When the elephants dance the grass gets trampled upon.
Afghanistan is the grass. Not only do we have NATO and ISAF fighting Al-Qaeda and the Pakhtuns (aka Taliban), we also have India and Pakistan fighting a proxy war in West Asia. The US and NATO ignore Pakistan’s interests in Kabul at its own peril. Russia and China are also defending their strategic interests in the land of Opium. Lord Curzon said ” who over control West Asia controls the world”.
No state can be successfully pressured into acts it considers suicidal. Ahmed Rashid and Barnett Rubin Foreign Affairs magazine
Some believe the military has never given up its policy of “strategic depth”: the belief that in order to defend itself against its traditional enemy, India, to the east, it needs a pro-Pakistan government (like the Taliban) in Afghanistan, to the west.
Others say it wants a “neutral” Afghanistan.
But Kabul is not neutral as far as the army is concerned.
Its government is full of factions hostile to Islamabad and closely allied with India, Pakistan’s great regional rival. And India is expanding its influence in the country.
This is all the more troubling because Pakistan’s worried about its borders.
Afghanistan has never recognised the boundary drawn by the British, known as the Durrand Line. And the dispute with India over the Himalayan region of Kashmir continues.
US troops carry out joint operations with the new Afghan security forces
In such circumstances, the Taliban are an asset, not an adversary for the ISI, says the observer.
“The Pakistan army knows that it and the Taliban have Pashtun support on both sides of the Durand line. This gives it leverage, and means it can signal to the United States that it will not be abandoned in any Afghan deal.”
Prior to his election, Mr Obama recognised that Pakistani peace with India was key to stability in Afghanistan.
Since his inauguration, however, he has dropped any suggestion of an initiative on Kashmir in the face of Indian objections.
Now, he hopes a mixture of carrot and stick will force a rethink of Pakistan’s security calculation.
But for Pakistan’s security establishment, its concerns – the presence of India in Afghanistan, Kabul’s refusal to recognise the border, the festering Kashmir dispute – are strategic threats far greater than those posed by Islamist militants.
“The concept of pressuring Pakistan is flawed,” Ahmed Rashid and Barnett Rubin have written in the Foreign Affairs magazine. “No state can be successfully pressured into acts it considers suicidal.”
Ultimately America’s leverage is limited: in pushing too much, it may lose even the limited cooperation it has. American leverage in South Asia, By Barbara Plett, BBC News, Islamabad
Many are now trying to control Afghanistan’s barren deserts and arid mountains. India’s high profile monument to its interference in Afghanistan was its embassy. By positioning such a large embassy it had painted a target on itself.
Within the security establishment there is a belief that the ISI is being used as a scapegoat for coalition failures in Afghanistan.
However, few independent Pakistani analysts doubt the intelligence agency maintains links with Islamist militants, especially the Afghan Taliban who have sanctuary in the border region.
“The army will operate against militant groups that it defines as anti-Pakistan,” says one informed observer who spoke off-the-record.
“But it will not go after those groups that have a purely Afghan agenda, like the Afghan Taliban. Not at least until the United States listens to what the army regards as Pakistan’s legitimate regional concerns.” American leverage in South Asia, By Barbara Plett, BBC News, Islamabad
India’s sprawling embassy compound in Kabul is a symbol of the country’s bid for more strategic clout in Afghanistan since the fall of the extremist Taliban regime in 2001. India’s ramped-up presence in Afghanistan – including the opening of consulates in several cities and resources for reconstruction – has put it in competition with Pakistan, analysts say.
Pakistan’s policy: “Pakistan has a stated policy of seeking strategic depth in the region – Afghanistan and beyond,” said C Uday Bhaskar, ex-deputy chief of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis in New Delhi. “India, since the fall of the Taliban, has been trying to revive its links with Afghanistan. So there is an element of competition here,” he added.
The attackers “are the forces that are trying to disrupt the [President Hamid] Karzai administration, disrupt any kind of initiative that seeks to bring about change from what the Taliban represented”.
When militants attacked the Indian parliament in New Delhi, India marched 250,000 soldiers along the Pakistani border. The Nuclear deterrent and mutually assured destruction kept the forces at bay. There have been two Indian sponsored attacks on Islamabad. Pakistan has been pressured into not blaming new Delhi overtly even though there is ample evidence to do so.
For centuries, India has been preoccupied with security on its northwest frontier – the route by which so many invasions came. The British, too, spent money and blood guarding this strategic gateway. After independence, both Pakistan and India saw strategic advantage in denying each other control of Afghanistan, and each has long regarded influence in Kabul as a matter of vital national importance. Their proxy war has contributed to instability of the region. The Times
Understanding the conflict:
India and Pakistan have been vying for influence in Kabul for decades, and India — which for years backed the opposition Northern Alliance against the Pakistan-backed Taliban regime — came out on top after the U.S.-led invasion scattered the Taliban and installed President Karzai in power. Time Magazine
- India vs. Pakistan–Gwador vs. Chabahar.
- and he huffed and he puffed
- Karzai Threatens to Send Afghan Troops Into Pakistan
- Failure and defeat in Afghanistan. Payback for Pakistan.
- Afghanistan fubar: A crumbling alliance?
- Pakistan’s National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) submits proof of Indian RAW involvement in terror bombing in Pakistan. Blunt message to New Delhi to stop!
- India intelligence: “‘the aim of RAW is to keep internal disturbances flaring up and the ISI preoccupied so that Pakistan can lend no worthwhile resistance to Indian designs in the region.”
- India a secret player in Afghanistan: Bases—Lashkargarh, Qushila Jadid,Khahak,Hassan Killies
- The last “Mayor of Kabul”. Mr. Karzai.“You can call me a US puppet
- Spy vs. Spy in Kabul, London, Delhi, Islamabad and Swat: Taliban prepare for Kabul
- India vs. Pakistan–Gwador vs. Chabahar.
- CIA Connection….Benazir assassination was pre-planned. The Zia model with a twist…
I don’t think Pakistan would ever like to add fuel to fire in the current situation by interfering in Afghanistan. We cannot do it unless we go mad,” former Inter-Services Intelligence chief Asad Durrani told AFP.
“Pakistan enjoys great clout in Afghanistan, being its next-door neighbour, as compared to India. Afghans depend on us, we are culturally very close to them,” said Durrani, who headed the ISI in the 1990s.
For years, India and Pakistan have been at opposite sides of the devastating conflicts that have raged in Afghanistan. P Stobdan, an Indian expert on Afghan affairs, said he was concerned India and Pakistan were being drawn towards overt confrontation over Afghanistan.
“I also blame the Indian government because they were overdoing things in Afghanistan,” he said.AFP.
The current situation:
INDIAN RAW AGENTS ATTACK ISLAMABAD AGAIN: A leaf falls in India and Pakistan is blamed. Pakistanis on the other hand is very shy about blaming India. Pakistanis don’t want to rock the boat and want a few more years of peace before another potential conflagration. President Musharraf has already indicated in his last interview in Pakistan that “a foreign hand”in involved in the attempted instability in Pakistan. Pakistan wants this stopped. Pakistan’s unusually blunt message to the USA on the unacceptability of American boots on the ground caught even the Americans by surprise. President Bush heard a message about Pakistan from the Saudis and UAE.
With another peace deal emerging in Waziristan between Pakistan, how long will it take a drone to sabotage the peace in FATA or Swat? Assault on Sovereignty. Pakistan says no to 11 new us demands. Pakistani Cheese for Western whine.
The last “Mayor of Kabul”. Mr. Karzai.“You can call me a US puppet ” controls only 10% of the Afghan territory. Exaggerated claim of US report.
The new order without Karzai is emerging in Afghanistan! Wither NATO?
Some ancient History:
- Defeat in Afghanistan: UK “White Man’s burden” fails again
- British “Charge of the Light Brigade” in Afghanistan AGAIN: Unfortunately the lessons of the unmitigated disaster of “Auckland’s Folly”, (First Anglo-Afghan War 1838–42) have not been taught to the Oxbridge students.
- Those that the gods will destroy they first make mad…
- Kabul ventriloquist’s bravado-Puppet Karzai’s bluster
- ‘I Wish I Had the Taliban as My Soldiers’ Hamid Karzai
- Karzai vs. Pakistan: After the battle is won and lost!
- The last mayor of Kabul’s failures spell the end of Afghanistan. How long can the inept Karzai blame others for his corrupt Narco Warlordism?
- Britain’s unnecessary wars in 1879-1939-2001
Some recent events:
Its been hard to keep up with the moves and the counter moves in the slippery slopes of the Hindu Kush. Conventional wisdom says that there are too many moving parts. Take a few of these for example.
1) DISCORD WITHIN THE NORTHERN ALLIANCE: Most of Karzai’s supporters now oppose him. He is more isolated then ever before. Karzai has fired Abdullah Abdullah the Northern Alliance leader who has ended up in Washington. Karzai and Dostum have gone head to head. Both Dostum and Zalmay Khalilzad have thrown their name in the hat to run for president. An attack on Mr. Karzai in the heart of Kabul was blamed on Pakistan but was most probably an attack by rival factions within the Kabul regime.
2) SITUATION IS GRIM FOR ISAF: The ISAF-NATO forces facing imminent defeat increase the number of soldiers in Afghanistan. US Marines and additional NATO forces have made little difference in the situation.Most recently F-16s are dispatched.
3) BLAMING THE BENEFACTORS: DISCORD WITH ISAF: Britain was caught training Taliban without informing Kabul infuriating Karzai. He Expelled two Britishers (Mervyn Patterson and Michael Semple) saying they were part of the plan to “buy off insurgents”. Kabul periodically blames the British and ISAF troops for losing control of Helmand.
“We [Afghans] suffered after the arrival of the British forces. Before that, we were fully in charge in Helmand. When our governor was there, we were fully in charge. They came and said, ‘Your governor is no good.’ I said, ‘All right, do we have a replacement for this governor, do you have enough forces?’ Both the American and the British forces guaranteed to me they knew what they were doing and I made the mistake of listening to them. And when they came in, the Taliban came Mr. Karzai in Devos
It [war] will make a difference when the Americans are clear and straightforward about this fight,” …the US should “mean what they say … [and] do what they say…Mr. Karzai
4) PAKISTAN UNDER PRESSURE TO HELP USA IN ATTACKING IRAN: Pakistan continues to refuse to back America’s attack on Iran. Moves continue to destabilize Pakistan. A concerted effort is carried on in the media and psy-ops on the ground to smuggle away basic and necessities like what and flour. This deju vu,is reminiscent of LiaqatAli Khan’s refusal to allow the USA to attack Iran. He was assassinated under suspicious circumstances.
5) POST BENAZIR OPS: After Benazir was assassinated, a pre-planned rampage burns hundreds of train stations, post offices and thousands of cars. Pakistan’s spymaster Hamid, Gul, and others blame CIA. ISI discovers destabilizing moves, panics and imposes emergency and suspends the constitution. Musharraf , Army and ISI resists pressure to eliminate emergency.
6) PEACE DEALS: Pakistan Army cleans up Swat. Mopping operation underway. On Baitul Mehsud’s policy against Pakistan backfires. Foreign hand withdraws its support. Routed from Swat, Baitul Mehsud sues for peace and cease fire with the army. Army is taking its time to accept the cease fire offer. Mullah Omar apparently wants Baitul Mehsudand others to concentrate on Afghanistan. The Taliban prepares for the much heralded Summer offensive against NATO. Peace deal? “Even before the ceasefire, the Taliban’s preparations in the strategic backyard of Pakistan were well underway. This included the isolation of Mehsudand appointing a new team of commanders in the Pakistani tribal areas. Most of the new appointments are Afghans, to signify the importance of fighting a war in Afghanistan rather than in Pakistan. The two main commanders are Abdul Wali in Bajaur Agency and Ustad Yasir in Khyber Agency.
7) EXERNAL SUPPORT FOR PAKISAN: China threaten that it will not tolerate “meddling and instability in Pakistan to continue.” Peoples Daily editorial. Headlined editorials in Peoples Daily. Tehran also sends the same message on the same date. Tehran Times editorial. Eviction notices are handed over to the Indians on their airbase in Tajikistan. Several small and large matters signal a chill in Indian-Russian relations. Earlier Russia approves reexport of over 500 RD-93 engines to Pakistan overruling vociferous Indian objections. India may not get Russian Aircraft carrier.
8) INDIAN INTERFERENCE: Pakistan blames the four Indian consulates, and 13 “information centers” for the destabilizing activity. Musharraf, Kiyani, Soomro and Ansar Burney also echo what China, Iran and Kiyani have said. Iran reports that American pressure for regime change in Pakistan settles down. Under American pressure India yawns at the IPI pipeline but doesn’t quit. China shows interest in IPC (replacing India) in the Pipeline.
”There has been a consistent policy of targeting Indians and Indian projects in Afghanistan. It’s no doubt a decision taken by the Taliban. Pakistan is directly or indirectly complicit in the attack,” G. Parthasarathy, a former Indian envoy to Pakistan said.
”They (Pakistan) have lost their privileged position in Afghanistan after 9/11. They are worried about increasing Indian influence in Kabul,” he stressed.
Ajai Sahni, an expert on terrorism, also felt that the terror attack was ”a message from Pakistan to put pressure on Indians and Indian projects in Afghanistan.
”This is quite evident that in the last three years, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) workers engaged in constructing Zaranj-Delaram road, which will reduce Afghanistan’s dependence on Pakistan, were targeted and some of them were also killed,” Sahni said. NDTV
9) SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN GRIM FOR NATO: Three reports from both sides of the Atlantic are made public which essentially paint a very grim picture for NATOs Afghanistan. Gates, publicly rebukes Germany and other NATO members to send more troops to fight in Southern Pashtun Afghanistan. Germany budges with 200 more troops. Canada taking heavy losses, threatens to withdraw if new troops are not sent.The USA send 300 troops, and eventually NATO coughs up 1000 more troops. But for how long? A key component of the Taliban’s offensive this year will be to counter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO’s) plans against them and al-Qaeda. Saleem Shahzad, Asia Times
10) DEFEAT OF NATO: “The prospect of again losing significant parts of Afghanistan to the forces of Islamic extremists has moved from the improbable to the possible.” Afghanistan Study Group. “The greater issue is whether the whole lot of us, the western coalition comprising American and Natoforces, can achieve anything worthwhile. The war with the Taliban is going badly. The rebels launched over 140 suicide bombings in 2007, with numerous attacks in the heart of the capital, Kabul. They have infiltrated many areas of the country, especially the south and the southeast, where the government is weakest.
11) WASTED AID IN AFGHANISTAN: ”While aid has contributed to progress in Afghanistan, especially in social and economic infrastructure – and whilst more aid is needed – the development process has to date been too centralised, top-heavy and insufficient. As a result millions of Afghans, particularly in rural areas, still face severe hardship. Conditions of persistent poverty have been a significant factor in the spread of insecurity”.Oxfam Assessment
12) FAILURE TO ERADICATE POPPY: “Karzai’s refusaltoallow the hare-brained American plan to eradicate opium poppies by crop spraying; his warming up to Musharraf; his refusal to review the decision to expel the two EU and UN diplomats, despite heavy diplomatic pressure from London; his insistence on friendly feelings toward Tehran; his spats with Britain; his pouring cold water on the candidacy of Ashdown (knowing full well it was a joint Anglo-American decision at the highest level) – surely, a pattern has emerged. Bhadrakumar
13) FAILURE TO SEE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TACTICAL SUCCESS & WINNING STRATEGY: “Today we risk repeating the classic mistake that dooms many counterinsurgencies: a failure to appreciate the difference between tactical success and a winning strategy. The fatal consequence, all too familiar to those of us who lived through Vietnam, is that you can win every battle, but fail to win the war.” Senator John Kerry
”If the Afghans don’t want us, why should we stay?”Andreas Whittam Smith:
‘We’re doing all we can,‘ British ministers David Milliband, the Foreign Secretary Karzai
14) CRUMBLING ALLIANCE: Afghanistan fubar: A crumbling alliance? NATO finds 1000 troops for Afghanistan for baby sitting duties. Europeans do not want to play tourist or fight.“In truth we cannot do anything worthwhile in Afghanistan for which the life of a single British soldier should be sacrificed. Britain must make its excuses and leave. After all, Mr Karzai, it seems, would be glad.”Editorial Independent UK.
15) NATO CUTS DEALS-DOESN’T FIGHT: ”Britain and its Nato allies are in danger of undermining Afghan president Hamid Karzaibycutting their own side-deals with local leaders.Agreements such as the appointment of a former Taliban commander as the mayor of a key strategic town on the recommendation of the British were undercutting President Karzai’s authority. IISSdirector general John Chipman warned that the tensions between Nato and the Afghan government were surfacing at a time of “worrying fragility” in the alliance’s commitment to the continuing mission in Afghanistan. “President Karzai lacks the authority to govern in all areas,” he said. “He has sought an accommodation with moderate Taliban as recognition of the fact that they have some politicalconstituency. But he has been frustrated by other ‘deals’ brokered by international allies.” The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
16) FRUSTRATED KARZAI BLAMING LONDON: “Karzai was hitting back at Washington and London. Make no mistake about it. He was retaliating against a systematic Western attempt to undercut his political stature and his authority. How much of the Western game plan stems from a well-thought out strategy aimed at replacing Karzai is difficult to tell at the moment. But, without doubt, there is an attempt to browbeat him and to discredit Karzai’s own endeavor in the recent period to distance himself from his Western backers. A Times
18)BLAMING PAKISTAN FOR ALL FAILURES: Failure and defeat in Afghanistan. Payback for Pakistan.To fend off total annihilation, Indian RAW unleashes suicide attacks on Pakistan
19)PAKHTUNS TAKE REVENGE ON INDIA-HINDI GO HOME: The biggest explosion in the history of Kabul destroyes the Indian Embassy
The gloves are off. The attack is telling India to get out or scale down its activities in Afghanistan,” Ashok Mehta, a retired Indian army commander and defence expert, told Reuters.
“It underlines the dangers India will face in helping in the reconstruction process because every positive act by India undermines the efforts of Taliban and their backers.” Reuters India July 8, 2008
20) SOLUTION:Let the Nato forces withdraw. Hand over the Pashtun areas to Pakistan.Saving the Pashtuns of Afghania from the chaos of Afghanistan. A Pakistan Afghan confederation was proposed and agreed upon by Liaqat Ali Khan and the late Afghan King. The confederation was scrapped after the assassination of Liaqat Ali Khan. This needs to be resurrected.
Failure and Defeat in Afghanistan: Inevitable Frustration & misdirected Payback for ally Pakistan US Charge of the Light Brigade into Pakistan is a US failure and has to stop
The folly of the UKs “Charge of the Light Brigade” in Afghanistan AGAIN reminds us of Britian’s previous defeat in Afghainstan. Unfortunately the lessons of the unmitigated disaster of “Auckland’s Folly”, (First Anglo-Afghan War 1838–42) have not been taught to the Oxbridge students.
Unite! Erase the Durand Line Solution: Fixing “AfPak” expedites the inevitable union between Pakistan & Afghanistan The emerging “Leave Pakistan to Afghanistan” strategy goes mainstream–Extricating the US from the Lost in the Khyber