Afghanistan-Pakistan: The Covert War
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Afghanistan-Pakistan: The Covert War

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When American special forces plucked the second in command of the Pakistani Taliban from the hands of Afghan officials this October, they laid bare the extent of a largely covert war between Afghanistan and Pakistan that has been going on for several years. With a drawdown – perhaps even to zero – of U.S. troops from Afghanistan next year, the secret war might just become an open one.

The capture of Latif Mehsud proved to be an embarrassment for the Afghans, and a vindication for Pakistan, which has long complained that the Pakistani Taliban – called the Tehrik -e-Taliban (TTP) – receives support from Karzai’s government. Afghanistan and the United States, for their part, have laid the blame for a 12-year insurgency at Pakistan’s feet, saying its intelligence agencies support the most effective insurgency group, led by Jalaluddin Haqqani.

Latif Mehsud was a close confidant of Qari Hussain, who was one of the candidates to take over the TTP after the killing of its leader, Baitullah Mehsud, by an American drone strike in 2009. When Hussain was similarly eliminated in October 2010, Latif took over as the TTP’s second in command, operating under its leader, Hakimullah Mehsud. (The two Mehsuds are from the same tribe, but not closely related.) Latif’s capture provided the intelligence the U.S. needed to kill Hakimullah, in a drone strike just a few weeks later.

Latif spent much of his time since 2010 between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and it is believed he was a conduit for funding to the TTP. It now appears some of that funding might have come from Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

On October 5, Latif was being taken by Afghan officials to a meeting with agents from the NDS when American special forces stopped his convoy, taking Latif to Bagram, where the U.S. runs a prison of its own.

The TTP has been blamed for tens of thousands of deaths in Pakistan, in brazen attacks on government and civilian targets alike that began in 2007. The group has also claimed responsibility for an attempted car bombing in New York City in 2010.

It’s not the kind of group Karzai’s government would ostensibly want to be associated with.

Yet, the president’s spokesperson, Aimal Faizi, openly told reporters the NDS had been working with Latif “for a long period of time.” Latif, Faizi said, “was part of an NDS project like every other intelligence agency is doing.”

The Afghans evidently decided it was time to cultivate their own proxies for leverage with Pakistan.

The Haqqani insurgent network, which has inflicted the most damage on Afghan and U.S. forces, is based in North Waziristan, where Pakistan has thousands of troops stationed, but has held off on trying to clear the area of militants. It is also home to a number of senior TTP members, and has borne the brunt of American drone strikes.

“The Haqqani network…acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency,” Admiral Mike Mullen, the then top American military official told Congress in 2011. U.S. officials were irate, saying as far back as 2008, they had tracked the communication lines of Haqqani militants during attacks in Kabul to control rooms in Pakistan, which was directing the operation in real time. None of the evidence was made public, but the NDS was apparently motivated to offer funding to the TTP through operatives like Latif Mehsud. The TTP has a stated goal of toppling the Pakistani state, just as the Afghan Taliban hope to topple the Karzai government.

There is also speculation the NDS might be carrying out an assassination program of its own in Pakistan. In an embarrassing development for Pakistan, a gunman shot dead Nasiruddin Haqqani, a top facilitator of the insurgent group, in the Pakistani capitol of Islamabad last month.

Both the Afghan Taliban and the TTP operate across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, each country turning a blind eye to their presence. When top leadership has been detained, they have been kept as bargaining chips instead of being extradited.

In 2009, Pakistan sent troops into the Swat Valley in a bid to retake control from Taliban-allied militants there. Within months, it claimed victory, but the militants’ leadership, including the group’s head Maulana Fazlullah, had escaped, making their way through Dir and across the border to Kunar.

When a drone strike killed the TTP’s head, Hakimullah Mehsud, this November, Fazlullah took his place. He has since made several trips to Pakistan, attending TTP meetings in North Waziristan, but is thought to still have safe-houses in Kunar.

Pakistan, which would like to negotiate a peace deal with the TTP, needs to get access to Fazlullah, but the key middle man is sitting in an NDS prison in Afghanistan.

Maulvi Faqir Muhammad was one of the founding members of the TTP, and commanded a force of more than six thousand fighters – Pakistanis, Afghans, and Arabs – in his native Bajaur Agency. When Pakistani troops flushed militants out of Bajaur in 2010, Faqir moved across the border into Afghanistan.

Faqir had a falling out with TTP leadership last year, when he openly called for negotiations with the Pakistani government. But he was reinstated soon after, at the behest of Fazlullah, and it is thought Faqir could help persuade the TTP head to consider peace talks. Or, if things don’t work out, Faqir could help locate Fazlullah so Pakistan, or maybe a U.S. drone strike, could take him out.

Getting to Fazlullah means getting at Faqir, much like finding Hakimullah Mehsud needed the cooperation of Latif Mehsud, who reportedly provided the intelligence used to locate the TTP’s former leader.

This February, Faqir was arrested by Afghan intelligence agents, and Karzai’s government has refused to extradite him to Pakistan. Afghan officials have said they are unwilling to do so until Pakistan hands over senior Taliban leaders in its custody like Mullah Baradar. Baradar was once the second in command of the Afghan Taliban, and is the natural point of contact for initiating peace talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government. Pakistan released him from prison in September, but only recently allowed Afghan negotiators limited access to him.

So each country now controls access to key militant leaders that could be used to influence the insurgency plaguing its rival.

Even as the covert war between Afghanistan and Pakistan continues, real skirmishes at the border have seen a dramatic rise over the last few years, foreshadowing the kind of tensions that might arise after coalition forces withdraw.

Pakistan and Afghanistan maintain more than a thousand border posts along the disputed, largely unmarked 2,600 kilometer border, but militants still move across with apparently little difficulty.

Pakistani forces have been known to, at the very least, ignore Haqqani network militants launching attacks into Afghanistan, but officials have also long accused the Afghans of doing the same thing.

In 2010, U.S. troops pulled out of strategic areas along the border like the Korengal Valley, redeploying to urban centers to protect the population from the Taliban insurgency. The move left a hole in the border, allowing for militants based in Kunar to strike targets in Pakistan.

In August, 2011, more than three hundred TTP fighters – Afghans and Pakistanis – crossed the border into Pakistan’s Chitral region, carrying out assaults on seven security posts over the course of several days, killing 32 Pakistani security personnel.

Two months later, more than two hundred fighters crossed into Pakistan’s Upper Dir area, sparking clashes that left one Pakistani soldier and 30 militants dead.

In neighboring Bajaur Agency, which Pakistan says it had cleared of militants by 2010, groups of up to 300 militants crossed over from Afghanistan during the summer of 2011 on three separate occasions, attacking government security posts and sparking clashes that lasted several days.

The raids have continued unabated in the last two years. In an effort to pursue the fighters, Pakistan routinely shells Afghanistan, often drawing retaliatory shelling by the Afghan National Army, which also fires at insurgents fleeing its own forces. Between the raids and the shelling, there has been a dramatic rise in casualties in the region: in 2009, 15 people were killed in cross-border violence, by 2012 the number of dead had reached 314.

If U.S. troops leave a vacuum in Afghanistan that the Haqqani insurgents begin to exploit, the Afghans are going to want leverage to force Pakistan to crack down on sanctuaries in its territory, and it seems that leverage will be the TTP. If the TTP’s insurgency in Pakistan picks up and the group’s leadership is still operating out of Afghanistan, there will be intense pressure on the Pakistanis to take military action – perhaps even a ground incursion – across the border.

Unless the Taliban on both sides of the border are pacified – either politically or militarily – before the U.S. withdrawal, the cross-border skirmishes could turn into an all-out war.

Umar Farooq is based in Pakistan, where he works as a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and the Wall Street Journal. He has also written for The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The Globe and Mail, and The Nation.

Comments
22
Salman
January 5, 2014 at 18:12

n 1839, the British Empire sought to expand the borders of its colony of British India, by launching a war of conquest against the neighboring Pashtuns. The Pashtuns, as a fiercely independent tribal warrior people, resisted ferociously, so that the British conquest of them was not successful. The British were only able to conquer part of the Pashtun territory, and even that remained in constant rebellion against them. Meanwhile, the remaining unconquered portion of Pashtun territory became the nucleus for the formation of Afghanistan. In 1893, the British imposed a ceasefire line on the Afghans called the Durand Line, which separated British-controlled territory from Afghan territory. The local people on the ground however never recognized this line, which merely existed on a map, and not on the ground.

In 1947, when the colony of British India achieved independence and was simultaneously partitioned into Pakistan and India, the Pakistanis wanted the conquered Pashtun territory to go to them, since the Pashtuns were Muslims. Given that the Pashtuns never recognized British authority over them to begin with, the Pakistanis had tenuous relations with the Pashtuns and were consumed by fears of Pashtun secession.

When Pakistan applied to join the UN in 1947, there was only one country which voted against it. No, it wasn’t India – it was Pashtun-ruled Afghanistan which voted against Pakistan’s admission, on the grounds that Pakistan was in illegal occupation of Pashtun lands stolen by the British. This vote occurred on September 30, 1947, and is a fact.

In 1948, in the nearby state of Kashmir, its Hindu princely ruler and Muslim political leader joined hands in deciding to make Kashmir an independent country rather than joining either Pakistan or India. Pakistan’s leadership were immediately terrified of this precedent, fearing that the Pashtuns would soon follow suit and also declare their own ethnically independent state. In order to pre-empt that and prevent it from happening, Pakistan’s founder and leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah quickly decided to raise the cry of “Hindu treachery against the Muslims” and despatched hordes of armed Pashtun tribesmen to attack Kashmir. This was his way of distracting the Pashtuns from their own ethnic nationalism by diverting them into war against Kashmir “to save Islam”. These are the same Pashtun tribesman whose descendants are today’s Taliban. Fleeing the unprovoked invasion of their homeland, Kashmir’s Hindu prince and Muslim political leader went to India, pledging to merge with it if India would help repel the invasion. India agreed, and sent its army to repel the Pashtun invasion. Pakistan then sent its army to clash with Indian forces, and the result was Indo-Pakistani conflict, which has lasted for decades.

Pakistan’s fear of Pashtun nationalism and separatism, which it fears can break up Pakistan, is thus the root of the Indo-Pakistani conflict over Kashmir and also the root of Pak conflict with Afghanistan, not any alleged Indian takeover of Kabul. This is all due to the legacy of 1839, which happened long before Pakistan was even created.

When a communist revolution happened in Kabul in the late 70s, Pakistan’s fear of potential spillover effects on Pashtun nationalism caused Pakistan to embark on fomenting a guerrilla war against Kabul that led to Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Aligned with with the USA, Pakistan then proceeded to arm the Pashtuns while indoctrinating them with Islamic fanaticism. The USA was not allowed any ground role, and was told it could only supply arms and funds to Pakistan, which would take care of the rest. Pakistan then simultaneously embarked on destabilization of India by fomenting insurgency there.

After the Soviets withdrew, Pakistan again feared that the well-armed Pashtuns would turn on it and pursue secession. So Pakistan then created the Taliban as a new umbrella movement for the fractious factional guerrilla groups under an ultra-fundamentalist ideology. Bin Laden’s AlQaeda then became cosy with Taliban, and the result was 9-11.

When the 9-11 attacks occurred, the cornered Pakistanis then did a 180 and promised to help the US defeat the Taliban and bring the terrorists to justice. Meanwhile they were racking their brains hoping to come up with a way to undermine the War on Terror from within. Now that they have succeeded in doing that, and in bleeding US/NATO forces, they hope to jump horses by kicking the US out and aligning with China.

Because of Pakistan’s attempts to illegitimately hang onto Pashtun land, it has brought itself into conflicts with so many countries – first against its neighbors and then against more distant larger powers. This is the reason why Pakistan is an irredentist state and can never be an ally against Islamic extremism, because Pakistan depends on this very Islamism as a national glue to hold itself together, and keep nationalistic ethnic groups like the Pashtuns from breaking Pakistan apart.

At the same time, Pakistanis don’t dare own upto the Pashtun national question at any level, nor its effect on their national policies, because any attempt to do so would open up the legitimacy of their claim to Pashtun land.

Sovereignty is a 2-way street, entailing not just rights but obligations. Pakistan only wishes to assert rights owing to it from sovereignty, and wishes to completely duck the issue of any sovereign obligations to apprehend terrorists on what it claims as its own territory. This is because the fundamental reality is that the Pashtun territory is not really theirs, is not really under their control, and the Pashtuns don’t really recognize Pakistani central authority over them.

Pakistan uses Islamic fundamentalism to submerge traditional Pashtun ethnic identity in a desperate attempt to suppress Pashtun ethnic nationalism, and to stave off the disintegration of Pakistan. The Pashtuns are a numerically large enough ethnic group possessing the strength of arms to be able to secede from Pakistan at any moment, should they decide upon it.

The answer is to let the separatists have their way and achieve their independent ethnic states, breaking up Pakistan. It’s better to allow Pakistan to naturally break up into 3 or 4 benign ethnic states, than for it to keep promoting Islamic fundamentalist extremism in a doomed attempt to hold itself together. Pakistan is a failing state, and it’s better to let it fail and fall apart. This will help to end all conflict in the region and the trans-national terrorist problem. An independent ethnic Pashtun state will be dominated by Pashtun ethnic identity instead of fundamentalist Islam, and thus AlQaeda will no longer be able to find sanctuary there. Conventional ethnic identity is far more natural and benign than trans-nationalist Islamism with its inherent collectivist political bent. Supporting the re-emergence of 4 natural ethnic states – Pashtunistan, Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab – would be far better than continuing to support a dangerous and dysfunctional failed state like Pakistan which continues to spew toxic Islamist extremist ideology in a doomed attempt to hold itself together.

Following the failure of the Vietnam War, many Americans later recognized that war was really a war of ethnic reunification by the Vietnamese people. It was not a case of one foreign country attempting to conquer another foreign country – indeed, the north and south Vietnamese were not strangers or aliens to one another – they were 2 halves of a common whole. The question was whether they would reunify under communist socialism or under free democracy but because a blinkered American leadership refused to recognize the Vietnamese grassroots affinity for one another and their desire to reunify, it pretty much ensured that Vietnamese reunification would take place under communist socialism.

Likewise, the Pashtun people live on both sides of an artificial Durand Line (Afghan-Pak “border”) which they themselves have never accepted or recognized. It’s a question of whether they will politically reunify under close-minded theocratic Islamism or under a more secular and tolerant society. Because today’s blinkered American leadership is again blindly defending another artificial line on a map, and refusing to recognize the oneness of the people living on both sides of that artificial line, America is again shutting itself out of the reunification process, guaranteeing that Pashtun reunification will occur under fanatical fundamentalist Islamism as prescribed by Pakistan (much as Hanoi’s Soviet backers prescribed reunification under communist socialism.) It’s only later on, much after America’s defeat, that some Americans will realize too late that they should have seen that the Pashtuns on both sides of the artificial line were actually one people. Pakistan knows it all too well, because they’ve been living with the guilt and fear of it ever since Pakistan’s creation – but that’s why they’re hell-bent on herding the Pashtuns down the path of Islamist fanaticism, using Islamist glue to keep the Pashtuns as a whole hugged to Pakistan’s bosom.

If only the preachers at the Economist could shed their blinkers and really understand what’s going on, then they might have a chance to shape events more effectively, and to their favor. Pakistan is rapidly building up its nuclear arsenal, as it moves to surpass Britain to become the world’s 5th-largest nuclear state.The Pakistanis are racing to build up as much hard-power as possible to back up the soft-power they feel Islamist hate-ideology gives them.

The world needs to compel the Pakistanis to let the Pashtuns go, and allow them to have their own independent national existence, along with the Baluchis and Sindhis. Humoring Pakistan and allowing it to continue using Islamist hatred to rally the people towards unity to counter slow disintegration is not the way to achieve stability in the region, or security for the world.

Alina Khattak
February 9, 2014 at 00:38

Nice try. Your entire long lecture was very elaborate but entirely useless. Why? Because it completely refuses to make even the remotest passing mention of the fact that there is this thing called “international law.” Yes I know, that being a nation of tribal cave dwellers you Afghans have never heard of “international law” but under it you people have absolutely no case. That is a completely legal and legitimate international border and no amount of racist ranting and parading yourself as innocent victims will change this fact. This is why you Afghans always post these lengthy elaborate explanations putting up a large pile of completely irrelevant smoke screen straw man arguments precisely to cover up that little (but more pertinent) fact. Moreover, even most Afghan propaganda on that border always goes along the lines of “legally Pakistan’s position is correct but…”

Also Salman, don’t you get it YET that all your Pashtun-chauvinist racist ethnocentrism has NEVER gained traction in Pakistan? The Pashtuns are the most patriotic Pakistanis you will ever find, and the very reason you people have never attained Pashtunistan is because the Pakistani Pashtuns consider you savages and want nothing to do with you. We are very happy being Pakistanis so you live in your country and let us live happily in ours.

Ali Zaidi
February 9, 2014 at 00:46

“In 1948, in the nearby state of Kashmir, its Hindu princely ruler and Muslim political leader joined hands in deciding to make Kashmir an independent country rather than joining either Pakistan or India. Pakistan’s leadership were immediately terrified of this precedent, fearing that the Pashtuns would soon follow suit and also declare their own ethnically independent state. In order to pre-empt that and prevent it from happening, Pakistan’s founder and leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah quickly decided to raise the cry of “Hindu treachery against the Muslims” and despatched hordes of armed Pashtun tribesmen to attack Kashmir. This was his way of distracting the Pashtuns from their own ethnic nationalism by diverting them into war against Kashmir “to save Islam”. These are the same Pashtun tribesman whose descendants are today’s Taliban. Fleeing the unprovoked invasion of their homeland, Kashmir’s Hindu prince and Muslim political leader went to India, pledging to merge with it if India would help repel the invasion. India agreed, and sent its army to repel the Pashtun invasion. Pakistan then sent its army to clash with Indian forces, and the result was Indo-Pakistani conflict, which has lasted for decades.”

What utter rubbish, it is a well-documented fact that Muhammad Ali Jinnah had absolutely no hand in sending in Pashtun tribesmen into Kashmir, the whole thing happened without even his knowledge, let alone his orders. That incursion had happened because Maharaja Hari Singh’s army, which included Indian army regulars, were committing mass-genocide against Kashmir’s Muslims, sending a wave of refugees fleeing into Pakistan (including Pashtun areas of the country). Meanwhile Kashmiri Muslim leaders kept begging Jinnah to intervene but the latter refused, insisting on seeking only a diplomatic solution. Meanwhile, Maharaja Hari Singh’s army, which as I said included Indian army regulars, regularly penetrated into refugee camps and nearby villages in Pakistan and killed thousands of people. Let me spell that out more clearly: Maharaja Hari Singh’s army, which included Indian army regulars, directly invaded Pakistan and committing mass killings of its citizens and refugees under its protection. Muhammad Ali Jinnah refused to intervene. Then the dead bodies of the killed Kashmiri Muslims were paraded in the streets of Peshawar by local people, completely independently of the Pakistani government, and people were exhorted to wage a righteous jihad to liberate Kashmiri Muslims. That’s when the tribal intervention happened. That had nothing to divert Pashtuns from their own nationalistic struggle because the Pashtuns had already voted in favor of joining Pakistan in a referendum in 1947 and the Muslim League had already won elections by a landslide there before Pakistan’s creation. It was India, not Pakistan, that started the Kashmir conflict, and to this day it is India that refuses to resolve it either by peaceful means or violent. Get a real history lesson instead of spamming internet forums with crass baseless propaganda.

Saleem Arif
February 9, 2014 at 00:48

“Sovereignty is a 2-way street, entailing not just rights but obligations. Pakistan only wishes to assert rights owing to it from sovereignty, and wishes to completely duck the issue of any sovereign obligations to apprehend terrorists on what it claims as its own territory.”

If Afghanistan makes it a matter of its national honor to relentlessly wage aggressive war on Pakistan to seize vast swathes of what is rightfully Pakistani territory, then do not complain when Pakistan smashes Afghanistan’s sovereignty and independence in response. You reap what you sow.

Ayatullah Yusufzai
February 11, 2014 at 00:30

YOU SAID: “In 1948, in the nearby state of Kashmir, its Hindu princely ruler and Muslim political leader joined hands in deciding to make Kashmir an independent country rather than joining either Pakistan or India. Pakistan’s leadership were immediately terrified of this precedent, fearing that the Pashtuns would soon follow suit and also declare their own ethnically independent state. In order to pre-empt that and prevent it from happening, Pakistan’s founder and leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah quickly decided to raise the cry of “Hindu treachery against the Muslims” and despatched hordes of armed Pashtun tribesmen to attack Kashmir. This was his way of distracting the Pashtuns from their own ethnic nationalism by diverting them into war against Kashmir “to save Islam”.”

MY ANSWER: What a pack of absurd revisionist nonsense. During those same days Muhammad Ali Jinnah had already recognized the princely state of Kalat in Balochistan as an independent country, thus setting the very precedent that you say Pakistan was terrified of. Now talking of the Pashtuns, the people of NWFP had already voted in favor of joining Pakistan in a referendum in 1947, which was boycotted by Pashtun nationalists, thus showing their true colors. That was a completely democratic referendum and the Pashtun people spoke. Meanwhile the ethnic-Pashtun princely states of Amb, Dir and Swat during those very days remained separate from Pakistan. For decades afterward they were not part of Pakistan even on paper. They peacefully merged with Pakistan during the late 1960s, long after secessionist tendencies among the Pakistani Pashtuns had died out. That would have done a much better job of making the Pashtuns “follow suit and also declare their own ethnically independent state” yet Pakistan had no problem with it. So next time get your facts right.

MAJID
April 9, 2014 at 18:03

dear salman
you rightly defined the pashtoon in the start of the your opinion but laterly you just wrote your own ideas,imaginations and wishes; pakiststani pashtoon are much patriotic to Pakistan and they recognize themselves as Pakistani . you just wrote the agenda of Awami national party so consider the feeling of every pashtoon while talking for their future

TDog
January 4, 2014 at 12:08

One factor everyone forgot to mention is Iran. Iran has a vested interest in Afghanistan’s future and could very well step in to aid one side over the other. When the Taliban ran Afghanistan, Tehran almost went to war with them. When the US invaded Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11, Tehran initially helped both the Northern Alliance and the US in ousting them, only to help the Taliban in turn once the US presence became a bit too close for comfort.

Unlike India, which is relying mostly on soft power, and the US, which is relying mostly on hard power, Iran has the capacity and local knowledge to employ both to some degree.

This could prove to be the deciding factor in the future of Afghanistan and rather than seeing an Afghan-Pakistani conflict, I actually think a proxy war between Iran and the Gulf Arabs is likelier.

Amin
January 3, 2014 at 20:44

When the USA leaves so will the brutal terror arm of the CIA namely blackwater ( whatever they are called today).

With US gone the chicken bleep bleep Indians will scurry and pack up their consulates.

This will be the end of TTP support and funding in Afghanistan and these TTP fighters will whither away or be killed.

Pashtuns hate the TTP in Pakistan And there are more Pashtuns in Pakistan than in Afghanistan.

Afghan Taliban is definitely going to return and to be honest Afghans would rather have them back then a vile bloody occupation led by USA.

As for India, your inflated ego on being a regional power let alone super power will pop. As for Pakistan it needs to take a hard look inwards and see where it has failed and look to its past to see where it was stronger.

As for India and Pak relations this will never improve and why should they while India continues to occupy lands of the Muslim Indus. The British have left a very deep hatred between the 2 groups and contrary to the inaccurate popular consensus it is more prevalent amongst the Hindus of India.

India has spread terror to all her neighbours and the wider region not just Pakistan. The West under the neocons just put a positive spin on India when in fact it is a treacherous cesspit of a nation.

Anjaan
January 4, 2014 at 07:05

@ Amin,
For you Pakis … the world would be simple once the Americans would be gone in 2014 …. but only in a world of denial that you Pakis live in … why do you Pakis think that funding for TTP will dry out, when funding for Paki strategic assets never end … ?? … India might close down its consulates if needed, but Indian influence will never end with the Afghans, that are historically friendly towards India, and India is committed to help them … and whether or not Afghanistan falls back into civil war post 2014, Pakistan is doomed either way …. and with reference to your take on India Pakistan relations, the people of India are in no rush for a better relations with you Pakis …

Sardar KHAN
January 10, 2014 at 01:15

Anjaan,
Trouble with you bunderstanis (indian) is that your hatred of Pakistan will never let you think straight at all. Pakistan and Afghanistan are neighbours while bunderstan is not.Whenever it is needed Pakistan could close the route to Afghanistan by land or air and bunderstan can’t do anything about it and if you use Iranian routes,it will economically will be expensive,that’s why your country begging to USA for land route through Pakistan.The moment your master Americans leave Afghanistan your country’s position will be vulnerable as before even with help of USSR,your country failed to make real friends in Afghanistan.So forget about being a super power it is not a regional power at all.Come down to earth and try to be friends with other regional countries for a start.

S. Suchindranath Aiyer
January 2, 2014 at 20:46

All this is very well, but, once the US cuts and runs from Afghanistan, it will relapse into an emirate providing “strategic depth” to that Saudi-Wahabi sword arm with the Islamic Bomb that will license its old ally China to loot the minerals to mutual profit:

Risha
January 3, 2014 at 21:05

Oh please stop creating bogey men.
Afghanistan would embrace the Taliban as opposed to the carnage caused by USA and her allies.

Hoping Afghanistanis and the majority Pashtuns will be smart enough to not get sucked into a Sunni v Shia struggle between Saudi and Iran but even that would be a blessing compared to the death destruction left by the USA led invasion.

Pashtuns must assert their own will on Afghanistan and in the same breath need to be weary of Indian games and hegemonic designs.

On Pakistan it is to be noted the Durand Line has never been recognised and more Pashtuns reside inside Pakistan than in Afghanistan. Pashtuns are the majority in Afghanistan so Pakistan will forever be joined with the destiny of Afghanistan whether people like it or not.

It is other powers regional and further away seeking to play the great game that is the problem and to be fair not Pakistan.

Had it not been Pakistani sacrifice and support the Afghanistan would be a Soviet / communist emirate today. Remember Pakistan was engaged in training and supporting the Mujahadeen way before the USA joined the cause. USA joined in the mid 80′s while Pakistan was working and supporting Afghan resistance from 1979.

Yes Pakistan must be wise too on how it spreads it’s influence or ideas into Afghanistan just like the new era of Taliban in Afghanistan.

Why not help the legitimate forces inside Afghanistan to recreate the rich and beautiful Afghanistan of the 50′s the centre of the world, cultural exchanges where East Is on the road to meet the West and visa vi.

For those powers seeking to continue the great game just remember Pashtuns and Afghans altogether are a tough bunch so stay clear or a insurgent highly militant Afghanistan will re emerge again.

Sam
January 4, 2014 at 19:14

Aiyer You Majored In Western Hipocrisy?

Kanes
January 2, 2014 at 16:58

There will not be a Pakistan-Afghanistan conflict. Saudi war lords will keep both happy. Instead their combined thrust will be against India – the regional exception.

After the Russians left until 2000 Pakistan enjoyed democracy for a change. That was when Taliban and Mujahiddin were running the show in Afghanistan.

Alan
January 3, 2014 at 20:56

To be fair the Taliban began as a movement to counter the Uzbek and Tajik warlords massacring the majority Pashtuns.

Who supported, armed and funded the Northerm Alliance violence against Pashtuns well it was India and Iran.

Iran now has different agenda but India continue to support those cold blooded killers funding them to remain in politics.

So pleaaaase enough of the BS please.

Amin
January 3, 2014 at 21:07

Nonsense…

Even if it were true then Saudi has an important role across the Muslim world and would be a darn better scenario than the present for Afghans.

Do not treat Afghans like cattle mate…

They are a proud, strong and immensely beautiful people.

Anjaan
January 2, 2014 at 00:47

It has been known to all parties for many years, that there is a covert war going on in the Af-Pak region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The BIG QUESTION here is, on whose side the US State Dept. and the CIA are ….
1. It has been apparent for quite some time now, that the American strategic objective post 2014, is in alignment with their major non-NATO ally Pakistan. The reason for that is simple. Pakistan is the only country, and a reliable proxy of the western powers in the region, that would their bidding in exchange of dollars … just as they did against the Soviets …
2. The well being of Afghanistan is not a priority of the Americans. The maneuver pattern of the Americans, and their definition of terrorist in their negotiation with the Afghans for a BSA treaty reveals that the Americans would, at any cost, protect the strategic interests of Pakistan, before their exit.
3. The American game plans for the region is not a secret any more. The countries in the region have their task cut out, to foil the American designs, in order to protect their own strategic and security interests, post 2014 ….

Amin
January 3, 2014 at 21:10

Deeply flawed narrative, Pakistan was already engaged in Afghan and Soviet war way before the US ever joined.

Pashtuns live on both sides of the Durand Line, family and blood is stronger than British made demarcation lines.

More Pashtuns exist in Pakistan today than Afghanistan therefore Pakistan is linked with Afghanistan by blood today, by ethnicity, by history, by geography, by religion and you can never change that but embrace it.

Learn the history of this region before the British and do not talk mambo jumbo..

Anjaan
January 4, 2014 at 06:49

@ Amin…
You Pakis are accomplished liars … With whose money and support was Pakistan engaged against the Soviets ( even before the US joined) … ??
Yeh … this narrative will always look flawed from a Pakistani point of view … because you Pakistanis think you are the only smart, and others are idiots …

Anjaan
January 4, 2014 at 07:11

I don’t need to learn history from a Paki … nor from the lie laden history books of Pakiland … ask any Afghan and he will confirm how much the Afghans hate you Pakis, it is historical, and for the same reason the Afghans love the people of India … who are you trying to bull shit here … ??

9 dashes, 4 dishes, 1 soup
January 1, 2014 at 21:24

Not that it matters, but I have predicted in posts on this publication for two years at least, the Taliban will turn its guns on the Pakistani government when NATO leaves.

If you view the Taliban as a Pashtun quasi-nationalist movement, there is no other conclusion to draw. Pakistan should dread the day when Americans are gone. It will either lose territory or thousands of its soldiers will die defending it – probably both.

Amin
January 3, 2014 at 20:53

On the contrary, with USA gone the tail that is India will not be too far behind.

TTP is not fighting the Afghan cause and nor is it an ideological struggle but of terror and incitement. With their financiers gone in Afghanistan the incompetent Afghan army will be incapable of protecting and financing them, agreed they will to begin with BUT we all know who the real power in Afghanistan are and that is Afghan Taliban.

The region will be a lot more stable with USA and India gone even if Afghanistan falls under the Emirate again. Offcourse India will whinge and whine because that’s what it does best but this will be a new era and there will be NO More neocon influence marketing the Indians.

Indians occupy land belonging to all its neighbours and have lived in an over inflated bubble that they are highly intelligent and progressive this last decade supported by the Zionist media people across the world have come to believe this until they visit the cess pit that is called India.

So do not worry about Pakistan, somebody quite accurately described it as a tough country and will go through some bumps before stability is restored.

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