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Archive for category Afghanistan Hell

Pakistan, Afghanistan Fail to Reach Border Deal After Deadly Clashes

Pakistan, Afghanistan Fail to Reach Border Deal After Deadly Clashes

Ceasefire Holding, But Thousands Stranded at Border

by

Jason Ditz,

Antiwar.com

June 20, 2016

 
 

The ceasefire between Afghanistan and Pakistan is holding at the Khyber Pass border,

Negotiations don’t seem to be making much progress either, with the two nations ending a full day of talks today without anything resembling an agreement resulting from them. Pakistani officials came out of the talks, however, reiterating their intention to build the border fence.

Afghanistan and the US occupation forces there have been pressuring Pakistan for years to “control” the border, and Pakistani officials believe that fence and gates will improve their control over traffic back and forth. Pakistani officials even tried to be amicable about it, building the fencing some 30 meters into Pakistani territory.

At least by Pakistani reckoning, and that’s the problem. The 1893 deal between Afghanistan and Britain, which defines the de facto border, is roundly rejected by Afghan officials, who insist that the “real” border is dramatically further south, at the Indus River, and that Afghanistan actually spans a large portion of Pakistan as well.

So when Pakistani government forces came to build the fencing, the Afghans started shooting, and the border patrols quickly got into open combat. With nothing resolved, it remains to be seen what happens when the construction crews return.

 

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The Afghan War Settlement

 

 

There-Are-18-Million-Afghan-Refugees-In-Pakistan-Alone-And-More-Than-28-Million-Total

Reference: 

The Afghan War Settlement

 

 

In 1979, Russian forces invaded Afghanistan. Communism came to the threshold of Pakistan when forces led by Babrak Karmel overthrew the Government of Afghanistan. Some 120,000 Russian troops entered Afghanistan .The Afghan people organized a resistance force against this blatant aggression. The Soviet forces suffered greatly in terms of manpower and material, and the Afghan War proved expensive even for a world power like the Soviet Union.

It has always been said about Afghanistan that it can be invaded and occupied easily but it is very difficult to hold and control it. Afghans have a history of resisting foreign invaders. The British imperial power failed in all three attempts to occupy and control Afghanistan. The Soviets were to learn the same lesson. In the beginning, the Soviet army was successful in occupying and controlling Afghanistan.

The Numbers Given Below are Not Accurate:The Are 10 Times Higher:Afghan Refugee Camps in Pakistan Province of KPK, Balochistan,Punjab

General Zia stood against the spread of communism. He reiterated his solution to the Afghanistan crisis in 1983 in New Delhi. He said that Pakistan has given political asylum to millions of Afghans. He demanded the expulsion of Russian forces from Afghanistan. America responded to the call of Pakistan and flooded Pakistan with monetary help to finance the anti-communist regime in Afghanistan and to equip the freedom fighters. The freedom fighters, the mujahideen, put forward a strong resistance to the Russian invasion. Although the Afghans suffered enormous causalities in the beginning of the war but the turning point in the war came when the U. S. supplied them with surface-to-air Stinger missiles.

danger. As Pakistan was a frontline state, huge amounts of money, military equipment and aid arrived in Pakistan. The huge amounts of aid that poured in propped up Zia’s government. With the Afghan problem, a new phase of modernization of the military began. The arms provided to Afghanistan freedom fighters were also provided to the Pakistan Army. As a result the Pakistan Army became better equipped.

Other than the problems faced due to the Afghan War efforts, the Soviet Empire was breaking apart at the seams. This led the Soviets to seek peace in Afghanistan. Negotiations on Afghanistan were carried out under Zia’s Government, and the Geneva Accord was signed on April 14, 1988, under which the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw its forces in two installments .The Soviet Government lived up to its commitment of withdrawal of forces according to the agreed timetable.

The victory in Afghanistan was achieved at a great cost to Pakistan. It had to look after and feed more than three million Afghan refugees that had crossed over to Pakistan. The refugees were a great economic burden on Pakistan. Not only this but, they also caused the problem of drugs and gunrunning in the country.

Long after the Soviet forces had left Afghanistan, fighting continued between the various factions of the mujahideen. With the emergence of the Taliban, Pakistan found itself an ally in Afghanistan that enforced peace and virtually eliminated the drug cultivation. After the September 11 tragedy of 2001, world attention again focused on Afghanistan as they considered it as training grounds of terrorists responsible for the tragedy. The Talibans were removed by power and a U. S. led coalition installed an interim government in Afghanistan, which till today keeps a fragile peace in the country. Meanwhile Pakistan continues to suffer numerous problems from the legacy of the Afghan War such as refugees, drugs, guns, crime, and terrorism.

Courtesy:

A great site for history of Pakistan

http://storyofpakistan.com/the-afghan-war-settlement

This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003.

Additional Readings:

2015 UNHCR country operations profile – Pakistan

 

 

 

 

UNHCR 2015 planning figures for Pakistan
Type of population Origin January 2015 December 2015
Total in country Of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country Of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total 2,311,750 2,311,750 2,352,080 2,352,080

 

 

| Overview |

 

 

 

Working environment

  • Pakistan hosts almost 18 million registered Afghan refugees – still the largest protracted refugee population globally. Since 2002, UNHCR has facilitated the return of 3.8 million registered Afghans from Pakistan.

  • Efforts to address the needs of Afghan refugees and their host communities, and to advance durable solutions, are undertaken within the framework of the regional Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR), the tripartite agreement on voluntary repatriation, and the Government of Pakistan’s national policy on Afghan refugees.

  • To complement UNHCR and partners’ international support, the Government of Pakistan has extended Afghan refugees’ Proof of Registration (PoR) cards until the end of 2015, issued birth certificates for 800,000 Afghan refugee children, provided land for several refugee villages, and given refugees access to public schools and health clinics.

  • In August 2014, there were 714,548 registered internally displaced people (IDPs) in need of humanitarian assistance due to the ongoing security operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The North Waziristan emergency has further displaced approximately 500,000 people.

  • The operating environment for humanitarian actors in Pakistan remains volatile, with fragile security, as well as access, social and economic challenges likely to affect humanitarian operations. In order to improve outreach to populations of concern and to build local capacity, UNHCR works closely with local partners and government counterparts.

People of concern

The main groups of people of concern planned for in 2015 under the Pakistan operation include: Afghan refugees, of whom approximately one-third live in refugee villages, and two-thirds in urban and rural host communities; some 7,000 asylum-seekers and individually-recognized refugees from various countries (mostly Afghans), living mainly in urban areas; IDPs, including those relocated by military operations and ethnic/religious conflicts in FATA, and, since the beginning of military operations in June 2014, IDPs from North Waziristan; and three groups presumed to be stateless or at risk of statelessness in Pakistan, namely Bengalis and Biharis, as well as Rohingyas from Myanmar.

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Pakistan’s ailments by Brig (Retd).Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan’s ailments

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan is inflicted with large numbers of diseases and some of the reasons for these afflictions are leadership crisis, feudalism, weak governance, financial mismanagement, rampant corruption and crime, weak judicial system, lack of accountability, non-adherence to rule of law, political polarization, tense civil-military relations, provincialism, lack of nationalism and above all India’s meddlesome role which wants to keep Pakistan politically unstable, economically weak and militarily fragile. These diseases have given rise to religious extremism and terrorism and impeded Pakistan’s progress. Among the ailments, corruption has become cancerous and is contaminating the moral turpitude of the society. In order to control this cancerous disease, our leaders have been making some token efforts but none succeeded in curing it since all went for symptoms and none made any effort to cure it.

PML whose leadership was wholly from India soon got factionalised and lost its shine in 1954 after getting defeated at the hands of Jugto Front in East Pakistan. It made no effort to end feudalism and absentee landlordism and to integrate the society. East-West wrangling over power and security concerns impelled our leaders to accord higher priority to defence over development. To deal with corruption among the politicians, Liaquat Ali Khan introduced PRADA. Ayub Khan enforced EBDO to keep parasitic politicians out of power but couldn’t keep them out for long. Gen Yahya Khan sacked 303 officials to put sense in corrupt bureaucracy but the effort proved elusive. He presided over the breakup of Pakistan into two in 1971. ZA Bhutto sacked large numbers of senior military officers and set up Hamoodur Rahman Commission to probe East Pakistan debacle to rein in military establishment but failed. He created dreaded FSF and opened up Dalai Camp to put fear into the hearts of his political opponents but couldn’t. In his bid to alleviate the poor he inculcated indiscipline in the society. His promotion of secularism antagonized the Islamists and widened Islamic-secular divide.

In his bid to discipline the unruly Jayalas, Gen Ziaul Haq setup Qazi courts and whipped the offenders but it made little difference except for inculcating never ending hatred of the PPP against him. During his tenure religious extremism and sectarianism gathered pace due to seeping in of Kalashnikov and drug cultures from Afghanistan. During Benazir’s two tenures corruption increased. PML-N in its second tenure in 1990s established Ehtesab Bureau to deal with large-scale corruption cases of PPP leaders and affiliated bureaucrats but the judiciary couldn’t convict any. Era of 1990s heightened political polarization. Gen Musharraf formed much trumpeted NAB but soon it gave in to political expediency and NAB became a tool to garner political support and to victimize opponents. His pro-western policies, compromise on Kashmir and promotion of secularism under the garb of enlightened moderation provoked the Islamists and intensified religious extremism.   

Military operation was launched in Sindh by Nawaz in 1992 to deal with dacoits and criminals but it was halted midstream by Nawaz Sharif owing to political expediency. Decision was taken despite knowing that MQM was linked with RAW and recovering Jinnahpur maps and flags from MQM unit offices. This lapse proved very expensive. Another Rangers-Police operation was launched during Benazir’s second tenure in 1995/96 but it too was called off before breaking the back of criminals affiliated with MQM. Besides lack of political will, other reason for failure of the two operations to rid Karachi of criminals was poor performance of the judiciary which let off all arrested criminals for want of evidence. The MQM known to be having an armed wing and involved in heinous crimes since 1984 remained in government in Sindh and in the centre as a coalition partner with PPP and PML-N all along. MQM gained extra ordinary strength during the nine year rule of Gen Musharraf. His worst sin was issuance of infamous NRO in October 2007 essentially meant to cleanse PPP leadership and bring the party back to power. Not only the corrupt leaders of PPP indicted in corruption charges were absolved, 8000 MQM leaders and workers involved in heinous crimes were also pardoned. As a consequence, the MQM in league with PPP wrecked havoc in Sindh during their rule from 2008 till March 2013. RAW in league with MQM and helped by PPP choked the jugular vein to suffocate Pakistan.

Whatever actions taken against corruption in the past were at best cosmetic. No consistent effort was ever put in to root out this evil which has contaminated the moral turpitude of the society as whole. Whatever efforts made were at best aimed at treating the symptoms and not curing the disease. The elites involved in mega corruption were hardly touched. Most were let off after plea bargain. As a result, fascination for corruption kept growing and made individuals and few families dirty rich, emptied national kitty, made the country debt ridden and dependent upon foreign aid, and made the poor poorer. Corruption scaled new heights during PPP-MQM-ANP coalition black rule from March 2008 till March 2013. NAB was made toothless and accountability set aside on the plea of national reconciliation. Loot and plunder became a norm, corruption was institutionalized, merit axed and cronyism promoted. Only those who were adept in mal practices were given key jobs and the honest sidelined. As a consequence, corruption scaled new heights. State corporations became non-productive and railway, PIA and Steel Mills became white elephants. Foreign debts doubled, economy reached the verge of collapse. Pakistan suffered from worst energy crisis and was seen as a failing and irrelevant state. 

The ones rolling in wealth began to finance mafias, terrorists and criminal gangs to further multiply their ill-gotten wealth and protect their political power and clout. Karachi became the major den of these evil practices. Absence of security and justice forced business magnates to migrate to other countries. Karachi, which is the economic hub-centre of Pakistan, began to die a slow economic death. 2013 elections reduced PPP from  national to regional party but still it learnt no lesson and not only retained aged and inept CM Qaim Ali Shah but also continued with its looting spree. Although the MQM remote controlled by Altaf Hussain from London since 1992 lost its blackmailing power for the first time after it was not made a coalition partner in Sindh and in the Centre, it continued with its criminal activities and the Sindh government looked the other way.

It was owing to constantly deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi where the daily toll of deaths at the hands of unknown target killers was 10-15, that intelligence based and Rangers led operation was launched in September 2013 with the blessings of regional political parties. Substantial progress has been achieved by law enforcing agencies in Karachi against terrorists and criminals. Majority of nabbed criminals belong to MQM. Lower tier MQM leaders have disclosed the involvement of their top leadership in terrorism and criminal activities.  Incidents of target killings, kidnappings, extortion street crimes have been radically brought down. RAW agents are being arrested and MQM’s connection with RAW since early 1990s has been established. RAW is deeply entrenched in Sindh and it has of late shifted its base from Afghanistan to coastal belt of Pakistan where it has large numbers of brainwashed Pakistani fishermen who had been caught from the high seas and then released after months of detention and indoctrination. Urban terrorism in Karachi is yet to be fully controlled owing to presence of RAW agents and Rs 230 billion annual financial terrorism spearheaded by PPP and MQM.

While the noose around the neck of MQM has been tightened, the PPP leadership which is part of the problem is yet to be collared. Arrest of some leading lights of PPP particularly Dr Asim, blue-eyed boy of Zardari, involved in corruption and their confessions have brought to light the involvement of higher leadership of PPP in financial terrorism. JIT has collected sufficient evidence, which has rattled PPP leadership. In the wake of impediments created by Sindh government and objections raised on acts of Rangers after the raid on Sindh Control Board, NAB and FIA was married up with Rangers in Sindh and operation accelerated to nab bigwigs involved in corruption and financial terrorism. This move has alarmed Sindh Government and made Asif Zardari, now based in Dubai/London nervous. He first fired his guns against the military but now he is targeting the government. PPP leaders are aping MQM by making hue and cry and are threatening the government of dire consequences. Both the MQM and PPP leaders are wailing as to why their workers/leaders are being arrested on charges of terrorism, criminal acts and corruption and pushed against the wall. They say why only Sindh politicians/officials are being targeted and why not Punjab politicians/officials.      

On one hand corruption is eating into the vitals of the country like termite; terrorism has shaken the foundations of Pakistan. Terrorism is relatively a new phenomenon which was deliberately pushed into Pakistan after 9/11 by scheming foreign powers harboring dangerous designs. Ongoing efforts till recent have remained focused against terrorism while other hazards were looked the other way under the flawed concept of national reconciliation. FATA, Swat and Baluchistan and later on Karachi became the hub of terrorism. Terrorists were financed, equipped and trained by RAW and other anti-Pakistan intelligence agencies as well as local elites. Operation Zarb-e-Azb launched in June 2014 in the wake of terrorist attack on Karachi airport and accelerated after Peshawar School tragedy on December 16, 2014 succeeded in dismantling main base camp of terrorists in North Waziristan. Last toehold of militants in Shawal Valley in Datta Khel district is being cleared. Likewise separatist movement in Balochistan has to a large extent been defused. Abettors and sympathizers of terrorists residing in urban centres are also being taken to task. National Action Plan is gradually being implemented although the progress is slow. External and internal financing has prevented security forces from bottling up terrorism.

Notwithstanding the fact that Pak security forces have dismantled the network, command & control centres, communication network, training grounds of militants in FATA and broken their back, sporadic acts of terror are still taking place since their bases are still active in Kunar, Nuristan and Nangarhar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Absconding Fazlullah and Khalid Khurasani are being fully patronized by Afghan NDS and elements of Afghan Army. Latest attack on Badaber camp was planned by Khurasani. Former President Hamid Karzai and Dr Abdullah who are pro-India are supporting cross border terrorism. President Ashraf Ghani wants to get closer to Pakistan but he is weak since he lacks political roots. After few months of bonhomie, he has started to speak the language of Karzai and Abdullah against Pakistan. India has a big hand in keeping Afghan-Pakistan relations tense. RAW is making frantic efforts to further destabilize troubled regions of Pakistan and to scuttle under-construction China-Pakistan economic corridor since it knows its commissioning will make Pakistan strong and prosperous.It knows that CPEC will defeat Indo-US plan to encircle Pakistan and China and foil establishment of the US Asia pivot. Besides covert operations, India has also heated up the LoC in Kashmir and working boundary in Sialkot sector and has adopted a highly belligerent posture to overawe Pakistan.           

Opposition leader Khurshid Shah is advising the military to focus its attention towards the borders rather than towards the misdoings of political forces. Slogan of ‘democracy is in danger’ is being raised. In simple words, corrupt politicians want a free hand to indulge in mal practices and to promote sham democracy. They are least bothered about India’s aggression along the LoC and Working Boundary or about national interests but are extremely worried that their selfish interests which are in jeopardy. The Army chief wants to expose all faces abetting, harboring, financing and helping the terrorists while the MQM and PPP wanting to hide and protect them as well as their ill-gotten wealth are making concerted efforts to fail the operation or as a minimum slow it down.

The government on the other hand is continuing to follow self-defeating policy of appeasement towards India and has yet to take tangible steps to expose Indian jingoism and terrorism in Pakistan despite having tons of proofs of involvement of RAW in Balochistan and Karachi. For unknown reasons it has been reluctant to take up the case to the UN and to mount a diplomatic and media offensive to expose the ugly face of India. It is high time an astute and seasoned Foreign Minister is appointed. Internally, pressure generated by PPP, MQM as well as PTI is unnerving Nawaz Sharif and he is fearful that political parties are ganging up to de-seat him. Tied to Charter of Democracy with PPP, he wants to terminate Karachi operation before the big fish are netted particularly because of his apprehension that sooner than later the hand of NAB will fall on PML-N as well. After-all, all have been bathing in the same tub. He is finding himself in a fix because of pressure from military establishment and the public both wanting to take Operation Zarb-e-Azb as well as Karachi operation to their logical end. Gen Raheel Sharif has on several occasions expressed his resolve not to rest till complete elimination of terrorism and those promoting it.

Gen Raheel’s growing popularity because of his exemplary personal conduct is another upsetting factor for Nawaz. He has not forgotten his rough experiences with Gen Kakar and Gen Musharraf and cannot altogether rule out repeat of similar action, particularly when the people and vested groups want the Army to takeover and rid the country of multiple diseases. It is now to be seen how long Nawaz will remain firm and aligned with the Army against the PPP and MQM. It is in his interest and Pakistan’s interest to back up the military engaged in battling vermin and foreign paid militants incapacitating Pakistan. Towards this end, the government should make strenuous efforts to operationalise all 20 points of NAP as soon as possible and help the Army in knocking off all obstacles in its way and in catching the big fish to make Karachi peaceful.

Delay in this will benefit the MQM the most, which is busy poisoning the minds of Urdu speaking Karachiites that the operation is Muhajir specific to hand over political power to other communities. There is a need to revisit 18th Amendment particularly after Zardari and Altaf outbursts, both playing Sindhi and Muhajir cards respectively. Either the germs of regionalism and fissiparous tendencies in smaller provinces should be killed by making efforts to integrate the divided society, or else 18th Amendment which is recipe for fragmentation of Pakistan, should be set aside. Steps must be taken to prevent cross border terrorism from Afghan soil. Strategy to pullout regular troops from war on terror must be worked out. Kashmir issue must be highlighted with full force. To effectively counter the internal/external challenges it is important to put own house in order, gear up accountability process and keep civil-military relations harmonious.

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors TFP. asifharoonraja@gmail.com         

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Paradigm shift in regional scenario by Brig (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Paradigm shift in regional scenario

Asif Haroon Raja

 

Eurasia-sketch

 

Pakistan and Afghanistan have traditionally had a complicated relationship characterized by mutual suspicion. Northern Alliance heavy Afghan regime under Hamid Karzai had remained heavily tilted towards India and had not only given high preference to India in her internal and external matters but also had adopted a hostile policy towards Pakistan. With the blessing of Washington, Karzai had given full liberty of action to India to emerge as the key country in Afghanistan and to fill up the security vacuum after withdrawal of ISAF. After signing strategic partnership agreement with India, Karzai allowed Indian military to train Afghan Army officers in their military institutions and meet Afghanistan’s defence needs. India took advantage of it and besides consolidating her hold in Afghanistan; she made full use of Afghan soil to foment insurgencies in FATA and Balochistan. India was content that this arrangement would continue under weak unity regime as well because of Dr. Abdullah. In 2014, a stage was being set to induct Indian military into Afghanistan. The US-India-Karzai led Afghan regime remained a close-knit team and remained focused towards destabilization of Pakistan. Equilibrium between the three strategic partners remained steadfast for 13 years, but with Ashraf Ghani taking over power, and the US military quitting Afghanistan after failing to defeat the Taliban, the balance got disturbed and gave birth to new equation in November 2014. Pakistan, which remained the whipping boy all these years, has replaced the most favored India. Suspicion and distrust piled up for over a decade has been replaced with goodwill, cooperation and sharing. Blame-game has almost ceased and the gap in trust bridged in the wake of ominous threats from the Taliban and other armed militant groups. China, Kabul and Washington seem to have put their faith in Gen Raheel Sharif and see him as the sole silver lining in the otherwise dark horizon. The trio is looking towards Pakistan Army to help in defeating terrorism and bringing peace in war torn region. Pakistan has long been blamed for harboring and abetting Haqqani network (HN) in its cross-border terrorism. Pakistan military had its own socio-politico-security compulsions to maintain a difference between good and bad Taliban and to target anti-Pakistan militants only. These compulsions restrained Pakistan from launching a military operation in North Waziristan (NW). The concerns were however pushed aside after the gruesome attack on Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2016. A change in the outlook of new National Unity Regime under President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Dr. Abdullah and also in the thinking of Washington towards Pakistan has occurred essentially because of the across-the-board military operation in NW in which all militant groups based in NW were targeted. Uprooting of HN and Gul Bahadur groups from NW and comprehensive briefings given by Gen Raheel Sharif in GHQ to visiting President Ghani and his military team led by ANA chief Gen Sher M. Karimi, to ISAF Commander Gen Campbell, to US military officials in Pentagon and to British top officials made the difference. The other reason of extension of whole-hearted cooperation by Kabul is Pakistan’s declared stance that it has no favorites and that it would fully support Afghan led/owned reconciliation process. One more reason is Pakistan’s relatively better clout over Taliban and its critical support in a patch up. More so, it has been accepted by all and sundry that Pak Army is the only one which can fight and win battles against ideologically motivated militants. In order to reciprocate Pakistan’s laudable efforts in war on terror, while the US declared Mullah Fazlullah as the global terrorist, ANA launched an operation in Kunar against Fazlullah’s men. Five culprits having linkage with Peshawar incident have been arrested on the pointing of ISI. ANA managed to destroy some hideouts and inflicted casualties on TTP men but in the process lost over fifty soldiers. CIA operated drones are at times targeting militant hideouts in inaccessible areas in Shawal Range and along Pak-Afghan border. Both the US and China look positively and receptively towards the fast growing relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan and see it as a healthy development. While China has agreed to take active part in bringing peace in Afghanistan, the US has finally acknowledged the importance of Pakistan and is cooperating. Pak-US relations that were downhill are once again moving uphill. At the recently concluded Beijing Conference Ashraf Ghani defined five circles manifesting Afghanistan’s future foreign policy. He placed Pakistan in Ist circle (immediate six neighbors) and 2nd circle (Islamic World) and India in 4th circle (Asia). This is indeed a huge shift in thinking of Afghan leadership. What it implies is that Afghan top leadership has consented to prefer Pakistan over India. For a change, the US has readily reconciled with changed priorities of new regime without any ifs and buts. Kabul dropped another bombshell on India by declining her military aid and training assistance, and to rub salt on her wounds asked Pakistan to train Afghan officers. For the first time 16 Afghan cadets are receiving training in PMA Kakul. To add to India’s woes, Ghani made it clear that he will not allow Afghan soil for proxy war against any neighbor. He further distressed India by inviting Pakistan to host the next ‘Heart of Asia’ Conference, which earlier on was scheduled to be hosted by India. Pakistan’s reservations on use of its trade route by India from Wagah to Afghanistan have been accepted by Afghanistan, USA and China. On the military front, bilateral visits of senior military leaders and top intelligence personnel have recently increased. Gen Raheel and Corps Commanders 11 Corps and Southern Command undertook trips to Kabul. DG ISI Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar visited Kabul thrice. Militaries and intelligence agencies of both sides are carrying out intimate coordination to manage the porous border, training matters, intelligence sharing and also taking care of each other’s security concerns. Military commanders and security officials are now regularly consulting to mutually share intelligence and coordinate security operations. Joint border control centres at Torkham and Spin Boldak have been revived to coordinate operations against the militants and share intelligence on illegal cross-border movement. The US has reconciled to the emerging changes in Afghanistan not by choice but because it has been forced by circumstances. To compensate its natural ally and strategic partner India, Obama undertook a second trip to India and skipped Pakistan. Besides removing the irritants in Indo-US nuclear agreement signed in 2008, and signing another 10 year defence pact, the visitor made the old promise of helping India to earn a permanent berth in UNSC and also elbowed India to become a leading partner in Asia-Pacific Coalition to counter China. Following conclusions can be drawn from the emerging scenario:- • Afghanistan and its immediate neighbors have come on one page to establish regional peace and usher in prosperity in this war torn region and to keep out chief trouble maker India. • Pakistan’s foreign policy has come out of its traditional apologetic and defensive policy and Gen Raheel Sharif has played a key role in making it slightly pro-active by showing the real face of India to governments of Afghanistan, US and UK. • Although Pakistan has been preferred over India by Ashraf Ghani, India which by now has penetrated in every department of Afghanistan including Army and intelligence agencies will continue with its dirty work of keeping Pak-Afghan relations tense in pursuit of its regional ambitions. • Irrespective of the US apparent affability towards Pakistan, India will continue to remain its strategic partner and Pakistan a tactical partner to serve its short term goals. • Genuine peace in Afghanistan will return once all foreign troops go home, Indian interference is curtailed, and Taliban agree to share power.

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

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US imposed war now our own war by Brig Gen(R) Asif Haroon Raja

US imposed war now our own war

Pakistan is burning in the flames of war on terror since 2003. Fratricidal war has claimed 55, 973 human lives and the numbers of injured run into hundreds of thousands. This appalling figure of casualties owing to over 5000 bomb blasts, hundreds of suicide and terrorist attacks surpasses the total fatalities suffered in the 1948, 1965 and 1971 wars and local conflicts with India. While wars/conflicts with India were of very short duration, this war is being continuously fought for over a decade and still there are no signs of its termination. It has given birth to more than 60 terrorist groups and all have married up to fight the security forces and cause harm to Pakistan. The war has caused Pakistan an economic loss of over $80 billion while the social trauma suffered by the people is incalculable.
The war on terror was started by the US and its allies in Afghanistan in October 2001 but was treacherously shifted into Pakistan. The ISAF comprising military contingents from over 40 countries handed over the security to 350,000 strong Afghan Army and Police, trained and equipped by the US and British military trainers on December 28, 2014. Although ‘Operation Endurance’ has come to a humiliating end since it failed to achieve any of the stated objectives, the US has announced launching a fresh operation codenamed ‘Resolute’ from 01 January 2015 onwards with the help of Afghan security forces backed by 12000 residual force stationed in 8 military bases. This force is likely to stay on till end 2016 in accordance with Bilateral Security Agreement and in return the US and its allies would provide $8 billion economic/military assistance annually to bolster Ashraf Ghani’s not so stable regime and to keep Taliban out of power if they refuse to share power.
This step has been taken grudgingly in the backdrop of the wide scale criticism the US had to face on account of abandoning Afghanistan in 1989 in haste after all its objectives were achieved by the Afghan Mujahideen assisted by Pakistan. Leaving them in a lurch without forming a broad based interim government and helping in reconstruction of devastated country resulted in bloody internecine war between various Mujahideen groups in Afghanistan. It is generally opined that but for the US blunder, Afghanistan may have become a peaceful and prosperous country. This great betrayal bred frustration, resentment, anger and hatred against USA.
Bloody civil war from 1990 to 1994 gave rise to war lordism, religious extremism and also gave birth to Al-Qaeda under Osama bin Laden, who was the blue-eyed boy of CIA during Afghan Jihad. Although the Taliban stabilized the country after taking over in 1996, but the fallout effects of the nine-year war and the instability of the civil war in Afghanistan was entirely borne by Pakistan. Presence of over three million Afghan refugees added to the socio-economic burden and security problems. The democratic era from October 1988 till October 1999 remained enmeshed in internal squabbles and paid little heed to control arms smuggling, drug peddling and sectarianism duly propped up by Saudi Arabia and Iran. Economic sanctions levied by the US in 1990 had also impacted the democratic rule. When PML-N government started to deliver by dealing with sectarian threat firmly, it was axed by Gen Musharraf on October 11, 1999.
9/11 changed the geopolitics of the world. The whole focus shifted towards terrorism and Pakistan was sucked into the GWOT. After occupying Afghanistan with the help of Pakistan, the US and its strategic allies cleverly shifted the direction of terrorism towards Pakistan under a calculated program. To start with FATA which was peaceful was made restive by forcing Pakistan to break the 1948 Agreement with the tribesmen by sending regular troops into South Waziristan. Insurgency was then ignited in Balochistan which was also peaceful. Nawabs of Bugti, Marri and Mengal tribes readily agreed to play the foreign game.  KP and other parts of Pakistan were subsequently made turbulent.
Whereas Pakistan was made an ally to fight GWOT in return for monetary benefits, in actuality it was a target. Pakistan was on the hit-list of India, Israel and USA after it had conducted nuclear tests in May 1988 to neutralize Indian nuclear belligerence. In fact, India considers Pakistan a thorn in its flesh. Reason of its undiminished animus is Pakistan’s principled stand to maintain good neighborly relations based on equality and refusal to accept Indian hegemony. India also resents Pakistan’s stance on disputed Kashmir, which it foolishly claims to be its integral part. Armed freedom movement in occupied Kashmir since 1989 keeps Indian leaders scared. They keep devising Chankyan strategies to maintain illegal control over occupied Kashmir. They also resort to lies and engineer false flag operations to keep Pakistan on the defensive.
indianconsulatesinafghansitan1Ever since India became a strategic partner of the US, Indian leaders have been constantly whispering into the ears of US leaders that Pakistan is abetting and aiding terrorism in Kashmir and that it should be declared a terrorist state and Kashmiri fighters seeking right of self-determination as terrorists. New laws framed on terrorism after 9/11 provided an opportunity to India to paint Kashmiri freedom movement as terrorism and to project Pakistan military/ISI as abettors of cross border terrorism.
Installation of India friendly regime under Hamid Karzai in Kabul by the US made it easy for India to undertake covert war against Pakistan from Afghan soil at a massive level. RAW duly beefed up by 17 Indian intelligence units, four Consulates and Embassy was backed by CIA, Mossad, MI-6, BND, Afghan government/intelligence to destabilize, denuclearize, de-Islamize and balkanize Pakistan. Biggest intelligence centre was set up at Sehra Neward north of Kabul where heads of six intelligence agencies sat under one roof to cook up plans to undermine Pakistan, Russia, China, Iran, Middle East and also to gain influence over resource rich Central Asian region. Ironically, ISI was excluded although Pakistan is immediate neighbor of Afghanistan and was nominated as front line state. 
RAW was made the overall in-charge to conduct clandestine war against Pakistan because of the expertise it had gained in 1971 East Pakistan insurgency, Balochistan insurgency in 1970s and sabotage/subversion in Pakistan in 1980s. RAW had a hand in training militant wing of MQM and Al-Zulfiqar. TTP in FATA, BLA, BRA and BLF in Balochistan were raised, funded, equipped and trained by foreign agencies to achieve their sinister objectives. RAW established 70 training camps in Afghanistan along Pak-Afghan border. It also helped Baloch insurgents in establishing over 60 Farari camps in interior Balochistan.
In FATA, CIA and FBI established outposts on the pretext of nabbing al-Qaeda runaways. On the quiet the two agencies established an outfit called Spider Web, whose task was to kill all pro-Pakistan Maliks, elders and clerics, shunt out civil administration and create space for anti-Pakistan TTP to take control over FATA. Over 400 were gunned down. ISI was pushed to the back seat and intelligence acquisition and dissemination taken over by CIA. Even immigration on airports in major cities was taken over by FBI. In 2008, Blackwater got established in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi. It became easier for RAW to outsource this outfit for performing its dirty works. While Kerry Lugar Bill facilitated large numbers of NGOs with a precise agenda to step in, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington Husain Haqqani helped thousands of CIA agents and Special Operation operatives to sneak in without ISI clearance in 2010-11.
On one hand trained and well equipped terrorists were launched to create chaos and fear in Pakistan and also hit specified targets like GHQ, ISI set ups, PC-3 Orion, AWACs, airports, on the other hand Pak Army was belittled and accused of being either complicit or not doing enough. Pakistan was repeatedly told by the US to do more and India and Afghanistan joined the chorus. To make their coercive tactics more biting, an orchestrated defamation campaign was launched by Indo-US-western-Israeli media. Pakistan was dubbed as nursery of terrorism, most dangerous place in the world and a failing state. Its nuclear program was censured on the plea that it was vulnerable to fall into wrong hands because of lack of security. Idea behind multi-pronged bashing was to exhaust Pakistan socially, politically, economically and militarily, make it vulnerable to Indian aggression and force Islamabad to abandon its nuclear program in return for survival. India’s war terrorism is also part of the overall scheme to make Pakistan subservient.      
This discriminatory attitude against an ally which had put the security of the state at stake to fight the US dictated war on its own territory and against its own people and had sacrificed the most was most unfortunate. To rub salt in Pakistan’s wounds, the US continued to bestow India with all possible goodies despite the fact that it didn’t contribute a single soldier in the GWOT and created problems for ISAF. Likewise, the US continued to support highly corrupt, inept and unpopular regime of Karzai for 13 years.
Once the stark reality dawned upon the US leadership in December 2010 that ISAF was in no position to win the war and defeat was inevitable, it not only declared its drawdown plan starting July 2011 and ending in December 2014, but also established secret contacts with Taliban to arrive at a political settlement and ensure safe exit. This effort failed because of Karzai’s fickleness and US lack of sincerity. Pentagon didn’t like Obama’s decision and started selling a fake story that Taliban had been pushed on the back foot and sooner than later the pendulum would swing in ISAF’s favor. To hide its failings, Pakistan was chosen as the scapegoat and all its failings put in Pakistan’s basket. It was in this context that intense pressure was put on Pakistan to launch a major operation in North Waziristan. When Pakistan didn’t comply, it was punished by undertaking false flag operation in Abbottabad in May 2011 and then a revengeful attack on Salala border posts in November that year.  
Unlike Soviet forces which withdrew under Geneva Accord, ISAF troops have withdrawn without an agreement and leaving everything in a state of flux. Unlike Pak military’s brilliant successes against foreign supported militants in FATA and in Balochistan, the ISAF together with ANSF couldn’t achieve single battle victory against Afghan Taliban despite two troop surges and huge resources. Pakistan and not ISAF broke the back of Al-Qaeda by nabbing 600 of its leaders/operatives. All the societal vices that were doctored by Taliban during their five year rule under insalubrious circumstances have reappeared in a big way and Afghanistan has become the biggest narcotic state in the world. Despite investing $1.4 trillion, Afghanistan continues to grind in poverty and suffer from women disempowerment, illiteracy, corruption and insecurity. 65% Americans feel the war was needless.
While the US-NATO has lost the war, Pak Army under the valiant leadership of Gen Raheel Shareef has taken up the gauntlet to root out all manifestations of extremism and terrorism from Pakistan no matter what the cost. He has stated that losing war on terror is not an option. The Army had remained handicapped because of lack of political will, failure of civilian administration to take over secured areas, too many flaws in investigative and criminal justice system to prosecute and convict terrorists, ban on hanging, heavily politicized police, unproductive dharnas and above all foreign interference. Peshawar tragedy in which 132 children were martyred by fiends has galvanized the whole nation. Moratorium on hanging has been lifted and few terrorists hanged. Political/religious leaders stand behind the Army and have resolved to collectively fight the menace. Unanimously agreed upon 20-point Action Plan has been devised and committees formed to monitor progress. Despite initial reservations, all have agreed to amend the constitution and set up special military courts for 2 years to ensure speedy justice. These are need of the nation and not that of Army. Happily, Kabul has come on board and is willing to fully cooperate in fighting terrorism.  
To ensure 100% results, all concerned will have to perform on war footing. Politicians will have to display greater maturity and become role models by changing their lifestyle. Bureaucracy should shun its lethargic way of sitting over files and creating unnecessary impediments. The judiciary must come out of its hibernation and carryout in-house refurbishment to deliver evenhanded, cheap and speedy justice to all. The media should change its course and show greater patriotism and sense of responsibility. Civil administration should play its part more efficiently and honestly. Ulema and Mashaikhs should strive to bridge the religious divides. Academic circles must guide the youth towards productive channels and inculcating in them sense of nationalism. Last but not least, grievances of the have-nots must be addressed on priority.      
The writer is retired Brig, war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre, Member oard of Directors TFP. asifharoonraja@gmail.com                   

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