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Archive for February, 2016

India’s Offensive-Defensive Doctrine By Sajjad Shaukat

 

India’s Offensive-Defensive Doctrine

By Sajjad Shaukat

Since the leader of the ruling party BJP Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India, various developments like unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism, persecution of minorities, forced conversions of other religious minorities into Hindus, ban on beef and cow slaughter, inclusion of Hindu religious books in curriculum, creation of war-like situation with Pakistan, unprovoked firing at the Line of Control in Kashmir and Working Boundary across Pak-Indian border clearly show that encouraged by the fundamentalist rulers, Hindu extremist outfits such as BJP, RSS VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena including other similar parties have been promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism in India by propagating ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) which has become genesis of India’s offensive-defensive doctrine.

 

As part of its offensive-defensive doctrine, New Delhi is destabilizing Afghanistan—all regional states, while its major focus has always been towards Pakistan, a policy of weakening Pakistan. In this regard, double game is particularly part of India’s offensive-defensive doctrine.

 

In fact, Ajit Doval, the ex-spymaster who is now National Security Advisor of Indian Prime Minister Modi is the real author and controller of India’s offensive-defensive doctrine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is notable that on January, 20, this year, at least 21 persons were killed at Bacha Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkha’s Charsadda town, when heavily-armed terrorists of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) entered the university and opened fire on them. Reliable sources disclosed that Indian consulate located in Jalalabad, Afghanistan played a key role in targeting the Bacha Khan University. The operatives of the Indian secret agency, RAW in connivance with Rahmatullah Nabil, the former director of Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah planned this assault. Indian consulate gave rupees 3 million to the Talban commander to arrange this brutal act at the university. Ajit Doval directed this attack.

 

While, the Army Public School Peshawar—carnage incident resulted in killing of more than 140 children. It was also carried out by Ajit Doval’s stooges in connivance with the TTP, as he is fond of manipulating radicalized proxies.

 

In order to implement Indian offensive-defensive doctrine, Ajit Doval also advise to arrange various terror attacks and to shift the blame game to Pakistan. In this respect, on January 2, this year, a terror attack at Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot was preplanned under his directions. Without any investigation and evidence, since the first day of the incident, Indian media and top civil and military officials claimed that the attackers had arrived from Pakistani Punjab’s Bahawalpur district, and had links with Jaish-e-Mohammad and Pakistan’s primary intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). But, despite Islamabad’s cooperation in the joint investigation, New Delhi failed in providing any proof of Pakistan’s involvement in the Pathankot incident. India orchestrated that drama to postpone secretary-level talks with Pakistan, scheduled to be held in Islamabad on January 15, 2016.

 

Nevertheless, India is not serious in advancing Pak-India dialogue process, agreed upon between the two countries during Indian Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to Pakistan. Under the cover of Pathankot episode, New Delhi wanted to postpone the secretary-level parleys as part of its delaying tactics in settling various issues, especially the Kashmir dispute with Islamabad.

 

As mater of fact, like other past episodes, as part of Doval’s offensive-defensive doctrine, Indian intelligence agencies, especially RAW have themselves arranged terror attacks at the Pathankot airbase including some other terror incidents to fulfil a number of anti-Pakistan designs.

 

As regards the case of cross-border terrorism, India has shown ambivalent approach which can be judged from some other developments. In this connection, on July 27, 2015, three gunmen dressed in army uniforms killed at least seven people, including three civilians and four policemen in the Indian district of Gurdaspur, Punjab. Without any investigation, Indian high officials and media started accusing Pakistan, its banned militant outfits and intelligence agencies for the Gurdaspur incident. Indian Police remarked that the attackers were from Indian-held Kashmir, and some said that they were Sikh separatists, while Indian Punjab police chief claimed that the three gunmen were Muslim, but as yet unidentified. Contradicting speculations, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament that the gunmen came from Pakistan.

 

Khalistan Movement Chief Manmohan Singh stated that the Gurdaspur incident is “a conspiracy of Indian secret agency RAW to defame Pakistan.”

 

Notably, on December 31, 2014, prior to the US President Obama’s second visit to New Delhi, Indian intelligence agencies orchestrated a boat drama to defame Pakistan, allegedly reporting that a Pakistani fishing boat as a Pakistan-based outfit group Lashkar-e-Taiba was intercepted by Indian Coast Guards, off the coast of Porebandar, Gujarat. And Indian Coast Guard crew set the boat on fire and it exploded. The Indian government had claimed that it had foiled another 26/11-type attack of Mumbai. But, its reality exposed Indian terrorism, when some Indian high officials admitted that there was no such boat which came from Pakistan.

 

As regards Afghanistan, India is playing a double game in accordance with the offensive-defensive doctrine of Ajit Doval. RAW has well-established its network in Afghanistan and is in connivance with the TTP and Islamic State group (ISIS or Daesh). On January 13, 2015, at least seven personal of the Afghan security forces died during the suicide attack which targeted the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad. ISIS claimed responsibility for the terror assault.

 

The attack, which coincided with efforts to restart the stalled peace process with Taliban insurgents and ease diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan, added a dangerous new element to Afghanistan’s volatile security mix. In this context, delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States had met to try to resurrect efforts to end nearly 15 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan. However, we need to know the real peace disruptors in Afghanistan.

 

In this respect, in the recent past, cordial relations were established between Pakistan and Afghanistan when Afghan President Ghani had realized that Afghanistan and Pakistan were facing similar challenges of terrorism and would combat this threat collectively.

While, it is misfortune that on direction of New Delhi and like the former regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s present rulers have also started accusing Pakistan of cross-border terrorism. In this context, after hours of the Taliban captured Kunduz city, on September 28, 2015, during his address to the UNO General Assembly, Afghanistan’s chief executive Abdullah Abdullah blamed Islamabad for carrying out cross-border attacks and destabilizing Afghanistan.

 

Differences exist between chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and President Ashraf Ghani, as the former wants cordial relations with New Delhi at the cost of Afghanistan and the latter prefers Islamabad, because Pak-Afghan stability is interrelated.

 

It is mentionable that on December 10, President Ghani accepted the resignation of Rahmatullah Nabil as director of the Afghan intelligence agency, NDS, after developing differences of the spymaster with him over Ghani’s move to attend the regional conference in Islamabad.

 

And Prime Minister Sharif and President Ghani also showed their determination that their countries would cooperate in fighting the threat of ISIS.

 

As the US is playing double game with Islamabad, because it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World, which irritates America and Israel. Hence, secret agents of American CIA, Israeli Mossad and Indian RAW which are well-penetrated in ISIS are making efforts to weaken Tibetan regions of China, Iran and especially Pakistan’s province of Balochistan by arranging the subversive activities, promoting acrimonious sense of dissent, political volatility, sectarian violence and arousing sentiments of separatism.

 

Here, it is of particular attention that the foreign-backed Baloch separatist leader, Manan Baloch, the secretary general of the Baloch National Movement and number 2 of the Balochistan Liberation Front was killed by the security forces on January 30, 2016. It is a great achievement, as on the directions of his external handlers, Manan was criticizing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and was provoking the Baloch people against this agreement.

 

Again, in case of Afghanistan, there are several groups of Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Taliban like the TTP. Some of them are being used by secret agencies like CIA, Mossad and RAW to obtain the collective and individual designs of their countries against Pakistan and Middle Eastern countries. India and Israel which want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan which have become the center of covert activities, are exploiting their dual policy, especially of America against Pakistan, China and Iran. Particularly, terrorists of TTP which are strategic assets of the CIA, RAW and Mossad have claimed responsibility for several terror attacks inside Pakistan, including the recent ones in Balochistan, Karachi and in Afghanistan.

 

In fact, in collusion with Afghanistan’s NDS, particularly, RAW has set up its secret network in Afghanistan, and is fully assisting cross-border incursions and terror-activities in various regions of Pakistan through Baloch separatist elements and anti-Pakistan groups like Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundullah (God’s soldiers) and TTP.

 

It is an undeniable fact that Ajit Doval’s cronies are creating law and order problems in Balochistan. Doval in his recent lecture clearly threatened that Islamabad will lose Balochistan—a video is a clear confession by India that it is behind the separatists in the province of Balochistan and has a huge network of its operatives against the state of Pakistan.

 

Particularly, Indian nexus with TTP leaders like Hakimullah Masood and Mulla Fazalullah has been proved by the recent revelation of the TTP militant Latifullah Mahsood regarding the incident of Army Public School Peshawar and exploitation of Baloch sub-nationalists. It has also exposed Ajeet Doval’s offensive-defensive doctrine—anti-Pakistan statements of India’s BJP leadership, while pointing out that New Delhi is the main spoiler of peace in Afghanistan, and is still manipulating the militants of TTP, ISIS, ETIM etc. against Pakistan, China and Afghanistan.

 

It is misfortune that with the start of 2016, frequency of terrorist incidents has increased manifold in Afghanistan, indicating the frustration of the spoiler (India), after her proxies were uprooted from Pakistani soil. Moreover, Afghan people also feel wary of protracted proxy warfare, strife and lawlessness in their country and are desirous for peace. But, India does not want it.

 

Besides, Indian media has created frenzy and volley of allegations against Pakistan. It is a true reflection of Indian establishment and Hindu mindset which are intolerant to any improvement in the bilateral relations between both neighboring countries.

 

Nonetheless, if not checked in time by the US-led western powers, India’s offensive-defensive doctrine will destabilize Pakistan and Afghanistan including the whole region, jeopardizing the political and economic interests of America and NATO countries which demand stability and peace in the region.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

 

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Nawaz Sharif Corruption: The 13 Billion $ dollar scam Effects of LNG

 

 

 

 

Nawaz Sharif Corruption: The 13 Billion $ dollar scam Effects of LNG

 
 

Dr Mubashir Hussain

It appears that the PML-N government is either unwilling or incapable of learning from past errors. The decision to sign a Long Term Sale agreement (LSA) with Qatar is egregious and exposes Pakistan to exactly the same risks that the Benazir government affected when she signed the IPP contracts in 1994 under the advice of USAID, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. It seems that the avarice of our rulers remains unchanged.

At that time, in 1994, the price of oil was $18/barrel and the rupee was at 28/$. The agreed price of furnace oil was fixed at Rs5,000/tonne with any escalation as a pass through item giving an electricity unit rate at Rs1.8/unit. By 2007 the price of oil was $120/barrel and the rupee was 100/$, the price of furnace oil increased fifteen fold to Rs75,000/tonne and price of electricity shot to Rs20/unit. As this was unaffordable to most Pakistanis it led to the government subsidising it – resulting in the infamous circular debt and pernicious loadshedding.

By relying on expensive imported fuel, the new LNG deal falls into exactly the same trap. At the agreed price of 13.3 percent of the price of the current price of Brent of $30/barrel, the gas rate works out to be $6/MMBTU. However, if you include all the fuel, port and tolling charges the power rate would be approximately Rs6/unit. But what will happen in a few years or so when, as expected, the price of Brent oil climbs to $100/barrel once the supply and demand for oil is matched (Saudi King Salman is visiting Russia in mid-March to negotiate just that), and the rupee depreciates to 200/$ as may well happen given our rulers predilection for binge borrowing, simultaneously with declining exports. The LNG rate will then be $15/MMBTU and the price of electricity an unaffordable Rs22/unit. But as the LSA is a take or pay we will still be obliged to purchase this unaffordable fuel, just as Wapda was obligated to purchase unaffordable power for oil fired IPPs.

By all accounts there is a gas price war going on. The price of Russian gas in Europe as per the TTF index has declined to an all-time low of $3.3/MMBTU in France and Holland, while the in the US which has been recently allowed export of LNG, the price of gas based on the Henry Hub index is $2/MMBTU (by comparison Pakistan is paying $6/MMBTU for its imported gas).

Even a sophisticated economy like Japan never entered into a Long Sale Agreement for LNG. Instead, it had short-term agreements while it sorted out a long-term energy solution. The PML-N government should have done the same and entered into a three-year agreement or even bought the cargo on the spot market until it sorted out a long-term solution.

 

LNG can only be an interim solution, because in the long run it can never compete with piped gas. LNG costs almost $2.5/MMBTU to liquefy, transport and re-gassify. At current prices these charges are almost as much as the price of the gas itself. That is why American LNG can never compete with Russian gas in Europe. Besides why is there an obsession to install power stations in Punjab when the most suitable location would be nearer the source of the fuel – in this case, Balochistan? Z A Bhutto’s government built the first thermal power station at Guddu, the location closest to Sui with access to cooling water.

 

The LNG Rogues

 

 

 

If the government was hell-bent on relying on imported fuel, then the most viable alternative was the Iran pipeline. Iran has already offered us this gas at $3/MMBTU (although, for sure we could have negotiated an even better deal). As Iran has already built the pipeline to its border, if a power station were installed in Gwadar or Jiwani where there is access to cooling water, the cost per unit of electricity would not have been more than Rs3.8/unit or almost half of what it costs for imported LNG. Iran can only export gas by pipeline through Turkey or Pakistan, and its exports via Turkey compete with cheap Russian gas. Piped gas is not indexed to Brent and therefore its long-term prices can be better managed. The hurry to sign a $15 billion contract for imported LNG with Qatar just as the sanctions on Iran were lifted is perplexing.

Pakistan has a parliament but its members were either not aware of the facts or chose to stay silent. The entire deal raises serious questions. For example, Qatar only agreed to lower its price after an independent supplier Gunvor quoted a lower price. Further, why was the minimum off take increased from 1.5 million mtpa to 3.75 mtpa, burdening our economy even more? This is normally only done when the deal amount and associated commission is fixed, so if the price decreases the off-take increases proportionately.

The government should stop the false propaganda that LNG will save $1 billion per year. This is as cynical as it is untruthful. In fact for 4,000MW of power as compared with Iranian gas, LNG imported from Qatar will cost the country an extra $800 million per year or $13 billion over a fifteen-year period.

As someone wrote, we seem to exist solely to protect entrenched privileges and continue transference of the country’s resources to the global elite. For our citizens we cannot guarantee social progress, security, decent education, access to healthcare, the opportunity for useful employment or a debt-free life.

The writer is a former federal minister. Email: mh1@ lhr.comsats.net.pk

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Why Illegal PM Nawaz Sharif is Angry with National Accountability Bureau?

1- Jinnah vs Nawaz (1)

 

 

 

 

 

Why PM is Angry from #NAB

 

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Evolving Afghan Dynamics & Bearing on Pakistan by Brig Gen(Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

RAW-blog.jpg

RAW-blog.jpg

 

 

Evolving Afghan Dynamics & Bearing on Pakistan

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

 

 

General

 

Afghanistan is connected with South Asia, Middle East and Central Asia. It

shares 1400 km border with Pakistan and its 42% of Afghan Pashtuns share

religious, ethnic, linguistic and cultural ties with 15.2 million Pakistani

Pashtuns. Pashtuns living in close vicinity of Durand Line have blood relations

and the border has never acted as a barrier in their cross border movement.

Pashtuns from both sides have been jointly fighting all foreign invaders and are doing

so even now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

... To Assassinate Nawaz Sharif And Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Claims Pakistan... To Assassinate Nawaz Sharif And Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Claims Pakistan... To Assassinate Nawaz Sharif And Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Claims Pakistan

 

Afghanistan has traditionally remained friendly to distant neighbor India and

unsympathetic to next door Pakistan since 1947. It opposed Pakistan’s membership in

the UN, laid claim on Pakhtun populated areas of Pakistan and raised the stunt of

Pakhtunistan, and also questioned the validity of Durand Line. It has been off and on

carrying out border violations and has been giving shelter to Baloch rebels. The only

time it was friendly with Pakistan and unfriendly with India was during the five-year rule

of Taliban from 1996 till 2001, but the Taliban also refused to recognize Durand Line

and laid claims on Mohmand agency.

Pakistan-Afghanistan relationship has been a prey to differing interests. The two have

never been at ease with each other and deep doubts have persisted in bilateral ties.

Pakistan has never exploited its vulnerability of being land-locked and has considered it

as its natural ally. It played a key role in pushing out Soviet forces from Afghanistan

and has been hosting over 3 million Afghan refugees since 1979. But its wish for a

friendly government in Kabul has never materialized. Pakistan has behaved maturely

despite Afghanistan’s provocations and extended all kinds of support.

Incident of 9/11 Blown up. 9/11 was projected as the biggest catastrophe ever

happened and Al-Qaeda blamed for the vile act. Whole world shed tears of sympathy

and condemned the perpetrators against whom no proofs had been gathered. Force

mobilized to invade the most impoverished, war torn and sanctioned country far

exceeded the threat. Afghanistan was encircled by establishing military bases in

Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north, making Pakistan a coalition

partner and frontline state, taking China, Russia, Iran and Arab world on board and

obtaining UN approval. India offered all out support. War was justified to fight terrorism

but terrorism was never defined. 

US Stated Objectives. The US stated objectives of invasion of Afghanistan included:

Rooting out terrorism by killing/capturing Osama bin Laden, disrupting, defeating and

eliminating Al-Qaeda network; destroying Taliban or making them ineffective;

democratization of Afghanistan; empowerment of women. 

US Hidden Objectives. The hidden objectives were to assert American dominance in

the regions surrounded by energy-rich Eurasian region, consolidate Afghanistan as a

neo-colonial US protectorate and a staging post for further intrigues in Central/South

Asia, Middle East, contain China, make India bulwark against China, a key player in

Afghanistan, and stem resurgence of Russia.

Pakistan Specific Objectives.

Initially befriend Pakistan to occupy Afghanistan.

Later, work towards destabilization, de-Islamisation, denuclearization, and

balkanization of Pakistan and making it a vassal state of India.

Installation of Puppet Regime.

Drums of victory were beaten in November 2001

and a puppet regime of Northern Alliance under Hamid Karzai installed in Kabul. During

his over 13 years rule, Karzai allowed the occupiers to ruthlessly persecute the Afghan

Pashtuns. He adopted pro-India and anti-Pakistan stance and permitted Afghan

intelligence agency (NDS) grouped with five foreign agencies to use Afghan soil for

undertaking massive covert war against Pakistan in FATA and Baluchistan.  

Resistance War by Taliban. Taliban regime under Mulla Omer was wrongly removed

from power and then consistently hounded and oppressed. The Taliban after carrying

out a tactical withdrawal to regroup, started guerrilla war to free their homeland from

foreign occupation. No amount of force could break the indomitable will of Afghan

Taliban or divide them. By 2008, resistance forces were running shadow governments

in 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces with core fighters of about 30,000 and potential

fighters 500,000. ISAF suffered heaviest casualties in 2009 and there on, number kept

increasing. 2015 was the most costly year for Afghan forces and the people.

Stalemate – Victory of Taliban

Failing to defeat the Taliban in the longest war after spending billions of dollars and

using excessive force/torture as well as underhand tricks to divide the Taliban, the US

was left with no other option but to call it a day. Operation Enduring Freedom which

commenced on 07 October 2001, ended on December 28, 2014 and Armies of 35

countries exited without achieving any of the stated and hidden objectives. Learning a

lesson from its unwise decision of abandoning Afghanistan in 1989, the US has left

behind a Resolute Force Group of 12000 under Bilateral Security Agreement till end

2016 to give heart to Afghan forces.

Stalemate was victory for Taliban since Taliban could continue fighting and occupiers

could not. Unlike in 1980s when the Afghan Mujahedeen fought and defeated the

Soviet occupying forces duly helped by Pakistan and the free world, this time the

Taliban under Mulla Omar performed the miracle single-handedly and under much

adverse conditions.

Mistakes made by USA. Major mistakes made were insincere designs, distrusting

Pakistan, relying on India, weak military leadership, drug trafficking, marginalization of

Pashtuns, opening of torture chambers, dependence upon corrupt/inept Karzai regime

and non-Pashtun heavy security forces, hiring of greedy NGOs/security contractors in

thousands; bending situation according to its own whims, farcical political prong aimed

at dividing Taliban, keeping Taliban out of peace talks till 2013. Last but not least

opening 2nd front in Iraq.

Afghan Unity Government. The incumbent unity government was formed in October

2014 after controversial elections, which is more inefficient and corrupt than warlord

heavy Karzai regime. The flaw in this setup is the forcible marriage of convenience mid-

wifed by John Kerry between President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah

after their prolonged estrangement. Abdullah heading Northern Alliance is heavily tilted

towards India and he controls 50% of cabinet ministries including NDS. As a result,

influence of India’s RAW in Afghanistan has not diminished. RAW and NDS patronise

Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) runaways Fazlullah and Omer Khalid Khurasani based in

Kunar and Nangarhar respectively. 

Ghani’s Pro-Pakistan Stance. To start with, Ashraf Ghani tilted towards Pakistan as

a result of outstanding success achieved by Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan

(NW) which not only pushed out anti-Pakistan militants, but also Haqqani network (HN)

and Hafiz Gul Bahadur militant group. The other thing was Pakistan going an extra mile

in removing Kabul’s security concerns. Ghani was also mindful of his weaknesses

because of lack of political roots. Understanding with resurging Taliban was the only

way for him to survive. 

Reasons behind Patch up with Taliban. One reason behind frantic efforts to

negotiate with the Taliban is not-so-happy operational preparedness of the US-UK

trained and equipped Afghan National Army (ANA) to confront the Taliban challenge. It

may not be possible for the US to continue dishing out $4.1 billion per year for the

upkeep of Afghan security forces for long, particularly if they fail to deliver. Other

reason is inherent weakness of unnatural unity government engaged in power tussle.

Most of cabinet ministers including four women are pro-west and have little experience

of governance. Ghani leaned on Pakistan hoping it will persuade Afghan Taliban to talk

and reach a political settlement. 

Ghani’s Changed Foreign Policy. With these considerations, Ghani while

enumerating his foreign policy priorities, placed Pakistan, Iran and China well above

India. He undertook his maiden visits to China and Pakistan. He also cancelled arms

deal and military training agreements with India and instead sent cadets to PMA Kakul

for training for the first time. ISI-NDS intelligence cooperation deal was inked. Both

sides took practical measures to improve defence cooperation and intelligence sharing

to tackle common threat of terrorism. Pakistan arranged meetings of Taliban and

representatives of Ghani regime in Beijing and other countries. 

Indian Anxieties. Fast improving Pak-Afghan relations, China’s decision to invest $46

billion in Pakistan for the construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and energy

projects and Pakistan sailing past the turbulent patch worried India immensely. India is

getting highly vexed since her sinister plans set against Pakistan are falling apart like

nine-pins. Her plan to fill up the security vacuum left behind by the withdrawing US-

NATO troops and to complete encirclement of Pakistan is in jeopardy. Her strategic

alliances with Afghanistan and USA are becoming inconsequential. All the three

conniving partners in crime today find themselves in hot waters. Kautilya’s book offers

no remedy to the prevailing situation since all games of intrigues, coercion and

bloodshed have failed to cow down resilient Pakistan. 

RAW Activated.

In desperation, India allocated $300 million to its notorious

intelligence agency RAW and mandated it to further destabilize the troubled regions of

Pakistan and to scuttle CPEC at all costs. Hamid Karzai was given $50 million to

rejuvenate cross border terrorism from Afghan soil and to keep weak-willed Ghani

under pressure and force him to shift his tilt from Pakistan to India. Karzai has teamed

up with RAW influenced NDS, Abdullah and Northern Alliance heavy Afghan Parliament

as well as ANSF to spoil Afghan-Pakistan relations. Indian National Security Adviser Ajit

Doval is personally pursuing anti-Pakistan agenda.

Ghani’s Dilemma.

Ghani is caught between the rock and a hard place. On one hand,

he has to bear the pressure from segment of his government led by Abdullah and

backed by Karzai led faction of Pashtuns, and on the other is the surging Taliban who

enjoy influence over 80% of Afghan territory. After their ouster from NW, HN has

intensified activities in northern Afghanistan where eight provinces are under its control.

Most of Helmand province is also in control of Taliban. Taliban’s 2015 spring offensive

has rapidly changed the situation in their favor. 2016 Spring Offensive in April may

decisively turn the tide. Under pressure from the US, unity government is trying to

patch up with Pakistan. It has taken resignation from the NDS head Nabeel and sacked

8 officials in NDS. Some improvement in Pak-Afghan military relations is discernible.

Obama’s Second Thoughts. The US military felt that with the dismantlement of safe

haven in NW, it had become easier for the Afghan National Army backed by US

airpower/intelligence support to deal with the militants in eastern Afghanistan and thus

defeat them. However, when no success could be achieved at their end and the Taliban

continued to strike targets at will in all parts of the country, the option of dialogue was

renewed. To appease Taliban, Obama struck off Afghan Taliban from the category of

terrorists and termed them as insurgents fighting for their rights. He also declared that

US troops would not fire at Taliban unless provoked by them. These reconciliatory

moves were aimed to induce the Taliban to negotiate and arrive at a political

settlement. Obama had announced that by mid-2015 he would withdraw 50% of

residual force, but now the US seems to be having second thoughts on gradual

reduction of troops on account of Pentagon’s pressure and Da’esh (ISIS) threat.

Two Pronged Negotiations. The US was forced to patch up with the Taliban whom it

had all these years been projecting as uncivilized, crude terrorists deserving no mercy.

Initial effort to induce Taliban for talks was based on two prongs, one prong led by

Ghani and the other by the US and in both cases, Pakistan was asked to assist. China

was also given a green signal to play its role in restoring peace in Afghanistan. Ghani

kept urging the Taliban to join the unity government, and this was one reason of 106

days delay in forming the 16-member cabinet duly approved by Afghan parliament, but

the Taliban didn’t agree. 

Presumed Pakistan’s Influence over Taliban. Both the US and Afghan regime

carry the impression that Pakistan is in a position to bring the Taliban to the negotiating

table. While it is true that Pakistan does have some influence over Taliban leaders since

quite many were in its custody all these years, it doesn’t control them and is not in a

position to make them agree to the terms sought by the US. It can also not give any

guarantee to the Taliban that Afghan regime will abide by the terms of agreement

arrived at. Pakistan and China are however trying hard to create conducive conditions

for talks. Pakistan is playing a key role in creating goodwill space for China in

Afghanistan and in mending its relations with Taliban. 

Peace Talks. As a consequence to these silent efforts, the wheels of talks started to

churn slowly in Doha and the Taliban in principle agreed to open their political office

there for the initiation of formal political dialogue. Murree talks held on July 7, 2015

between representatives of Taliban and unity government, and US and China’s

representatives sitting as observers raised hopes of a settlement for the first time. On

July 29, eight members of Taliban Shura had reached Islamabad to participate in

second round of talks on July 31 to further speed up the reconciliation process.

Death of Mulla Omar Exploited

Ill-motivated and ill-timed announcement of death of Mulla Omar by the National

Directorate of Security (NDS) on July 29 was aimed at derailing peace talks, straining

Pak-Afghan relations and dividing Taliban. The news was later confirmed by Taliban

Shura. Election of Mulla Akhtar Muhammad Mansour as next Ameer was announced by

Afghan Rahbari Shura on July 30. Sirajuddin Haqqani and Haibatullah Khanzada were

appointed deputies.

Mullah Omar’s departure from the scene has altered the whole dynamics of nascent

peace negotiations with the Taliban. His deputy Mulla Mansour was part of the Taliban

movement from the start and has effectively been in charge as de facto commander

since 2013. He faces a huge challenge in trying to unite a movement that is already

showing signs of fragmenting and questions about his legitimacy at the highest echelon

of the Taliban has made his position awkward. 

Rifts in Taliban Two rival camps got engulfed in war of succession; one led by

Mansour and the other by Omar’s brother Mulla Abdul Manan and Omar’s 26 years old

son Mulla M. Yaqub backed by Mullas Mansur Dadullah, Hasan Rahmani, Abdul Razaq,

Rasool Akhund and Qayum Zakir. Fadayee Mahaz headed by Haji Najibullah is another

opponent of Mansour who accused him of poisoning Omar to death. Head of Taliban

political office in Doha Tayyab Agha resigned, but has so far remained neutral. Taliban

are also divided on the issue of talks, one faction favoring and the other opposing it.

Sinister Objectives of Detractors Accomplished. Spoilers sprang into action to

accentuate the rift and succeeded in achieving their sinister objectives by disrupting

peace talks. Several woven stories about circumstances, place and date of Omar’s death

created tension among rank and file of Taliban and impacted their unity. This internal

rift is to the liking of India and other spoilers who are busy widening the rift by

supporting the opponents of Mansour. The US is also a spoiler. It is not in favor of

Pakistan mediated agreement since it will benefit Taliban and Pakistan. It has made the

position of Pakistan and Mansour favoring talks difficult. Pak-Afghan relations that had

begun to improve have again become frosty. However, the biggest loser is Kabul itself. 

Efforts to Heal the Rift

Five members of Council of senior Taliban Ulema tried to bridge the rift. They met on

August 21, 2015 to resolve the differences, but Mulla Yaqub and Manan refused to

contest the post of Ameer since they knew they didn’t enjoy popular support among the

Taliban. Had Mansour not met them, the Council would have appointed Maulvi

Muhammad Ahmad from Kandahar belonging to Kakar tribe as next Ameer. Currently

Mulla Rasool is the main opponent of Mansour and is anti-peace talks.

Mullah Mansour’s Assertiveness

In order to consolidate his position and to win over support of opponent camp, Mansour

stiffened his stance by asserting that there will be no talks without meeting their basic

demands of complete withdrawal of foreign troops and replacement of US tailored

constitution with Islamic constitution. He also stepped up attacks in all parts of

Afghanistan and raised his stature after capturing Kunduz. He did this to dispel the over

optimistic impression that after the death of Mulla Omar, Taliban are in disarray and

resistance has weakened, and that Taliban will be negotiating from position of

weakness. Taliban hold sway over 127 districts of the country. Latest news is that on

February 12, the opponents of Mulla Mansour have decided to forge unity and reunify

the Taliban movement.

Negotiated Political Settlement

Negotiated political settlement leading to broad based government with Taliban, given

representation as per their demographic strength will be an ideal arrangement since it

will prevent civil war and benefit Afghan Pashtuns, Pakistan and China but may not be

that beneficial for non-Pashtun Northern Alliance since its power base will shrink. It will

also not suit India since balance of power will shift towards Pakistan friendly Afghan

Pashtun. Iran and USA will also not be happy. 

While Pakistan and China are playing an active role in making Afghanistan peaceful,

both are clear that arm twisting of Taliban will prove counterproductive. In case a

settlement is reached without giving a bigger share in power to the Taliban, the

implication is that there will be strong resentment among the rank and file of the

Taliban and other resistance forces. It will become very difficult for Mullah Mansour who

has become controversial to control the dissenters. 

Threat of Da’esh. Da’esh (ISIS) has gained toeholds in Nangarhar and Farah

provinces and has also colluded with Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in Northern

Afghanistan. India and probably USA are discreetly facilitating their entry. Weakening of

Taliban will create more space for Da’esh in Afghanistan, which will be more hazardous

for the whole region, since Da’esh is vying to re-establish ancient Khurasan State

comprised of parts of Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. Collusion of Da’esh

with TTP leaders based in Afghanistan assisted by RAW and making Nangarhar as main

base of operation is a dangerous development. Extension of hand of friendship by Al-

Qaeda chief Zawahiri to Mulla Mansour if reciprocated will add to the complications of

regional security. It will result in prolonged bloodshed and destruction spread over

decades, as predicted by Obama.

Iran-Saudi Tiff.

Growing tiff between the two ideological rivals is casting its shadow

on Syria and Afghanistan and if not diffused in time will have bearing on Pakistan as

Indian Military Involvement in Afghanistan.

Indian military which had refused to join the US led coalition in Afghanistan to fight

terrorism in 2001 has now decided to barge into Afghanistan. India has renewed its

defence deal with Afghanistan and is now supplying arms and ammunition to ANA since

last January. Indian Military Attache in Kabul Sojeet Narain stated that India has started

assisting the Afghan military in their fight against militants and this support will

continue till victory. 400 trucks carrying arms have been transported to Kabul for ANA

via Chahbahar. It includes MGs, LMGs, rocket launchers, grenades and ammunition.

India’s Russian built MI-35 attack helicopters flew from Bagram air base to support

ANA’s ground operation in Helmand on January 20. Gen John Campbell appreciated

Indian effort. On February 1, Indian military cargo planes unloaded weapons and

equipment at Kabul airport. India is already imparting training to Afghan police and is

now likely to train ANA.

During Modi’s last visit to Kabul, an agreement was signed allowing Indian citizens to

travel to Afghanistan and back without visa. Taking advantage of this facility, India has

inducted large numbers of retired armed forces officers and undercover officers in

Afghanistan in order to consolidate Indian military’s presence and to keep western

border hot and to gain control over Wakhan corridor. This ingress will help India in

interfering with CPEC.

Fallout of Turmoil in Afghanistan

Negative fallout of the disarray in the Taliban ranks is not good news for the peaceniks

including President Ashraf Ghani, Washington and Islamabad. Another obvious corollary

of the disharmony in Taliban ranks is that erstwhile Taliban factions will join Da’esh in

bigger numbers and pave the way for Da’esh to emerge as the most powerful entity.

Turmoil in Afghanistan will be to the big disadvantage of Pakistan, since there will be

spillover effect. Pak Army is already tired fighting the war for 13 years and cannot

afford to further prolong it. It will also adversely impact China’s economic aggression in

the region and its plan to connect Gwadar with Afghanistan. 

Preventive Act. In order to prevent the chaos, US, China, Pakistan and Iran should

collectively help the intra-Afghan dialogue to proceed smoothly till comprehensive

political settlement benefiting all factions of Afghans irrespective of ethnic divisions.

Role of unity government is however critical since Taliban offensive has rattled Ghani,

and he has begun to speak Karzai and Abdullah’s language. War lords are once again

getting stronger and cases of desertions from ANSF to private militias are increasing as

had happened in 1990/91. 

Quadrilateral Talks

Three sessions of quadrilateral talks have been held in Islamabad and Kabul in which

representatives of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US took part to evolve a

roadmap for peace talks. Afghan unity government has prepared a draft for next

meeting in Kabul on February 23. So far no breakthrough has been achieved since the

Taliban have not joined it. However inclusion of two heavy weights and Russia’s support

has given strength to peace process. Russia favors striking off names of Taliban from

UN black list. Pakistan is insisting that spoilers should be restrained, Afghan regime

should cooperate, and all factions of Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami should be invited and

use of stick avoided. Afghan government wants use of force against those refusing to

hold talks. Taliban, HN and Fidai Mahaz have been asked to prepare their list of

demands, while Hizb-e-Islami is also being approached through elders of tribes in

Paktia.

The four have urged the Taliban to attend the next meeting in Kabul on February 23

but the Taliban have made their participation subject to fulfilment of their demands

here under:

A. Take off Taliban leaders from the UN list of terrorists.

B. Release of prisoners.

C. Remove restrictions on travel.

D. Unfreeze their accounts in foreign banks.

E. Intimate exact date of departure of Resolute Support Force.

Determinants 

Although analysts are busy painting doomsday scenario, saying it marks the end of

Taliban movement, but knowing their resilience and unmatched sacrifices, it will not die

down and someone else will carry forward the baton; although none will fit in Mulla

Omar’s shoes. Their position has eroded a little due to internal rifts, but Mulla Mansour

commands the largest and most powerful faction. Yet the 36 years’ war has fatigued

them and their 3-4 generations have got affected. They also want the war to end. The

country too badly needs a break.

Pakistan has suffered the most on account of instability in Afghanistan. Pak-Afghan

security is inter-linked and it is a geo-strategic compulsion for both to remain friendly.

While Pakistan realizes it, Afghan leadership doesn’t. Earlier the Afghan leaders

recognize this reality and take practical steps to restore peace, better it will be for the

region. 

Till such time anti-peace elements led by India, Abdullah and Rashid Dostum are reined

in, and the US stops its double game, peace will not return in Af-Pak region.

Unless Kabul gets out of perverse influence of India, cooperate rather than distrust

Pakistan, and opts for a home-made formula, sooner than later unity government would

crumble and ANA would splinter and pave the way for dreaded civil war.

In real-politick terms, stability in Afghanistan and regional harmony among all countries

surrounding it would contribute in the fast-paced development of the region.

Implication is that this region cannot develop economically as long as Afghanistan

remains unstable. 

With hostile India on its east, Pakistan can ill-afford to have pro-India and anti-Pakistan

regime in Kabul posing a twin threat to its security.

History of Afghanistan teaches an important lesson that peace and stability in

Afghanistan is possible only after complete withdrawal of foreign troops. And all

stakeholders within the country are ready to accept each other and arrive at a common

arrangement. This was true in the past and is valid today. 

All depends whether the US after abandoning Afghanistan would forsake its declared

and hidden objectives for which it came, spent trillions and suffered heavy casualties

besides losing face and prestige as a sole super power, or indirectly continues with its

proxy war?

The US having lost the war, would like as a minimum to have friendly government in

Afghanistan to be able to pursue its mercantile interests in Central Asian region. 

Only joint and collaborative efforts can tackle terrorism and not blame-game.

Ultimate solution to Afghan imbroglio will have to be found by the Afghans themselves.

Others can at best facilitate dialogue.

Lastly, key to peace is with Taliban and none else. Best course for people of

Afghanistan is to honor the colossal sacrifices of the Taliban and let them form the

future broad-based government without outside interference.

Recommendations

Pakistan should grant ‘Most Favored Nation’ status and land access to India through

Wagah border with due prudence. This should be linked with resolution of core issues.

Pakistan should assert and exert its geo-strategic position and significance and extract

its due share rather than following a self-defeating policy of appeasement.

Pakistan should continue to convince the US and Afghan government to limit India’s

role in Afghanistan since it is the chief trouble maker.

Concerted efforts be made to counter Indian propaganda in Afghanistan aimed at

poisoning the minds of Afghans against Pakistan and remove their misperceptions.

Imaginative themes should be coined to win back friendship of estranged Afghan

public, particularly Afghan non-Pashtuns.

Pakistan should be mentally and physically prepared to handle post 2016 explosive

scenario in Afghanistan.

Pakistan should help China in further expanding its influence in Afghanistan to

neutralize Indian influence.

At behest of USA, Pakistan betrayed Afghan Taliban and suffered a great deal. They

must not be ditched again.

Conclusion

To conclude I would say that Pakistan has remained under the deceptive magic spell of

the US for too long without any gains. Pakistan helped the untrustworthy USA to occupy

Afghanistan and remove a friendly regime and replace it with anti-Pakistan regime. It

has been ceding ground to win the friendship of India but couldn’t change the mindset

of Brahman rulers who have not reconciled to Pakistan’s existence and has missed no

opportunity to harm Pakistan. Unity government in Kabul is wholly in the grip of USA

and India and will continue to prefer India over Pakistan. It is continuing to help India

to destabilize Pakistan. Notwithstanding the need to maintain friendly relations with all

the three, this fatal affection must not be at the cost of national interests and dignity of

the nation. Policy of appeasement should be replaced with policy of upholding our self-

esteem. It is Pakistan’s strategic compulsion to have a friendly government in

Afghanistan and it must strive hard for it using all its diplomatic skills.

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books,

Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors Thinkers Forum

Pakistan. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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#GoNawazGo Pakistan Judiciary Should Prosecute & Hang Killers Nawaz & Shahbaz Sharif

 

 

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Wake-Up Pakistanis

#GoNawazGo

Every Pakistan Should Make it their Mission to Boot this Corrupt and Seditious Regime of Nawaz Sharif & Sharif Dynasty. If they are not removed Pakistan may cease to exist. Nawaz Sharif is Sh.Mujib of Pakistan.He has a hidden agenda to destroy all state institutions of Pakistan,including the Pakistan Army. Nawaz Sharif has sent feelers to many senior officers of Pakistan Army to join hands with him in benefiting from sale of Pakistan state assets. In return, Nawaz has asked for iron clad guarantees of loyalty to him and not to the state of Pakistan.  Nawaz Sharif is furiously searching for seniors officers of Kashmiri background who will support his dynastic ambitions. Nawaz Sharif is making every effort to weaken the discipline, unity, and cohesiveness of Pakistan Army. He considers Pakistan Army the biggest hurdle in his ambition of Akhand Bharat, where he is promised Presidency with full powers by Narendra Modi. Nawaz Sharif is a clear and present danger to existence of Pakistan,Unless, Nawaz Sharif is removed by the Judiciary, Pakistan faces serious existential danger.

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