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Archive for June, 2019

Royal Palm by Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

 

 

LETTER TO EDITOR

June 28th, 2019

Royal Palm

SC has ordered Pakistan Railways to operate Royal Palm adequately well!

No bureaucratic set up can function like a private commercial concern whose reputation and money are at stake. What the Dickens would Pakistan Railways management stand to lose if the Royal Palm goes to dogs or into a loss or loses all its clientele?  Nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Administrators, who would have no stakes at all except their salaries and some Fazl e Rabbi would be transferred to some other place with the same pay and perks and that’s about all.

 

 

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

Rawalpindi

Pakistan

E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

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Why Propaganda against New Head of Pakistan’s Spy Agency? By Sajjad Shaukat

Why Propaganda against New Head of Pakistan’s Spy Agency?

By

Sajjad Shaukat

 

Pakistan on June 16, this year appointed Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed as the new head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, replacing the agency’s head, Lieutenant General Asim Munir.

 

In this regard, as part of the continued propaganda campaign against Pakistan Army and ISI, on June 21, 2019, an article by Ayesha Siddiqa under the caption “New ISI Chief Faiz Hamed a manipulator picked by army chief Bajwa to be his master’s voice” left no stone unturned in maligning country’s key security agencies, while describing Lt. Gen. Faiz as a hardliner.

 

It is regrettable that some of the Pakistani liberals and self-styled champions of freedom of expression like Ayesha Siddiqa who seem in collusion with Indian security agencies forget that Pakistan bashing is in not interest of Pakistan.

 

 

In this respect, by ignoring ground realities which Pakistan Army and ISI are facing in maintaining the internal and external of the country, Ayesha wrote: “Lt Gen. Faiz Hameed, the new Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, has raised eyebrows, not due to his appointment but because he replaced Lt Gen. Asim Munir, who was appointed just eight months ago. This creates an impression that Faiz Hameed brings more to his boss’s [Army Chief] table than his immediate predecessor. The change has ensured for him the title of being ‘his master’s voice’ and the fact that this will have an impact on the politics inside the organisation for the short to medium term…a new head of the ISI will not or cannot tamper with its strategic goals. He will not interact with the jihadis on his own or eliminate them because he doesn’t agree with the idea. However, his relationship with the army chief, the ISI and the rest of the army will have an impact on his ability to perform…Qamar Bajwa, who had taken over the command of the army by then, brought his own man to head the ‘C’ wing of the ISI responsible for counter-intelligence, which means a hand on the political pulse of Pakistan and on the organisational pulse of its army…General Hameed could have continued as Adjutant-General had Bajwa not gotten restless and brought him back to the ISI…The shift will certainly leave a mark on the relationship between the army’s spy organisation, Military Intelligence…Bajwa’s influence leapt further…when he was included as a member in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s newly created body for Pakistan’s economic revival…the National Development Council.”

 

However, following the anti-Pakistan entities’ approach, Ayesha Siddiqa neglected the facts. She must know that Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan province and Karachi. Army and ISI have broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan, including Karachi and Balochistan.

 

But, foreign elements have, again, started terror attacks in Balochistan and other regions of the country which show that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel want to weaken Pakistan and to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

As regards the new wave of terrorism in Pakistan, various terrorist outfits, particularly the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL), and the affiliated faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA) claimed responsibility for these brutal acts. TTP based in Afghanistan has its connections with ISIL and other terrorist organizations and affiliated terror groups, including Baloch separatist elements, and all these outfits are promoting the anti-Pakistan agenda of the external entities against Pakistan. As part of the double game, American CIA, Indian RAW, Israeli Mossad and Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) which are in collaboration, are using these terror groups in weakening Pakistan and especially Balochistan in order to fulfill the covert strategic aims of the US-led India and Israel against Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran.

 

As Pakistan is the only declared nuclear country in the Islamic World, Hence, America, India and Israel have been acting upon their collective agenda to destabilize it. Besides, after the shift of the Great Game from Central Asia to Pakistan (Balochistan), the country has become a special target of the CIA, RAW and Mossad which are in connivance in supporting various terror-related attacks in various cities, including separatist elements in Balochistan province.

 

Besides, it was due to the corruption-practice of the previous regimes that at this juncture, Pakistan is facing multi-faceted crises and challenges like corruption, soaring prices, energy-shortage, unemployment, crimes, lack of health facilities, and dependence upon the US-led developed countries, IMF and World Bank for financial aid. Notably, the present drastic situation cannot be comprehended by the general masses and even the political leaders who abruptly change their opinion. Therefore, they become an unintentional victim of the external plotters who succeed in creating a rift particularly between the political groups, divided into ethnic and linguistic lines. These foreign enemies also seek to create a division between the political leaders and the Armed Forces of the country.

 

And under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, anti-corruption drive by the institutions is going on independently, where the military is not interfering, though rendering all possible assistance in eliminating of corruption. But, a writer like Ayesha is exploiting anti-corruption drive of the government in negative terms.

 

In fact, the appointment of Lt-Gen. Faiz Hameed as the new Director General of ISI is a routine matter which barely attracted any attention at all, except among the country’s liberals and the Indian media, with the two coming together through Ayesha Siddiqa’s article. Its provocative title clearly shows that the main aim of the article is to spread disinformation—an assault on multiple targets such as civil-military relations—ISI and the Army in order to create wedges among the key institutions of the country.

 

It is mentionable that Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa is an active member of the US-based “South Asians Against Terrorism & For Human Rights” (SAATH) Forum-an ultra-liberal platform run by former Pakistani Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani who describes himself on his official website as “an India-friendly Pakistani currently living in exile in the US”.

 

In his latest book, “Reimagining Pakistan: Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear State”, Husain Haqqani maligned Pakistan, its security agencies, while targeting the country’s ideology and nuclear weapons. Painting a dark picture of the country, Haqqani has distorted the image of Pakistan and its armed forces, while showing Pakistan a fundamentalist state in the line of the external propagandists.

 

 

As regards Husain Haqqani, while serving as Pakistani ambassador, he was protecting American interests. He had issued visas to many CIA agents like Ramond Davis to destabilize Pakistan. Besides, working at various American institutes, Husain Haqqani developed secret liaisons with Indo-Israeli lobbies and became a covert element of an anti-Pakistan campaign. Particularly, this could be judged from his book, titled, ‘Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military.’ In this book, Husain Haqqani targeted both military and Islamic ideology. While pointing out the relationship of the Pak Army and ISI with the Islamic militants, Haqqani allegedly wrote, “since September 11, 2001, the selective cooperation of Pakistan’s military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf—sharing intelligence with the United States and apprehending Al Qaeda members—have led to the assumption that Pakistan might be ready to give up its long-standing ties with radical Islam.” He advised America, “Washington should no longer condone the Pakistani military’s support for Islamic militants.”

 

American famous writers and authors exaggeratedly praised the book of Husain Haqqani, as it was in accordance with the hidden agenda and blame game of the US and Indian high officials and their media and which still continue against Pakistan and its security agencies. Especially, Stephen P. Cohen, author of the book, ‘The Idea of Pakistan and The Pakistan Army’ allegedly wrote, “We are in Husain Haqqani’s debt for providing the authoritative account of the linkages between Pakistan’s powerful Islamists and its professional army.”

 

It worth mentioning that Haqqani was found guilty by a Pakistani court of authoring a memo in 2012 requesting America’s support against Pakistan’s military, which resulted in a warrant being issued for his arrest and his formal designation as an international fugitive when he failed to comply. Interpol which is under pressure from former Husain Haqqani’s American patrons refused to act on Islamabad’s request, so, he remains free to continue operating his ultra-liberal platform and engaging in other provocative activities.

 

Like Haqqani, Ayesha is also known for her controversial book titled ‘Military, Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy’; and criticized military and the ISI.

If anyone read various articles and books written by Ayesha Siddiqa, he can conclude undoubtedly that she, herself, is master’s voice of the US-led anti-Pakistan entities, while the article regarding the new head of Pakistan’s spy agency is part of the propaganda against Pakistan and its Army and ISI.

 

 

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Indo-US-Afghan collusion hinders peace by Asif Haroon Raja

Indo-US-Afghan collusion hinders peace

 

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pakistan’s strained relations with India-Afghanistan

Pakistan’s bilateral relations with its eastern and western neighbours severely deteriorated after Narendra Modi led BJP took over power in June 2014. From 2015 onwards the two arch rivals have been engaged in low-intensity war. The Line of Control and Working Boundary in Kashmir has been kept bloody and on the boil by India. Terrorism in Baluchistan and FATA that had been controlled has been reinvigorated by India. She is resorting to covert war, water terrorism and hybrid war in collusion with Afghanistan. Nefarious activities of the duo are fully backed by USA and Israel.

Indian Prime Minister Modi used anti-Pakistan slogans for rallying the support of radicalized Hindus during the last state elections in India and later for national elections. He blamed Pakistan to hide his internal weaknesses and socio-economic failures. Ashraf Ghani-Abdullah Unity Government in Kabul has also constantly blamed Pakistan to camouflage its failure of establishing its writ in eastern and southern Afghanistan.

Despite the baseless allegations, the Pakistani ruling elite continues with its efforts to engage both the neighbours constructively for regional peace and prosperity and has considered the policy of appeasement as the best option to keep the two antagonists as well as the USA in good humour. Though Islamabad did its best to engage constructively with both New Delhi and Kabul, yet it failed due to Modi’s domestic political priorities and President Ghani’s internal political and security challenges.

RAW-NDS collusion

The bloody terrorist attacks in Lahore in February 2017 followed by another attack on a Sufi shrine in Sindh sponsored by RAW-NDS forced Pakistan to launch Operation Raddul Fasaad to complement Operation Zarb-e-Azb to destroy the terrorist sanctuaries located on Afghanistan-Pakistan border as well as sleeping cells in urban centres and to nab facilitators and handlers. In addition, Pakistan intensified its border management undertakings. The two main border crossings at Torkhum and Chaman were closed and border management improved to prevent infiltration.

In April 2017, Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesperson of the Tehreek-e-Taliban’s (TTP) splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, surrendered to Pakistan Army. He claimed that RAW and NDS were supporting terrorist groups by imparting training and providing funds, weapons, equipment and intelligence to subvert the internal security of Pakistan. Pak Army is now fencing the entire length of western border much to the chagrin of USA, India, Afghanistan, the three states sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan. Concurrently, Islamabad is endeavouring to convince the Taliban to hold talks with Unity regime in Kabul.

BJP’s hate-filled politics

The biggest problem while dealing with New Delhi is the prevalent xenophobic domestic Indian political atmosphere. From 2017 till May 2019 elections, Premier Modi used warmongering as a tactic for mustering the support of radicalized hawkish Hindu voters and to win the elections comprehensively. With this objective, his party adopted a vicious policy against the Indian Muslims. 

The BJP’s hate-filled politics against the minorities, particularly the Muslims, due to which lynching of Muslims and low-caste Dalits for eating beef and slaughtering and trading in cattle had risen, adding to the anxiety of India’s 170-million-strong Muslim population, didn’t dent BJP vote bank or the popularity of Modi among near 80% Hindus. Under Modi, several cities with names rooted in India’s Islamic Mughal past have been re-named, while some school textbooks have been changed to downplay Muslims’ contributions to India. The trend of marrying Muslims girls by Hindus is on the increase and so is the process of Hinduization. 

Kashmir imbroglio

Kashmir is the bleeding wound of India where its 750,000 are pinned down since 1990. After the martyrdom of Burhan Wani in July 2016, Indian security forces and the RSS gangs unleashed a reign of terror and employed all sorts of horribly cruel tools including pellet guns to crush the movement. The innocent Kashmiris have been persistently suffering from the brutality of the Indian armed forces. After Pulwama incident, the level of atrocities has increased. Despite the worst type of state terrorism and human rights abuses, the Indian civilian and military law enforcement agencies have failed to restore the writ of the state in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). The demoralization among the lower ranks has set in as was seen in 2004-05 and cases of suicides are multiplying.

Modi has made plans to rob IOK of its special status by revoking Article 370. He also has devious plans up his sleeves to change the demography of IOK by settling Hindu Pundits, Indian retired officers and soldiers and Kashmiri refugees; and also to carry out ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri youth or force them to leave IOK. 

Kulbushan discomforts India

Another major irritant which has greatly upset India is the arrest of Indian Naval Officer, Commander Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav on March 3, 2016, in Baluchistan. He had been working for RAW at Chahbahar since 2003. The death sentence awarded to him by the military court in 2017 has further disturbed RAW and Indian hawks. Kulbushan admitted that he was involved in terrorism and other subversive activities and had established big networks in Baluchistan and Karachi. Indians have been seeking his release but Pakistan has not relented. This could be one reason for India’s constant browbeating tactics and refusing to talk with Pakistan.

Hindutva

The other reason is BJP’s penchant for Hindutva. The resumption of a dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad is not acceptable to the preachers and followers of Hindutva.

India’s leniency toward Hindu terror groups

While India has all along accused Pakistan of abetting terrorism without providing a shred of evidence and has constantly pressed Pakistan to punish the proscribed groups like Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e Taiba and Jamaatud Dawa, allegedly involved in terrorism in India and IOK and has succeeded in blacklisting them, India has always been lenient towards its own Hindu terrorists groups which over 1000.

On June 13, the Bombay High Court granted bail to the accused – Dhan Singh, Lokesh Sharma, Manohar Narwaria and Rajendra Chaudhary, who were in prison since 2013. Four Hindu suspects, who were prime accused in the 2006 terror bombing case that killed 37 people in a Muslim town of Malegaon.

The serial bomb blasts near a mosque had also injured 100 people. Local police initially arrested nine Muslims, accusing them of engineering blasts. But, when the probe was shifted to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), it concluded that the blasts were carried out by the Hindu extremists.

In connection with another terror attack in Bhopal in 2008, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and former Lt Col Srikanth Purohit were arrested in connection with the incident. Both of them are out on the bail. Thakur recently won parliamentary elections, she contested on the ruling BJP ticket, from Bhopal.

Swami Aseemanand (real name Naba Kumar), linked to RSS is an ideological mentor of BJP. He and three other co-accused Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary were blamed for three terror attacks. All four who had confessed their crimes were acquitted early this year by an anti-terror court in Haryana in the February 18, 2007 bombing of the Samjhota Express that left 86 people dead, mostly Pakistanis. Last year Aseemanand was among five men acquitted in the 2007 blast in Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid. In 2017, he was acquitted in the Ajmer Dargah blast case. An Indian court has now ordered the release of four Hindu suspects, who were prime accused in the 2006 terror bombing case in Malegaon.

It has now been amply proved that the much-publicized Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, was an in-house affair. Till today, India has consistently blamed Pakistan and has refused to open dialogue until and unless Pakistan agrees to keep terrorism over the issue of Kashmir.

Books written on this subject – namely ‘Betrayal of India’ by Elios Davidson, ‘The Attack on Mumbai’ by Vir Sanghvi, and ‘’The Siege’ by Cathy Scott-Clark & Adrien Levy have laid bare the truth that it was a joint venture of RAW-Mossad and CIA to discredit Pak Army and Kashmiri movement and to get Pakistan declared a terrorist state. And yet India has never been questioned. Same is the case with false flag operation in Udhampur, Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama, all engineered to hide the cruelties of India in IOK and to dub the liberation movement in Kashmir as Islamic radicalism duly supported by Pakistan.

Pakistan has ample proofs

With Kulbushan and Ehsanullah have divulged the entire racket of RAW-NDS against Pakistan with its tentacles spread from Iran, Pakistan’s coastal belt to Afghanistan, what more proof is needed to prove that the duo backed by the USA are the real source of instability in Af-Pak region and much-maligned Pakistan is the victim of terrorism.

India’s jingoism

The biggest problem while dealing with New Delhi is the prevalent jingoistic domestic Indian political atmosphere. Premier Modi, during the last year state elections campaign, used warmongering as a tactic for mustering the support of radicalized hawkish Hindu voters. The BJP secured a majority in the important state elections and constituted its governments. The campaign, however, amplified anti-Pakistan feelings in Indian society.

BJP’s landslide victory

Modi led BJP surprised the world by bagging 303 votes in the Lower House of 543. The BJP’s main rival Congress, couldn’t win a single seat in 13 states and five union territories. Congress managed to secure 52 seats only which was an 8-seat improvement over last elections. Rahul Gandhi – the great-grandson, grandson and son of three premiers, even lost his own seat in Amethi, a family bastion but managed to win a seat in Kerala. Congress BJP’s landslide win has crushed the Gandhi dynasty’s comeback hopes. Rahul tamely threw in his towel after the election results were announced.

Modi’s victory attributable to Pakistan bashing

Modi achieved a landslide victory because of his Pakistan rhetoric, aggressive policies against Indian Muslims and Kashmiri Muslims, and lies and false promises and not on performance. He won despite being likened to Hitler, a compulsive liar and a “gutter insect”, alleged corruption in a Rafael defense deal, the desperate plight of farmers, the lackluster economy and humiliations suffered at the hands of Pakistan in September 2016 on account of fake surgical strike, and then in the aftermath of stage-managed Pulwama attack in February 2019. In fact, killings of over 40 soldiers in Pulwama on February 14 incensed the Hindus, escalated Hindu extremism and further bolstered BJP’s votes.

 

 

 

 

The air intrusion in Balakot on February 27 was a complete fiasco since the Mirage 2000s with Israel-made Spyke missiles could uproot few pine trees only, but Modi helped by Indian media claimed it as a roaring success, falsely claiming destruction of Jaish-e-Muhammad camp and killing over 300 militants. He roared, “Wherever the terror groups and perpetrators may hide, our security forces will flush them out and punish them. Every drop of blood of our slain soldiers shall be avenged.”

These high-sounding rhetoric made the Indian public ecstatic and hysteric. Exploiting their sentiments, Modi named himself as the Chowkidar (Watchman) and the only who can defend India and make it great.

 

Indo-Afghan hostility hinders peace  

Surely, the continuity of such collusive nefarious activities of NDS-RAW would not be tolerable for the sake of dialogue process. Although the Afghan Unity Government constantly levels baseless allegations against Pakistan to camouflage its own failure, yet Islamabad is determined to engage Kabul for cordial bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

India has inflicted tens of thousands of cuts on the body of Pakistan and has openly expressed her desire to break Pakistan into four parts, and yet Pakistani leadership is bending over backwards to resume dialogue with India which has been wholly unproductive due to Indian intransigence and deep-rooted hatred.

Will Modi fulfil his promises? 

Now that Modi is firmly in the saddle, will he fulfil his unaccomplished promises? Will he be able to make India Great as claimed by him? Will he be able to tackle the economy and unemployment which has surged up particularly among the women? Will he create a higher number of jobs needed? Can he address wealth inequalities? The agriculture industry is also in an awful state. Drought, low prices of agriculture products and heavy debts have driven thousands of farmers to commit suicide. The country’s waterways are filthy and India is home to 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities. Open latrines and millions sleeping on footpaths are other unresolved problems. Religious minorities – including India’s 170 million Muslims – are terrified and feeling insecure.

Will he continue persecuting the minorities or balm their wounds to integrate the heterogeneous society which is an ethnic museum? Will he exploit his brute majority to revoke Article 370 and make IOK integral part of India, or allow the Kashmiris their right of self-termination? Will he continue to tread on the beaten path of jingoism, whipping up war hysteria and keeping the people mesmerized in a mythical world in pursuit of his mission to make Pakistan a compliant state, and become a world power, or else adopt a saner approach and adopt a reconciliatory approach in the overall interest of South Asia?

India has once again shown her mindset by trying to influence FATF to blacklist Pakistan. China, Turkey and Malaysia thwarted the baleful move. India can never achieve her ambitions by beating war drums and adopting a confrontationist approach.   

It is most unfortunate that the US-Israel-Afghan-India nexus is a collection of spoilers who have chosen the path of hostility, which is bound to lead to catastrophic results. Sudden rise in temperature in the Persian Gulf stoked by the USA has added to the gravity of the situation. Conversely, Russia-China-Central Asian Republics-Pakistan and ASEAN vie for co-existence, peace and collective prosperity and are placing their hopes in BRI and CPEC.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have suffered a great deal on account of wars imposed by outsiders in Afghanistan and making Pakistan a frontline state. Both earnestly need peace. No peace is possible in the region without the resolution of the dispute in Kashmir and end of the war in Afghanistan. Therefore, it’s imperative that Russia, China, Turkey, Iran should play a constructive role in resolving the two issues.

Modi seems to have climbed down the high horse he was riding and has asked Pakistan to rebuild trust and develop enabling environment for progress in ties. This whiff of fresh air has come in response to two letters written by Imran Khan. He, however, once again reiterated that for cooperative ties, it was important to build an environment free of terror, violence and hostility. Coming months will indicate the seriousness of Modi’s apparent desire for re-engagement. 

To conclude, the mistrust hinders constructive engagement. Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan need to appreciate the usefulness of the connectivity between the neighbours for the prosperity of their people. All three should disperse the clouds of distrust and hatred and build trust, bring in amity and cooperation. Enduring peace and stability in South Asia hinge on the resolution of the long-pending dispute of Kashmir and end of the war in Afghanistan.

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, member CWC and Think Tank Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society, member Executive Council Tehreek Jawanan Pakistan. asifharoonraja@hotmail.com

 

 

 

 

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Classifying Defeat: Hiding Data on the Losing Afghan War ……Maj. Danny Sjursen, USA (Ret.)

Classifying Defeat: Hiding Data on the Losing Afghan War

in 

Anti-War.com

 

Editor’s Note: I was a student in the US during the Vietnam War. I lost many US classmates either wounded mentally or killed. When the US was entering Afghanistan, I told my American friends not to enter Afghanistan. My words, “You can enter Afghanistan easily, but getting out is next to impossible.”
Troops in Afghanistan
Note: All US Troop Stationed Near Pakistan Border-US has not learned an iota from Vietnam. Afghanistan is the death knell of invaders.

 

The longest war in U.S. history has cost 2400 American lives and nearly a trillion dollars. Still, the government in Washington conceals the truth and most of the populace yawns. By now there should be no doubt that America has lost the battle for Afghanistan, placing it in good company with the British and Soviet empires that failed to conquer that famously xenophobic country. I just wish the Trump administration – as self-touting “truth-tellers” – would admit it. Seriously, public acceptance of defeat would be strangely refreshing. But don’t count on it!

Trump and company have a better idea. They’ll just stop telling the American people anything about how this perpetual war is going. Seriously, the powers that be have taken just about all the relevant, measurable data on the war and either stopped tracking it or deemed it classified. How’s that for some Orwellian political spin? The thing is I kind of get it. The news out of Afghanistan is so awful, and “progress” so fitful, that I wouldn’t want to report it either. Too bad these are life and death matters and that in an (ostensible) republic the people are owed the truth about the wars fought in their name. Call me old fashioned but I still value facts and transparency.

So let us consider what exactly they are hiding from us. It began with last year’s announcement that the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) – the congressionally mandated watchdog on all aspects of this war – would no longer report Afghan Security Force (ASF) casualty data. It’s now classified. I wonder why. Could it be that the US trained and equipped (to the tune of some $70 billion) Afghan military is suffering unsustainable casualties, is losing troops faster than it can recruit? Maybe its because Washington finds it inconvenient to admit that the ASF is nowhere near its target personnel strength, that desertions and absence without leave are rampant in the ranks, and that the Afghan GDP is insufficient to pay for its own security forces.

After all, every president from Bush to Obama to Trump has told us that advising the ASF is America’s number one priority and the key to a successful exit. Given that, one would think it rather important to face the truth about the utterly insufficient Afghan military and police force. Instead, it’s classified. You’re no longer allowed to know that discomfiting truth.

 

 

 

Then, last week, we were told that the US military will no longer track district-level insurgent or government control or influence. In other words, data on what percentage of the country is controlled by the Afghan government versus the Taliban. Sounds like vital info, no? Apparently, according to the US command in Afghanistan, that district data “was of limited decision-making value to the Commander.” That’s news to me! Even as a company commander, a lowly captain, I tracked and reported data on the relative security and stability of even individual villages in my sector. It’s how we knew if we were making progress or not!

So why would the Trump administration really decide to hide, or just stop tracking this pivotal information? Could it be that the Taliban has been progressively gaining ground and now control or contest more of the country – about 50 percent – than at any time in this 18-year-old war? Surely it’d be rather inconvenient to admit that the U.S.-backed regime in Kabul is losing control of half the country. The solution: stop keeping track altogether.

Seriously, rather than assess the data and decide either 1) that the situation on the ground demands a new strategy or more American investment; or 2) that the war is unwinnable and it was always an absurd pipe dream to think we could forge a Jeffersonian Democracy in remote Central Asia, and thus cut our losses and withdraw. Now, I’m a strong proponent of option two and have said so time and again. Still, at least option one would grapple with reality rather than ignore it.

Look, SIGAR is a government-sanctioned watchdog agency, not a touchy-feely human rights nonprofit. These aren’t hippie peaceniks, not by a long shot. Perhaps we should listen to what they have to say, because, well, it is really disturbing. Last week, John Sopko, the inspector general himself, asserted that “Almost every indicia, metric for success or failure is now classified or nonexistent…Over time, it’s been classified or it’s no longer being collected … The classification in some areas is needless.” Translation: we are losing the war and hiding that fact from the people! That’s a big deal, America!

There are other indicators that this war has run off the rails, and one suspects this data will also soon be classified or “no longer tracked.” For example, the fact that 2018 was the first year in which U.S. and allied Afghan forces killed more civilians than the Taliban. So much for winning hearts and minds. It seems Washington has taught Kabul to fight in its own image, confident – despite all the historical evidence to the contrary – that it can bomb its way to victory. Too bad killing innocent civilians is a sure way to alienate the populace and feed an insurgency. If you didn’t know any better, you might think Washington is trying to prolong the war indefinitely.

Remember that the owners of this country – the real owners in the corporate-military-industrial complex – count on your apathy. They count on a distracted populace. They count on you not caring so they can perpetuate ill-advised, counterproductive (but quite profitable) wars indefinitely. We’re through the looking glass, folks – sleepwalking to defeat on the inertia of uniquely American forever war. If we’re not careful we might lose our republic along with the war.

So I say let’s demand better for once. That we demand transparency and the truth about the war in Afghanistan. That we demand to know what is done in our name and what thousands have sacrificed their lives for. That would mean millions of calls to our congressmen, marching in the streets, shutting down the system if necessary. I can see it, almost like a dream – a sea of Americans saying no to a losing war, no to the plunder of our treasury, no to the gradual rollback of our civil liberties.

Only when I wake up from my daydream, gaze around the airport, and…everyone is too busy on their iPhones to care. And that’s the real America. So the war must go on…

Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer and regular contributor toAntiwar.com. His work has appeared in the LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, Truthdig, Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet.

Copyright 2019 Danny Sjursen

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Citizen’s Portal

LETTER TO EDITOR

June 17th, 2019

 

Citizen’s Portal

Col.Riaz Jafri (Retd)

 

I sent a request for a meeting with the PM through Citizens Portal on June 12th  2019 which was given Code No. PU120619-3072879 and its Status showed as “Initiated” and “assigned” to Chief Secretary, Punjab (probably for action).  I thought the request should have been forwarded to the PM Secretariat Islamabad and, therefore, wrote on the Citizen Portal about it on June 14th, 2019.

 

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However, instead of some other action taken on this  “complaint”, it was also automatically allotted Code No. 140619-3113873, Status “Initiated” and again assigned to the same Chief Secretary, Punjab.  I don’t know why something concerning the Prime Minister is being sent to the Chief Secretary, Punjab?!  I tried hard to find out any direct contact of the Citizens Portal, any phone No., any email ID, any contact of its Web Master, etc. to apprise them of what was happening to my request and to send it to the PM Sectt. and not to the CS Pb. but nothing is available either on the net or elsewhere.

 

It is 5th day now of my request and no action has been taken on it, at least I am not informed of any.  Could someone please advise what to do?    Thanks.

 

Col.Riaz Jafri (Retd)

30, Westridge-1,

Rawalpindi Cantt.

Rawalpindi 46000

Pakistan

E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

 

 

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