Russia’s Growing Engagement with Pakistan Bookmark and Share

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Ray, May 23, 2011.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    An interesting development.

    Russia is leaning towards Pakistan, but indeed, there are other reasons which will not permit the relationship to cement itself.

    The Russian pique over China exploiting the Russian 'finds' in Afghanistan when USSR was ruling the roost is also to be considered.

    The fact that the US is worried over the China cards, whereby one wonders if the US will stick to its schedule of drawing down is also interesting.

    What will be the future of Afghanistan and what will be the role of India, Russia, US, China and Pakistan and not to forget the CAR and what steps should the take to influence the events?
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Reading the above commentary and this, India appears to be eased out since it has hardly made its presence felt.

    The articles clearly indicate that India continues to have a great amount of goodwill in Afghanistan even now.

    What advice do you have for this status quo attitude to change and a proactive attitude be taken so that India makes her presence felt as is desired in this region?
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    After bin Laden: Impact on U.S. Afghanistan Strategy | The Heritage Foundation
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Future tense in Afghanistan

    May 23, 2011 8:15:21 PM

    G Parthasarathy

    There’s more to the Osama bin Laden episode than is being reported, and it deals with the future of Afghanistan after the exit of US and Nato troops.

    With world attention focussed on the spectacular American special forces’ action to eliminate Osama bin Laden, there has been a tendency to ignore developments in Pakistan that preceded this event. Angered by American snooping on his jihadi assets, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani launched a propaganda and diplomatic barrage to force the Americans to end their covert activities and drone attacks on the Haqqani network in North Waziristan. He claimed that the drone attacks were killing scores of innocent civilians. Cricketer-turned-politician and long-term Army and ISI protégé Imran Khan was commandeered to rent crowds to block American supply convoys to Afghanistan. Sadly for Gen Kayani, the GOC of Pakistan’s 7th Division in North Waziristan, Major-General Ghayur Mehmud, debunked his chief’s propaganda, revealing that “a majority of those killed by Drone strikes are Al Qaeda elements, especially foreigners, while civilian casualties are few”.

    Undeterred by this fiasco and unfazed by the dressing down that his ISI chief Lieutenant-General Shuja Pasha got from CIA director Leon Panetta during the former’s visit to Washington, DC on April 11, Gen Kayani roped in the Army’s favourite politician in the ruling PPP, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, to make some outrageous demands, when he, accompanied by Gen Kayani and Lt Gen Pasha, met President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on April 16. According to Mr Karzai’s aides, privy to what transpired, Mr Gilani, whose intellectual abilities have not been known to match the sartorial elegance of his Saville Row suits, bluntly told the Afghan President that the Americans had let down both of them and that he should under no circumstances agree to a long-term American military presence in Afghanistan. For good measure, Mr Gilani added that rather than look to a strategic partnership with the US, Mr Karzai should look to Pakistan and its “all-weather friend” China and strike a deal with the Taliban.

    Having witnessed his father being killed by the Taliban in Peshawar and having learnt to balance adeptly between external powers, the wily Hamid Karzai obviously has no intention of leaving his fate and that of his country to be determined by the ISI. The crude Kayani-led effort is to force the Afghans to accept an ISI-sponsored “reconciliation process” with the Taliban, which excludes the Americans. To demonstrate their clout, the Pakistanis have arrested the Number 2 Taliban leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who refused to accept Islamabad’s tutelage and was prepared to talk directly to Mr Karzai who is a fellow Durrani Pashtun.

    The Americans, in turn, initially insisted that the “reconciliation process” should be initiated only after the Taliban renounced violence, surrendered arms and agreed to abide by the Afghan Constitution. Recognising that this was unrealistic, the Americans now say that what they had earlier demanded should be the outcome of the “reconciliation process”. In the meantime, busybodies like Turkey are working towards hosting an office of the Taliban, despite the outfit being banned as an international terrorist organisation.

    The US and its Nato partners have announced that they will not further participate in active combat operations and hand over responsibilities to Afghan forces after the end of 2014. The million-dollar question is whether Afghan forces can prevent the Taliban, armed, trained and operating from secure bases in Pakistan, from taking over control of Pashtun-dominated southern Afghanistan. President Mohammed Najibullah held on to control his country till four years after the Soviets commenced their withdrawal. He was forced to capitulate only because the Soviet Union collapsed. In these circumstances, the crucial question is what happens after December 2014? Will the Americans withdraw fully after December 2014, leaving a power vacuum to be filled by the Taliban? There are no categorical answers to this question as yet.

    President Barack Obama declared on May 1 that killing Osama bin Laden was a major objective, even as the US continued to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” his network. On its own Al Qaeda has not carried out a single significant terrorist attack after 9/11. The terrorist attacks in London, Madrid, Bali and in New York’s Times Square were all largely by Pakistanis, motivated by groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami which are affiliated to Al Qaeda. It is also clear from the statements of David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana in Chicago that it was Pakistani terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri, operating from North Waziristan, who was the mastermind of efforts to stage a terrorist attack in Copenhagen.

    The elimination of Al Qaeda is not going to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” terrorist networks bent on striking on cities in the US and its Nato allies. This would require relentless counter-terrorism action across the Durand Line. Given the heavy dependence of the Americans on the Pakistanis for logistical support to transport supplies through Pakistani territory, such action would be unthinkable just now. But, with an estimated 50 per cent of supplies now coming through Russia and Central Asia, this dependence on Pakistan will become much less important in coming years as American troop levels in Afghanistan are significantly reduced. In such a scenario, the US will be more open to effective counter-terrorism action across the Durand Line, as Vice-President Joe Biden and others like Ambassador Robert Blackwill have advocated. The US is negotiating a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan, which will enable a residual military presence even beyond 2014. Its provisions will be important in outlining long-term American objectives.

    Mr Karzai’s enthusiasm for ‘reconciliation’ with the Taliban is provoking a backlash in Northern Afghanistan, where non-Pashtun groups have noted that he no longer criticises Taliban excesses. There is scepticism about any possibility of the Taliban shedding its pernicious ideological beliefs. Given the composition of the Afghan Parliament, it would be difficult to get a consensus on any deal which Mr Karzai strikes with the Taliban. If the Taliban overruns southern Afghanistan as the Americans commence their troop reductions, they will face serious resistance all over the Amu Darya region. We may then have a de facto partition of Afghanistan into Pashtun and non-Pashtun areas.

    It is not clear how the Pashtuns in Pakistan’s tribal areas, who have been relentlessly bombed and displaced from their homes by Gen Kayani’s actions, will respond to such a development. India will have to manoeuvre dexterously if it is to ensure that Afghanistan does not yet again become a haven for terrorism as it was in the days of the ISI-backed Taliban rule in Kabul and Kandahar.

    The Pioneer :: Home : >> Future tense in Afghanistan
     
  6. niharjhatn

    niharjhatn Regular Member

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    I think its very important that India not fall into a trap of being America's pseudo-replacement in Afghanistan.

    The ethnic/tribal divides in Afghanistan make it intriguing as to whether India should focus on any particular pro-India groups or not.

    I think focussing on developments like Hospitals help enforce the idea that India is truly wanting to help rebuild, not occupy - adding support to the government in charge rather than sentiment of the head of state simply being a puppet under a larger power (as had happened with the US).

    It can act as a foothold for other industries to eventually enter and help rebuild Afghanistan.
     

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