Baradar, a top Taliban commander, at the beginning of this year. The report alleges that Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, duped the CIA into helping them find Baradar and arresting him. Some American officials agree that this could have been possible given the ISI’s double dealing in the past while others claim that Pak-US cooperation is increasing and the arrest was the result of intelligence sharing. But some Pakistani officials have now broken their silence and claimed that the arrest was actually made because Baradar had been involved in secret talks with the Afghan government and was “trying to make a deal without us”.

    The NYT report quotes one Pakistani official as saying, “We protect the Taliban. They are dependent on us. We are not going to allow them to make a deal with Karzai and the Indians.” The allegation about Karzai may be true but what interest India would have in Baradar or vice versa is beyond comprehension. Maybe this is a case of the usual India paranoia on the part of our security establishment. As for Karzai, the security establishment only had a problem with the negotiations because they themselves were not in the picture. Baradar’s secret negotiations with the Afghan government had taken place at least a couple of months before he was arrested. This means that the timing of the arrest had nothing to do with the ‘undesirable’ negotiations but was only meant to serve as a message to Afghanistan and the world at large that unless and until ISI was part of such ‘deals’, they would not be successful. There were also reports of some Afghan officials holding a meeting in the Maldives last year with a faction of the Taliban, under the aegis of Saudi Arabia. The meeting was not successful because that faction was a marginalised one and did not have much influence within the Taliban circles currently.

    The implication of the NYT report is that the ISI has got the US-led NATO forces where it wanted them in the first place: negotiations with the Taliban, our security establishment’s cat’s-paw. What the ISI does not realise is that by supporting the Afghan Taliban and considering them ‘Good Taliban’, they run the risk of putting Pakistan in danger once again. The nexus between the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban can no longer be ignored or wished away. If the Taliban come back to power in Afghanistan, the blowback on our security could be very serious. *
     

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