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Biden Commits To Forever War On Afghanistan by Moon Of Alabama

Biden Commits To Forever War On Afghanistan

By

Moon Of Alabama

February 24, 2021 
The forever war on Afghanistan will continue.

The U.S. and its NATO proxy force have spent nearly 20 years and a trillion dollars to “do something” in Afghanistan. What that something was to be was never clear. There were attempts to impose some kind of enlightened model of governance on the Afghan people. But anyone with knowledge of that country knew that this would never work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bribes were handed out left and right and Afghan warlords, many of whom hold government positions, enriched themselves by scamming the occupation forces. They naturally do not want that to end. There are also Afghans who do not want to live under the heel of corrupt warlords and ignorant occupation troops. They are called Taliban and get support from Pakistan and Arab countries which the U.S. calls ‘allies’. The occupation forces tried to fight them but after nearly 20 years of wars the Taliban again rule over half of the country. Even while the warlords still have military support from the occupation forces their troops are losing in nearly every engagement.

Militarily the war against the Taliban has long been lost. Even with the 100,000 ‘western’ troops the Obama administration had sent there was no way to win it.

President Donald Trump made efforts to end the useless war on Afghanistan. He negotiated with the Taliban to remove all ‘western’ forces by May 1. The agreement also commits the Taliban to not attacking those forces and to negotiate with the warlord government in Kabul on power sharing. They agreed to that after the U.S. promised that Taliban prisoners of war, held by the Afghan government, would be released.

The Afghan government had and has of course no interest in losing power. At least not as long as still gets sponsored by ‘western’ money. It also did not want to let prisoners go as those would just turn around and again fight against it. A year ago the Trump administration threatened to withhold money should the Afghan government not follow the negotiated terms:

Facing collapse of Afghan peace talks before they even start, the Trump administration has threatened to withhold up to $2 billion in aid unless President Ashraf Ghani and his main rival put aside their political differences and open negotiations with the Taliban.

The threat was the sharpest sign yet that the Trump administration is distancing itself from its Afghan ally and moving closer to the Taliban. The longtime U.S. adversary has in effect become a wary partner as President Trump seeks to withdraw thousands of American troops before the November election and end America’s longest war.

The Kabul government is heavily dependent on international assistance. U.S. aid was expected to total $4.3 billion this year, all but $500 million of which was earmarked for training and equipping the Afghan army.

The threat worked as expected. But when it became clear that a new management would take over the White House the Afghan government again tried to stall the process. Today the talks resumed but they are unlikely to achieve any results:

Peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government have resumed in the Qatari capital Doha after weeks of delays, escalating violence and a change in US diplomatic leadership as the Biden administration began.Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem tweeted on Monday night the resumption of the talks, which were the outcome of an agreement between the Afghan armed group and the US in February 2020.

But the administration of President Joe Biden is reviewing the agreement, which was aimed at ending the longest war the US has fought.

When talks ended abruptly in January, days after they began, both sides submitted their wish lists for agendas which they now have to sift through to agree on negotiation items and the order in which they will be tackled.

The priority for the Afghan government, Washington and NATO is a serious reduction in violence that can lead to a ceasefire, the Taliban have until now resisted any immediate ceasefire.

Washington is reviewing the Doha peace agreement the previous Trump administration signed with the Taliban as consensus mounts in Washington that a delay of the withdrawal deadline is needed. The Taliban have resisted suggestions of even a brief extension.

Without financial pressure there is no chance that the Afghan government and the Taliban will ever reach a power sharing deal. Even if there would be an agreement there is little chance that it will be upheld by all sides. The conflict would likely reignite and the Taliban would win.

The obvious consequence should be to just follow Trump’s plan and to leave as soon as possible.

But Trump was bad and thus the Biden administration is discussing three options:

If the US leaves in the next three months, it’s likely the Taliban will overrun the US-backed Afghan government and once again make life worse for millions of Afghans, especially women and children.Staying in Afghanistan just a little bit longer would likely delay that takeover, but would also expend any diplomatic capital the US has left with the Taliban and keep US troops in harm’s way.

Finally, violating the terms of the agreement and remaining indefinitely will almost certainly lead the Taliban to restart its campaign, put on hold ahead of the May 1 deadline, to kill American service members in the country.

Biden could follow Trump’s agreement with the Taliban and order the troops home. He could sell that as a victory and a fulfillment of a campaign promise.

But with the blob again in power that option had little chance to survive:

The opinion editors at The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal may not agree on much, but they are both determined to oppose bringing forces out of Afghanistan as our war there approaches its 20th anniversary, raising the specter of “withdrawing irresponsibly.” Meanwhile conservative establishmentarians like Washington Post columnist Max Boot, and his cohort on the center-left side of the dial, David Ignatius, as well as Madeleine Albright, make common cause for keeping troops in Afghanistan as Biden’s “best option.” Today’s “stay” advocates, which include Republicans like Lindsey Graham making the media rounds, may all be coming from different plot points on the Washington political grid, but keeping the United States committed to a desultory, unwinnable conflict unites them. Their messages are circulated and amplified by social media and establishment friendlies, and among big cable news outlets. Thus, a consensus is born.

The blob is usually fond of claims that “all options are on the table”. Here it was keen to take one away:

Multiple US officials told me in recent days that the administration’s Afghanistan policy review is nearing its end, with one telling me they expect Biden to make a decision “very soon.”“I don’t know which way the president will go,” said this official, who like others spoke with me on the condition of anonymity to talk freely about a sensitive national security deliberation. Another person familiar with the Afghanistan discussions told me it’s clear a full withdrawal by May 1 is “off the table.”

This again demonstrates that the U.S. is no longer agreement capable. By staying longer than May 1 the Biden administration will breach an international agreement the previous administration had made.  

It is unlikely that the Taliban will agree to a prolonged stay of any troops from such an unreliable entity. They will rescind the ceasefire and the war will again enter a bloody phase:

[F]ew think Biden will withdraw all US troops by May 1, which means he will be keeping US service members in the country with or without the Taliban’s approval. If he does it without their approval, that could lead the insurgents to attack and kill American personnel as they overtake major Afghan cities, perhaps even Kabul.At that point, withdrawing from Afghanistan would be harder, experts say, because the administration won’t want to look like it’s running away from the fight. A return to a larger war, then, would likely ensue, leading to more death and woes for the millions of Afghans who’ve already suffered tremendously.

Unfortunately the decision by the Biden administration was utterly predictable. The military-industrial complex will not allow a retreat from a profitable battlefield and Biden is way too weak to resist its pressure.

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Progress achieved by Pakistan in counter-terrorism Brig.Gen(R) Asif Haroon

Cold Start AF-Pak Fifth Generation War Doctrine Pakistan Facing Simultaneously

Progress achieved by Pakistan in counter-terrorism       

Brig.Gen(R) Asif Haroon

 

 

In the wake of the US war on terror initiated by the USA in end 2001, Pakistan which was made a US ally and a frontline state to combat terrorism have borne the brunt of terrorist attacks that have killed more than 70,000 people including women and children. Not only has Pakistan suffered in terms of losing precious lives, it has also sustained economic losses in its fight against terrorism that has risen to $126 billion in 2017-18, which is more than what the country has suffered in its wars with India. No other country, not even the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, can claim to have suffered such tremendous loss, both in terms of lives and money.

When Fazlullah made Swat-Malakand region into a state within a state in 2008/09, it led to Operation Rah-e- Rast on April 2009. A terrorist attack on GHQ on October 10 that year led to Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan. 17 out of 18 administrative units in the control of TTP were retaken after launching series of operations in six tribal agencies. A terrorist attack on Jinnah terminal at Karachi on June 9, 2014, led to the launching of Operation Zarb on June 15 in North Waziristan which had become the safe haven and strongest base of operation of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) affiliated with 66 proscribed militant groups.  Following the vicious terrorist attack on the Army Public School (APS) on December 16, 2014, which resulted in the death of 149 people including 132 school children, Pakistan clamped down hard on the terrorist networks in the country through sustained counterterrorism operations, as part of the National Action Plan (NAP).

These military operations have substantially improved the overall security situation in the country. All bases of operations and safe havens of militant organizations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) called PATA (provincially administered) have been dismantled and flushed out. The handlers, facilitators, financiers of terrorists spread in all parts of Pakistan are being systematically dealt with by the military through countrywide intelligence based Operation Raddul Fasad. Likewise sleeping cells are being eliminated. Another tangible step that has been initiated is the fencing of the western border to prevent cross-border infiltration. Border management is also being improved.  

Continuous intelligence-based operations and the stringent measures introduced under NAP including the re-institution of the death penalty, new cybercrime laws, the renewal of the Afghan Refugee Registration, the revival of the Pakistan Automated Fingerprint Identification System (PAFIS), and the establishment of the Integrated Border Management System (IBMS) to check cross-border infiltration of terrorists have today significantly eradicated terrorists, their networks and safe havens in the country.

To fix loopholes and strengthen the judicial system, a holistic approach was taken towards legislation for strengthening Pakistan’s anti-terrorism efforts.  Special military courts were established through the 21st amendment in the constitution of Pakistan for the purpose of speedy trials and to protect the judges who prosecute the terrorists. Eleven military courts were established and 388 cases have been transferred to these courts and their decisions have been forwarded to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of Pakistan Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for his approval of the award of the death sentence.[1] Military courts in Pakistan have sentenced 186 terrorists to death and issued verdicts for more than 300 terrorism-related cases.[2]

Another milestone achieved by NAP was strengthening of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) – an anti-terrorism institution established by the parliament in 2013 with the sole mandate of countering extremism and terrorism in the country. Regrettably, it remained un-effective until it was made part of the NAP. Following the zero-tolerance policy after the APS attack, NACTA pursued its mandate and jurisdiction with unparalleled vigour and etched the policies addressing the state’s goals in countering terrorism. A special budget of Rs. 1545.5 million was allocated in 2016-17, and in 2017-2018 Rs. 1643.019 million was demanded, however only Rs. 530.839 have been released. A Joint Intelligence Directorate has also been staffed in NACTA for the purpose of enhancing coordination and intelligence sharing mechanism among the provinces.[3]

The NAP which has a 20-point agenda has also taken a rigorous stance in dealing with the matter of sectarian violence, religious intolerance and extremism. As a result, 1373 cases were registered after 2014 regarding hate speech and publication of literature inciting religious sentiments. Around 2,566 persons were arrested against 1373 cases and 70 shops were sealed. Moreover, 19,895 cases have been registered pertaining to misuse of loudspeakers, 20,679 persons were arrested and 8,759 pieces of equipment have been confiscated.[4] Sectarian violence surged in the country in the last two decade, sacrilegious and hate speech were the main causes of creating sectarian violence. NAP ensured the misuse of loudspeaker would not be tolerated and fiery speeches were banned. It is the fruit of NAP that in 2012, 185 sectarian attacks were recorded while in 2018 only two attacks were witnessed on the mainstream.[5]

Steps have also been taken to check terror financing. Before the inception of the NAP, there was no robust mechanism available to monitor terrorist funding activities. The terrorists could freely manipulate huge funds received by their sympathizers and stakeholders. They could receive huge sums of money through charities, NGOs, and international fund transfers, narcotics trade, and extortion. In an effort to overcome this drawback, NACTA took an initiative to choke the funding activities of terrorists and established a Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in every province and it became an integral part of investigations. Furthermore, HUNDI/HUWALA transactions were also monitored and 919 cases were registered, 1209 persons were arrested and Rs. 1489.918 million was recovered. Another 426 cases were registered and 574 were arrested under money laundering charges.[6]

NAP took effective measures to counter the re-emergence of proscribed organizations. Until now, 66 organizations have been declared as illegal and 4 are under observation, while 7,966 individuals have been placed under section IV of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. The government has so far frozen 4,962 accounts with over Rs. 93,980 million. Over 2,052 persons are also facing travel restrictions.[7]

NAP provided a strong mechanism to establish skilled anti-terrorist force in all provinces with an aim to reduce the burden from the police and to combat terrorists. Presently, out of 7200 sanctioned force, 6,038 security personnel are working all around Pakistan in different provinces.[8]

Effective steps have also been taken to promote pluralism and diversity. The federal government has directed all the provincial governments to protect the lives and honour of all non-Muslims minorities. Their shops and places of worship are now secured by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA’s), and all discrimination and biases have been expunged from the curricula.

Approximately 32,272 religious seminaries were functional all around the country. To address the issue of illegal seminaries, NACTA in collaboration with Ittihad-e-Tanzim-e-Madaris Pakistan has streamlined the Madrassas. The registration and data forms have been generated to keep a record of Madrassas. Islamabad Punjab and Sindh have already carried out 100% geo-mapping (Special software technology that records data with visuals) on agreed parameters, while Baluchistan (80%), FATA (90%), and KPK (95%). Geo-mapping of all places of worships has also been undertaken. [9]

FATA became a stronghold of the militant organizations like TTP. Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched to eliminate terrorism and bring reforms in the region. Army played a key role in managing internally displaced persons lodged in makeshift camps and in the resettlement of over 15 lacs displaced people and in the reconstruction of destroyed houses and property. The recent merger of FATA with KPK and abolishment of Frontier Crimes Regulations is a milestone achieved by all the major political parties of the country as well as the Army. Only Fazlur Rahman led Jamiatul Islam and Achakzai led PkMAP to have reservations about the merger.

Cellular technology was also exploited by the criminals, terrorists and affiliated organizations. There was no restriction on a person from having a number of Sim cards and the registration process was inadequate to meet the standards. NAP’s point 13 deals with dismantling communication network of terrorists. A colossal exercise was conducted and 98.3 million unregistered and illegal Sim cards were blocked.[10] A new system was introduced by the authorities to streamline the Sim card registration process by working closely with NADRA and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. NACTA has also been granted special permission to block mobile services on special occasions.

NAP has also successfully addressed the growing issues of social media and electronic crime. In order to filter the social media and enable a strong vigilance, a special act of ‘Prevention of Electronic Crime’ was passed in 2016. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and NACTA are now working closely to monitor the internet traffic, monitoring electronic crimes, and trace and shut down the sites that advocate extremism. Till March 2018, approximately 1447 websites have been blocked which exhibits extremism and hate.[11]

During the 1980s and 1990s, Punjab witnessed a lot of bloodshed and sectarian violence because of fallout effects of 10-year Afghan war followed by civil war in Afghanistan. The growing Punjabi militias also had deep connections with Al-Qaeda and TTP. It was an alarming situation and required a special attention to protect the citizenry of Punjab and other provinces. NAP has shown zero tolerance to these groups in Punjab, and according to the Punjab Home Department Reports, a total of 91,666 combing operations were conducted between 2014-March 2018 all across Punjab, 400 terrorists were hanged under Pakistan Penal Code, 275 terrorists were killed in encounters with Police/CTD/LEAs, 897 were arrested by Police/Counter-Terrorism Departments and 68,957 terrorists were entered in Digital Databank of Police/CTDs.[12]

Metropolis like Karachi was also bleeding at the hands of terrorists and criminals, thanks to MQM-PPP unholy collaboration and involvement of RAW. Sindh Rangers backed by Army and intelligence agencies and NAP have worked hard to bring the Karachi operation to its logical conclusion. The post 2013 era in Karachi witnessed growing peace and stability. In three years only, target killings  decreased by 97%, murder rate decreased by 87%, robberies were decreased by 52%, terrorist activities were decreased by 98%, and the bank robberies  decreased by 72%, overall robberies decreased by 52%.[13]  

Baluchistan also witnessed a policy shift by Islamabad towards it, since the province was lagging behind in literacy, health and other basic facilities. Terrorists, extremists, separatists and other militants filled this developmental vacuum and started exploiting Baluchistan and curbing the state’s writ. In 2009, Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Baluchistan package was launched by the government to ensure Baluchistan’s representation in public institutions and fulfil its demands. For this purpose, scholarships have been allocated to the Baluch students, 13,200 Baluch youth have been inducted in the army and many others were inducted in FIA, Utility Store Corporations, Civil Defence Department, Planning and Development Department, Anti-Narcotics Force and Ministry of Defense. A special quota has also been reserved for the Baluch in all employment. Baluchistan Frontier Corps assisted by Army, other paramilitary forces and police played a commendable role in smothering the dangerous agenda of separatism backed by foreign powers.

In November 2017, a ‘Khushal Baluchistan’ initiative was launched to improve socio-economic as well as security conditions in the province. The government of Baluchistan has also initiated a dialogue with the exiled Baloch separatist leaders. A large number of separatists have given up their weapons, while their reconciliation and rehabilitation is still in process.

Repatriation of Afghan refugees was also a major challenge for the NAP to address. The last federal government approved the Repatriation and Management Policy in February 2017 and NADRA was assigned to identify the illegal Afghan refugees and register an accurate number of refugees present in the country. A tripartite agreement for voluntary repatriation program (the largest program ever recorded by the UNHCR) was also initiated.  Till March 2018, 176,000 cases of illegal immigrants were identified and 1.38 million Afghan refugees were recorded and under Tripartite Agreement around 4.3 million have returned to their homes since 2002.[14]

NAP is being implemented with full commitment and vigour in coordination with all provinces, security agencies and other stakeholders. The effective implementation of NAP has registered significant improvements in overall law and order and internal security situation in the country, including a nose dive decline in terrorist incidents from a high of 2060 terrorist attacks in 2010 to around 370 attacks in 2017. A lot of sweat and blood has gone into this herculean effort. Ordinary Pakistani citizens have also stood behind their police, military and their intelligence agencies, never faltering in their resolve to defeat terrorists and their twisted ideas. While terrorists have been pushed back and areas reclaimed, efforts to defeat militant mindset have already begun as per the vision of the National Action Plan.

While Pakistan Army and ISI fought the war on terror singlehanded under extremely adverse conditions and achieved laudable results in spite of extensive foreign interference, tense civil-military relations, political instability, weak economy, ethnicity, religious divide, lack of rule of law, defects in criminal justice system and sold out media, the US led ISAF in Afghanistan that had military contingents from 48 countries of the world including 28 countries of NATO and had resources in abundance, failed to deliver. Pakistan military helped the ISAF in incapacitating Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan by handing over more than 600 leaders and operatives to the USA.

The US strategic partners India, Afghanistan and Israel have a big role in pushing the US military to the precipice of defeat in Afghanistan and in making the USA the most hated country in the world responsible for making the world a dangerous place to live. Whatever semblance of prestige that was left has been soiled by Donald Trump. He is not only a security risk to the USA but also to the world at large.    

Today, the US and its puppet regime in Kabul are in dire strait and unable to confront the onslaught of spring offensive launched by the Afghan Taliban. Their policy of achieving objectives through the use of excessive force has boomeranged. To cover up their embarrassment and hide their ineptness, fiascos and botches, Pakistan has been made into a convenient scapegoat and is held responsible for all their failures. Continued instability in Afghanistan is attributed to so-called safe havens of Haqqani network and Afghan Taliban in Pakistan. So far not a single hideout has been pointed out since there is none. To maximize pressure, India has kept the Line of Control in Kashmir hot, is breaking all records of human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and has resorted to water terrorism. Kabul has been poised aggressively toward Pakistan.

‘Do more” mantra was sung by the USA for years and Pakistani leaders did its bidding obediently, naively thinking that by doing so it will make Pakistan safe. Gen Bajwa put an end to it by refusing to play their dirty game aimed at bleeding Pakistan and making it a failed state. He said that Pakistan has done enough and will not do any more and its now the turn of others to do more. His defiance is being described as ‘Bajwa doctrine’.

Finding themselves in a big dilemma, Pakistan was constantly threatened by Indo-US-Afghan nexus of dire consequences if it didn’t change its defiant stance. India and USA have been making efforts to place Pakistan on blacklist by Financial Action Task Force (FATF) this month so that the US and UN could impose sanctions.   And when Pakistan didn’t budge, the belligerent regimes in Washington and Kabul descended from their high horses and entreated Pakistan to help in achieving temporary peace in Afghanistan.

Monstrous Fazlullah who was enjoying the hospitality and patronage of CIA, NDS and RAW since July 2009 was droned on June 14 in his safe haven of Kunar so as to earn the goodwill of Pakistan. His death will make little difference since another monster Mufti Noor Wali Mahsud has replaced him and safe havens at Kunar, Nuristan and Nangarhar are still intact, while Khalid Khurasani heading Jamaatul Ahrar, Faqir Muhammad heading TTP Bajaur chapter and Mangal Bagh heading Lashkar-e-Islam are under their good care.

Besides the fractured TTP, the US has brought in Daesh (ISIS) to reinvigorate war on terror in Pakistan. Fencing of the border is being objected to and fence erectors often fired upon. Pakistan is also subjected to 5th generation war to create divisions in society, inject political instability, chaos and anarchy and foment civil war.  The focus of enemies of Pakistan is on Pak Army and ISI, the two institutions that could not be penetrated.

The sole aim of sponsored Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) led by Pashteen Mehsud is to undermine the achievements and sacrifices of the Army and to discredit it in the eyes of the Pashtuns in particular. PTM is being backed by India, Afghanistan, USA, West and Israel as well as by Asfand Wali led ANP, PkMAP, NGOs and liberals in Pakistan.

The effects of the 5th generation silent war are being felt by the people of Pakistan that have largely been mind-cloned through media war. Intolerance levels have peaked, while polarization among the mainstream parties has climaxed. Despite the sustained bashing of PML-N and the dice is heavily loaded in favour of PTI, the former bereft of its leader is still intact and ready to contest the elections.  For the first time, there is infighting among all the major political parties over the distribution of tickets for general elections due on July 25. With the political temperature touching boiling point, it is feared that there might be bloody clashes during the election campaign and on polling day or after the announcement of results. Analysts are not ruling out the possibility of occurrence of a political logjam due to a hung parliament, or the losers refusing to accept poll results and opting for strikes and arson.

What makes things ominous for Pakistan is the dangerous agenda of enemies of Pakistan which under no circumstances would allow nuclear Muslim Pakistan knotted with China due to CPEC and other mutually beneficial geo-strategic interests and inclined to get aligned with Russia to become militarily strong and to achieve political stability and economic prosperity. The CPEC is isolating USA, India and Afghanistan and is paving the way for the emergence of China-Russia-Pakistan-Iran-Central Asia economic bloc. Under the circumstances, it is vital for the interim government under Nasirul Mulk to hold timely, transparent, fair and free elections and for the Army to ensure law and order and smooth political transition.

References    

[1]       The sun has set on Pakistan’s military courts — here’s why it should never rise again, https://www.dawn.com/news/1306792, Mar 06, 2017.

[2]       More than 180 convicts sentenced to death by military tribunals in Pakistan since 2015, March 18, 2018

        https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/03/18/more-than-180-convicts-sentenced-to-death-by-military-tribunals-in-pakistan-since-2015/

[3]       Directorate Office of NACTA.

[4]       Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018.

[5]       Ibid.

[6]       426 cases of money laundering registered: NACTA,https://timesofislamabad.com/03-Feb-2018/426-cases-of-money-laundering-registered-nacta, 03 Feb 2018

[7]       Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018

[8]       Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018

[9]       Rukhshan Mir, 100 % Geo-mapping Of Religious Seminaries In ICT, Punjab, Sindh Completed, , https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/100-geo-mapping-of-religious-seminaries-in-257202.html08th February 2018.

[10]     Saad Ahmed Dogar, What has NAP achieved so far?

        https://tribune.com.pk/story/1307640/nap-achieved-far/January 30, 2017

[11]     Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018

[12]     Directorate office of Punjab Home Department

[13]     Cultivating Peace National Action Plan, NACTA Report, 21 March 2018

[14]     Ibid.

 

The writer is a retired Brig Gen, a war veteran, defence analyst, columnist and author of five books. He is Vice Chairman Pakistan Thinkers Forum, Director Measac Research Centre and member of Executive Committee Tehrik Jawanan Pakistan. Email: asifharoonraja@gmail.com

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Peshawar School Attack: What the Measures Require By Sajjad Shaukat

                                  Peshawar School Attack: What the Measures Require

                                                           Gen Raheel Sharif

 

In one of the bloodiest-ever terror attacks in Pakistan, Taliban militants mercilessly killed at least 141 people, including 132 children and nine staff members of the Army Public School and College in Peshawar, on December 16, this year. According to witnesses, the six militants went from classroom to classroom, shooting children, and burnt a lady teacher alive, forcing the students to watch it. After eight hours operation, Pak Army’s commandos cleared the school area, and six militants were killed.

 

On the same day, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the ghastly act at Peshawar school.

 

Taking this major terror assault as our 9/11, an attack on Pakistan’s future, its young sons and daughters, nation observed three-day mourning, while businesses remained closed in various cities of the country. The members of civil societies and academic institutes hold special prayers to remember the young victims of the atrocious terror attack.

 

Besides condemnation by the foreign rulers and prominent figures, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Raheel Sharif and leader of the Opposition, Khursheed Shah including those of various political and religious parties strongly condemned the heinous attack at the Peshawar school. PTI Chief Imran Khan called off the December 18 countrywide shutdown, and also decided to cooperate with the government against terrorism.

 

However, after this inhuman gruesome tragedy, question arises as to what measures require to eliminate terrorism from the country. In this regard, some steps have already been taken, while some needs to be implemented in its true spirit.

 

In this context, Army Chief Gen. Raheel accompanied by DG ISI rushed to Kabul on December 17. Resources suggest that during his meeting with his Afghan counterpart and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as well as the ISAF commander, he presented evidence of the Peshawar massacre’s linkage with TTP sanctuaries in Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. He also asked the extradition of Mullah Fazlluah, and handing over to Pakistan. In response, Afghan rulers and ISAF commander assured him to take action against the TTP.

 

Nevertheless, new Afghan regime must take cognizance of the fact that Afghanistan is responsible for terrorists’ penetration into Pakistan. Since April, 2011, some 200 to 400 heavily-armed militants from Afghanistan’s side entered Pakistan’s region, from time to time, and targeted the security check posts, civil and military infrastructure of the tribal areas. So far, these terrorists have killed several personnel of Pakistan’s security forces.

 

In fact, Afghanistan has become a hub of anti-Pakistan activities from where external secret agencies, especially Indian RAW are sending logistic support to Baloch separatist elements and TTP insurgents in Pakistan. Posing themselves as Pakistani Taliban, these enemies have joined TTP and other banned extremist outfits. In the recent years, especially TTP’s insurgents and its affiliated banned groups conducted many terror-activities in various regions of the country like suicide attacks, ruthless beheadings of tribesmen, assaults on security personnel and prominent figures including Shias, Ahmadis, Sufis, Christians and Sikhs as part of the scheme to create chaotic situation in the country.

 

It is notable that huge numbers of Afghan refuges have taken shelter in Pakistan, and some of them are also suspected to be involved in terror-activities. Therefore, Afghan refugees must immediately be sent back to Afghanistan.

 

In the aftermath of the Peshawar school attack, there arose the need of immediate execution of outstanding cases of death penalty to terrorists. In this respect, it is good sign that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif revoked the ban on capital punishment in terrorism cases following which the terrorists facing death penalty could be executed.

 

The nation also expects that politicians should show no politics on the blood of innocent children. For the purpose, leaders of all the top political parties including PTI Chief Imran Khan attended a meeting of the parliamentary parties convened by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss the situation after the deadly attack at a school in Peshawar. Setting aside his differences, Imran Khan ended PTI’s 126-day sit-in at Islamabad to give a clear message that the whole nation stands united against terrorism. However, all the leaders pledged to eliminate menace of terrorism, and it has been unanimously decided to form a parliamentary committee to chalk out a “Plan of Action” in seven days which would be approved by the political and military leadership.

 

Some analysts opine that like the previous anti-terrorism legislation or law, the Action Plan will not be implemented in its true letter and spirit. And the government needs the emergency which means ‘National Emergency’ to fight this menace on war footing, and not ‘Declared Extra Constitutional Emergency.’ They also say that if huge funds are available for motorway and other similar projects as to why not for law-enforcing and intelligence agencies which are fighting against the militants. So the security agencies including Police must be upgraded.

 

Besides, media should be sensitized to play its due role in the fight against terrorism. It must be on low profile to avoid national demoralization, as careful reporting by media without glorifying terrorist acts is need of the hour. For the purpose, extremist people like Maulana Abdul Aziz (Lal Masjid) and Hafiz Saeed may not be given undue space by the media.

 

Undoubtedly, in our country, the victims of terror attacks and suicide bombings have been innocent men, women and children. Their families mourn and raise a question asking for what crime their loved ones were punished in a way. Regrettably, those entities which try to justify terrorism and suicide bombings in the name of Islam are misguiding the people.

 

In this context, while taking note of terrorists’ suicide attacks in Middle East and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti (Mufti-e-Azam),Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh issued a Fatwa (Religious verdict), asserting that suicide attacks are illegal and illegitimate (HARAM).” He explained, “Such acts fall under the category of crime and suicide bombers or terrorists represent an adversary of Islam and enemy of Muslims…they commit crimes against humanity, while misguiding other Muslims.” Denouncing terrorism as un-Islamic, he pointed out that terrorists’ activities are part of a conspiracy to defame Islam and destroy Muslims.

Islam considers killing one innocent person equal to murdering the entire humanity, while Jihad is a sacred obligation, but its real spirit needs to be understood clearly, as murdering innocent women and children is not Jihad. These foreign-backed Taliban, particularly of the TTP and their banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam and are weakening Pakistan.

 

And, Pakistan’s religious clerics (Ulema) and Islamic scholars who have condemned the terror attack at Peshawar school must continue to issue joint or separate fatwa against these brutal militants. Different factions must hold collective conferences on faith related issues and society be organized to fight these criminal elements. From time to time, while condemning the militants’ inhuman activities as un-Islamic practices, Pakistan’s various Ulema have clarified in their joint fatwa, and separate statements that “killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings including sectarianism are against the spirit of Islam…the terrorists’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing, but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion.” They explained, “Islam does not forbid women’s education.”

 

As regards terrorism, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have almost defeated the ferocious terrorists, particularly of the TTP by clearing the areas of North Waziristan Agency by military operation Zarb-e-Azb which is rapidly achieving its objectives. Although the operation has full support of the civil government, opposition parties, Ulema and media including all other segments of society and general masses who are united against terrorism, yet they need to display practical unity against these zealots who seek to create anarchy in the country to accomplish their self-motivated agenda at the direction of Pakistan’s enemies.

 

Meanwhile, ISPR DG Maj-Gen. Asim Bajwa said that taking note of the Peshawar school attack, Gen. Raheel Sharif has himself started supervising the military action against terrorists, and as part of the operation, at least 57 terrorists were killed during air strikes on December 17 in Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency. Gen. Raheel also stated, “We are extremely saddened, but our resolve has taken new height”, and added “We will continue to go after the inhuman beasts, their facilitators till their final elimination.”

 

Nonetheless, the mass murder of children at Peshawar school is a manifestation of the most barbaric face of the Taliban insurgency led by TTP. While taking solid measures, the government must employ a comprehensive strategy to eliminate terrorism. In this regard, counter-terrorism strategy or the Action Plan must be enacted and implemented without losing more time. And, this different war needs unified front of all the segments of society, which is essential to defeat the ruthless enemy of Pakistan including their external agents.

 

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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OUR HEARTS BLEED: WE ARE NUMB: India Funded & Trained Taliban Butchers Slaughtered Our Babies : Peshawar school attack leaves 141 dead

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In Loving Memory 

Butcher Taliban: Peshawar school attack leaves 141 dead

 

 

 

 

 

Militants from the Pakistani Taliban have attacked a school in Peshawar, killing 141 people, 132 of them children, the military say.

Pakistani officials say the attack is now over, with all of the attackers killed. A total of seven militants took part, according to the army.

Scores of survivors are being treated in hospitals as frantic parents search for news of their children.

The attack is the deadliest ever by the Taliban in Pakistan.

There has been chaos outside hospital units to which casualties were taken, the BBC’s Shaimaa Khalil reports from Peshawar.

Bodies have been carried out of hospitals in coffins, escorted by crowds of mourners, some of them visibly distraught.

Mourners carry the coffin of a student from a hospital in Peshawar, 16 December
Coffins are being carried out of Peshawar hospitals
 
Empty coffins stacked at a hospital in Peshawar, 16 DecemberEmpty coffins were delivered to a hospital in Peshawar in readiness for the removal of the dead
Relatives comfort injured student Mohammad Baqair in Peshawar, 16 DecemberSchool pupil Mohammad Baqair lost his mother, a teacher, in the attack

A Taliban spokesman told BBC Urdu that the school, which is run by the army, had been targeted in response to army operations.

Hundreds of Taliban fighters are thought to have died in a recent military offensive in North Waziristan and the nearby Khyber area.

US President Barack Obama condemned the “horrific attack (…) in the strongest possible terms”.

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Analysis: Aamer Ahmed Khan, BBC News

This brutal attack may well be a watershed for a country long accused by the world of treating terrorists as strategic assets.

Pakistan’s policy-makers struggling to come to grips with various shades of militants have often cited a “lack of consensus” and “large pockets of sympathy” for religious militants as a major stumbling-block.

That is probably why, when army chief Gen Raheel Sharif launched what he called an indiscriminate operation earlier in the year against militant groups in Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt, the political response was lukewarm at best.

We will get them, was his message, be they Pakistani Taliban, Punjabi Taliban, al-Qaeda and affiliates, or most importantly, the dreaded Haqqani network. But the country’s political leadership chose to remain largely silent. This is very likely to change now.

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BBC map, showing the army school in Peshawar
Relatives wait outside a hospital in Peshawar, 16 December
Anxious family members crowded around Peshawar hospitals
Soldiers help evacuate children
Troops helped evacuate children from the school
Injured student being evacuatedA total of 114 people were injured

Military spokesman Asim Bajwa told reporters in Peshawar that 132 children and nine members of staff had been killed.

All seven of the attackers wore suicide bomb vests, he said. Scores of people were also injured.

It appears the militants scaled walls to get into the school and set off a bomb at the start of the assault.

Children who escaped say the militants then went from one classroom to another, shooting indiscriminately.

One boy told reporters he had been with a group of 10 friends who tried to run away and hide. He was the only one to survive.

Others described seeing pupils lying dead in the corridors. One local woman said her friend’s daughter had escaped because her clothing was covered in blood from those around her and she had lain pretending to be dead.

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Deadly attacks in Pakistan

Mourners after the Peshawar church attack, 22 September 2013

16 December 2014: Taliban attack on school in Peshawar leaves at least 141 people dead, 132 of them children

22 September 2013: Militants linked to the Taliban kill at least 80 peopleat a church in Peshawar, in one of the worst attacks on Christians

10 January 2013: Militant bombers target the Hazara Shia Muslim minority in the city of Quetta, killing 120 at a snooker hall and on a street

28 May 2010: Gunmen attack two mosques of the minority Ahmadi Islamic sect in Lahore, killing more than 80 people

18 October 2007: Twin bomb attack at a rally for Benazir Bhutto in Karachi leaves at least 130 dead. Unclear if Taliban behind attack

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A hospital doctor treating injured children said many had head and chest injuries.

Irshadah Bibi, a woman who lost her 12-year-old son, was seen beating her face in grief, throwing herself against an ambulance.

“O God, why did you snatch away my son?” AFP news agency quoted her as saying.

An injured girl is carried to hospital in Peshawar, 16 December
Some of the injured were carried to hospital in people’s arms
Children fleeing the school
Both girls and boys went to the school
Pakistani troops at the scene
Troops sealed off the area around the school

The school is near a military complex in Peshawar. The city, close to the Afghan border, has seen some of the worst of the violence during the Taliban insurgency in recent years.

Many of the students were the children of military personnel. Most of them would have been aged 16 or under.

Hundreds of parents are outside the school waiting for news of their children, according to Wafis Jan from the Red Crescent

Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani Nobel laureate who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for the right to an education, condemned the attack.

“I, along with millions of others around the world, mourn these children, my brothers and sisters, but we will never be defeated,” she said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has arrived in Peshawar, described the attack as a “national tragedy”. Pakistani opposition leader and former cricket captain Imran Khan condemned it as “utter barbarism”.

A Taliban spokesman was quoted by Reuters as saying the school had been attacked because the “government is targeting our families and females”.

India Training Terrorists For Attack In Pakistan

 

 0  0  4  0karachi airport attackThe fact that India has been training militants and then sending them to Pakistan for terrorist activities is not new. There have been various incidents in the past that have endorsed this suspicion. In the recent attack on the Karachi airport, the Involvement of foreign terrorists has been brought to surface. An Italian journalist has investigated the case of Indian involvement in the terrorist activities in Pakistan which has been an eye opener on this matter as this journalist is also a witness of the horrifying Indian project of terrorism in Pakistan.

 

According to the reports of the Italian journalist, an Indian training camp has been established near Tajikistan at Farkhore airbase and Aini airbase, where the young recruits of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are trained and sent to Pakistan for terrorist attacks. Indian secret agencies are recruiting individuals from the deprived sections of the society, who are enticed through a job on a heavy salary and their families are paid a handsome amount for their recruitment. These young men are given a lavish living in these camps and a religious Indian instructor gives them religious education based on extremism, terrorism and hate against Pakistan to brain wash these individuals.

These Indian instructors are fluent in Uzbek and Tajik languages. They instil concepts against Pakistan in these individuals and make them believe that Pakistan is responsible for the sufferings of the Muslims all over the world. They also make them believe that India is a supporter of religious harmony and peace and that its existence has been threatened by the nuclear ability of Pakistan. The instructor takes three weeks to instil these ideas into the minds of these recruits.

The recruits are then asked if they are ready for Jihad against Pakistan. Those answering with a ‘yes’ are given double the salary and are sent to training camps where they are prepared for attacks within 4 to 6 months. Those who are still not willing for attacks are then sent for further brain washing to India. The recruits are taught to use automatic weaponry and how to handle explosives. They are given gorilla training as well. During these camps, Indian girls are brought into these camps who mesmerize these individuals through their beauty and help them forget their worries completely.

After the completion of their training, the recruits are brought to India and then entered into the tribal areas of Pakistan via Afghanistan. According to reports, recruits from Fata and Balochistan are also included with these foreign recruits to make them feel at home. These camps have been operating since 2005, although their establishment was intended since 2002. But this fact has not been confessed at the government level which has still made this matter unidentifiable.

 

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Terrorism is Mother of Evils and Sufferings By Sajjad Shaukat

                                       Terrorism is Mother of Evils and Sufferings

                                                           By Sajjad Shaukat

Terrorism is the mother of all evils and root cause of Muslims’ sufferings in general and Pakistan in Particular.

 

Terrorists have maligned the name of Islam to have acceptability to their inhuman actions with a view to generating semblance of legitimacy.

 

Suicide bombers are mostly juveniles, oblivious of the fact that suicide is ‘HARAM’ (Illegitimate) in Islam. Allah (God) says, kill not yourselves. Surely Allah is merciful…and cast not yourselves into ruin with your own hands. Suicide bombers are not only killing themselves, but are also killing innocent human beings.

 

covert-war-against-pakistanWhile taking note of terrorists’ suicide attacks in Middle East and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti (Mufti-e-Azam),Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh issued a Fatwa (Religious verdict), asserting that suicide attacks are illegal and illegitimate (HARAM).” He explained, “Such acts fall under the category of crime and suicide bombers or terrorists represent an adversary of Islam and enemy of Muslims…they commit crimes against humanity, while misguiding other Muslims.” Denouncing terrorism as un-Islamic, he pointed out that terrorists’ activities are part of a conspiracy to defame Islam and destroy Muslims.

 

However, in the recent years, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliated banned outfits conducted many terror-activities in Pakistan like suicide attacks, ruthless beheadings of tribesmen, assaults on security personnel and prominent figures including Shias, Ahmadis, Sufis, Christians and Sikhs. Contrary to the teachings on the importance of gaining education and knowledge in Islam, these terrorists have destroyed and torched more than 1,000 schools and mosques in Pakistan. They also attacked the female teachers in order to deny education to girls. Besides, terror-attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, Balochistan and Karachi are part of the scheme to create chaotic situation in the country. Indian Consulates in Afghanistan are also playing a very negative role in supporting TTP and Baloch separatists.

 

Unknown-2In this respect, choosing Pakistani venue for targeting innocent public by a suicide attack at Wagha border in Lahore, on November 2, 2014, while flag ceremony was being conducted on both sides of the border is testament to TTP’s terrorists’ hidden agenda and allegiance to the enemies of Pakistan. Besides, India is also encouraging TTP factions showing allegiance for DAISH ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), to get united.

 

images-59Terrorism has caused massive damage to the prosperity of Pakistan during last 14 years. In this context, the Parliamentary Secretary for Interior, Maryam Aurangzeb informed the National Assembly on December 19, 2014, “Extremist groups have been active throughout the country with their own ideology…Pakistan which has been major victim of terrorism has suffered a loss of almost 80 billion dollars including loss of 50,000 precious lives of civilians and security agencies…huge collateral damage during the decade long war against terrorism.”

 

Undoubtedly, in our country, the victims of terror attacks and suicide bombings have been innocent men, women and children. Regrettably, those militant entities like TTP, which try to justify terrorism and suicide bombings in the name of Islam, are misguiding the people, while these brutal acts are clearly against the teachings of Islam.

 

From time to time, while condemning the militants’ inhuman activities as undemocratic and un-Islamic practices, Pakistan’s various Ulema (Islamic scholars) have clarified in their joint fatwa, and separate statements that “killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings including sectarianism are against the spirit of Islam…the terrorists’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing, but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion.” They explained, “Islam does not forbid women’s education.”

 

While, Islam is a Deen or Faith of universal application, as it emphasizes peace, democracy, moderation and human rights including tolerance of political groups, religious communities and sects which are in minority in a country. It also permits periodic reinterpretation of Islamic teachings which is called Ijtihad.

 

The Constitution of 1973 which was unanimously adopted, clearly states that Pakistan is basically a democracy guided by the Islamic principles and values—no law would be made contrary to Quran and Sunnah.

 

Notably, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his sermon at Hajjatul Wida issued directions for protection of life, property and dignity of the whole mankind. The sermon became a charter of democracy which was included in the constitutions of the western elected governments in one way or the other.

 

In fact, Islam and democracy have co-relationship with each other. Diversified people and Ulema participate in the system of representatives, which does not exclude or discriminate any one on basis of caste, creed and sect. It does not confine religion to mosque.

 

Islam considers killing one innocent person equal to murdering the entire humanity, while Jihad is a sacred obligation, but its real spirit needs to be understood clearly, as killing innocent women and children is not Jihad. By playing in the hands of anti-Pakistan foreign countries, especially Indian secret agency RAW, the TTP and its banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam.

 

Every one knows that terrorism caused political instability, economic crisis, social strife and sectarian divide in Pakistan. And, terrorists are foreign-paid killers, having foreign agenda, while, Islam condemns terrorism in any form.

 

it is mentionable that Pakistan’s Armed Forces have almost defeated the ferocious terrorists, particularly of the TTP by clearing the areas of North Waziristan Agency by military operation Zarb-e-Azb which has broken the backbone of the insurgents, and is rapidly been achieving its objectives. The operation has full support of the civil government, opposition parties and Ulema including all other segments of society and general masses who are united against terrorism. In this regard, DG, ISPR Directorate, Major-Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa had stated, “Armed forces of Pakistan have launched the operation against terrorists…who had been waging a war against the state of Pakistan by disrupting our national life in all its dimensions…with the support of the entire nation, these enemies will be denied space across the country.”

 

Optimistically speaking, Pakistan can soon be on the road to prosperity, a secure country to invest, a peaceful place for tourists to visit, provided the terrorism which is mother of evils and sufferings is eliminated from its roots.

 

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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