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Archive for category US Attacks on Pakistan

The US Dictates to Pakistan: Complicating the Already Complexed Afghan War by Ishaal Zehra

The US Dictates to Pakistan: Complicating the Already Complexed Afghan War

Ishaal Zehra

 

 

 

Costs of War

Death toll from war in Afghanistan and Pakistan climbs to 173,000

Brown University Study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The US war in Afghanistan has entered into its 17th consecutive year of dismay. It is learnt that this winter, Afghan security forces have intensified their operations against the rogue elements despite heavy snow and bitter cold instead of a usual slowdown in fighting during Afghanistan’s harsh winter tide.

Would it prove effective or not will be reckoned with time, however, the cause of fretfulness remains that even after 16 years of war, with thousands dead and innumerable wounded, it still has no clear end in sight. The summer of 2017 has been a bloody one in Afghanistan, with the death toll nearing a thousand. On the word of the United Nations, the number of civilians killed in this six-month period touched an eight-year record high.

So much so that even the senior associate at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Michael Kugelman voiced the grim reality that despite this immense sacrifice in lives and resources, the chief gains from the Afghan war’s early years have effectively been reversed.

The US has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in Afghanistan since 2001 on a war that has been subsisting on the lives of more than 2,400 American soldiers and over 31,000 Afghan civilians. Estimated number of causalities are as high as 43,362 which includes Afghan security forces, coalition troops and nearly 2,000 Contractors. Undoubtedly, what Dominic Tierney wrote in 2015 while describing the situation at home is still valid today. He said, raising the topic of Afghanistan is like mentioning mortality. There’s a profound desire to change the subject.

These figures represented the war state down to the middle of 2016. Today, in 2018, when the war continues to drag on into its 17th year, the situation is even worse. Bill Roggio, editor of FDD’s Long War Journal, confirmed in the US congressional testimony in April 2017 that “The Taliban … today holds more ground in the country since the US ousted the jihadists in early 2002”. With all the stated data and the bitter ground realities, an announcement by President Trump declaring further escalation in the war came as a total surprise for all the interest groups in the Afghan war.

 

 

The US has Resumed Drones Strikes in Pakistan Killing Two Innocent Civilians. The Militants Escaped Un-Scathed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Long War journal map assessment argues that presently Taliban controls or contests 45% of the Afghan districts. Their assessment also highlights Taliban’s rural control, a key source of insurgent strength that the US military underestimates. With all the grim statistics and unsuccessful strategies applied in the battleground, Michael Kugelman also notices that President Trump is now actually short of available options in Afghanistan. “This much is clear — there are no good options in Afghanistan,” he wrote. Regrettably, out of all the ‘no good options’, the president opted for the poorest one. He forced the bulk of his failures to Pakistan, gradually increasing the stress with toxic hate campaigns.

To serve the purpose, a systematic propaganda was initiated at the international level to accentuate Pakistan in context of harbouring terrorist and terror outfits. In line with the trump-devised policy, the two highly controversial US Congressmen, Dana Rohrabacher and Brad Sherman held up their anti-Pakistan rhetoric during the meeting of House of Representatives held in October. Brad Sherman (a staunch Jew and an active member of the Jewish lobby in the USA) purported about some fabled HR violations in Sindh, while Dana Rohrabacher (famous for working on behalf of certain Indian and Hindutva lobbies in the past also) oddly enough linked the creation of Bangladesh with the life of Muhajir community in Karachi. Quite ridiculous it was, as the creation of Bangladesh was a planned conspiracy of India which they brag about quite often. Contrariwise, the meeting of Dana Rohrabacher with Altaf Hussain and Khan of Qalat in support of Baluch separatists should be seen rather sceptically as it bears upon another conspiracy in the offing.

Toeing the line further was a US army retired colonel turned writer Lawrence Sellin who while admitting that completion of CPEC will seriously hurt the US interests, wished for an independent and secular Baluchistan which in case if not possible then at least a Baluchistan with Iranian infiltration and military action. His views are more of a conspiracy theory but can be taken for the policy thinking of military-related academia of US.

To further pressurize Pakistan, a deliberate propaganda campaign against the safety of her nuclear weapons was launched thereafter. Larry Pressler, an ex-Republican politician, is seen conforming to Hussain Haqqani declaring Pakistan a state sponsoring terrorism. Likewise, the US president dubbing Pakistan the way he did in his recent tweets was another irony of the first order.

In this transpiring war, Pakistan has rendered unique sacrifices both in terms of lives and finances while overcoming the spate of orchestrated terrorism. The country has thus far suffered more than 62,000 fatalities and a loss of over USD 123 Billion. No rhyme or reason, but with such sacrifices this kind of behaviour will not subjugate Pakistan rather make it even more resilient and objective.

George Friedman very aptly puts the US quagmire into words. “At this point, the United States is looking for an endgame in Afghanistan. It has spent 16 years fighting a war but has not yet achieved its goals. The US will no longer devote large numbers of troops because large numbers of troops failed before… The more tactical the approach, the more the US needs Pakistani cooperation”. But the question is why Pakistan should comply with US undue pressure since a US departure would leave Pakistan facing strong hostile forces across its border especially in the case where the US has already backed Indian presence in Afghanistan.

It’s time to realize that President’s Trump new policy has yielded rather negative results. Taliban are more aggressive than ever before and the area under control of Afghan National unity Government is ever decreasing. Reasons for US failures in her longest war in the history are hidden elsewhere. The US has actually failed to understand her enemy. In recent past, American Forces dropping blasphemous pamphlets in Afghanistan desecrating Kalama-e-Tayyaba is a classic example of US incompetency to understand Taliban sentiment. Also, US policies are known to be oblivious to the ground realities. Afghan official forces are suffering daily defeats and are likely to wipe out if foreign support is denied to them. Present regime’s rampant corruption, increased causalities among forces, mounting civilian causalities and the resurgence of Taliban / ISIS along with the battering relations between the two non-NATO allies is continuously keeping the Afghan situation uncertain. Believe it or not, the arrogance of President Trump is simply not allowing him to put an end to America’s longest war.

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 Refocus on Salala Attack By Sajjad Shaukat

 Refocus on Salala Attack

By Sajjad Shaukat

On 26th of November 2011, the US-led NATO forces attacked two Pakistani check-posts on Pak-Afghan border and martyred 24 Pakistani military personnel indiscriminately.

In this regard, two American Apache helicopters and two F-15 Eagle fighter jets targeted the two Pakistani posts, Boulder and Volcano, situated at Salala in the Baizai tehsil of Mohmand Agency. The airstrike was carried out in two phases.

Notably, the aerial attack was coordinated and deliberate, its second phase carried out by American forces after the Pakistan Army informed the ISAF command that their forces were attacking Pakistani troops–and despite this information, it continued.

In this context, a NATO inquiry said that both sides had made mistakes. Pakistan categorically rejected the inquiry report. It had earlier refused to be part of a joint inquiry. Top Pakistan Army officials denied the attack was unintentional.

Reacting to the Salala attack, Pakistan blocked the NATO ground lines of communication to Afghanistan and demanded an apology before the supply line would be unblocked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan’s parliament unanimously approved recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) in connection with the re-engagement with the United States. Besides other matters, the recommendations included an immediate cessation of drone attacks and infiltration into Pakistani territory, entailing some conditions regarding supply to NATO forces in Afghanistan across the country. Besides, Pakistan should seek an unconditional apology from the US on November 26, 2011, unprovoked Salala check-posts assault.

Meanwhile, some American diplomats including NATO chief had visited Islamabad and met the then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, asking them for re-opening the NATO routes. Setting aside the American pressure, they reiterated that parliament in light of the PCNS recommendations and the Defence Committee of Cabinet would decide on the issue of NATO supply, after negotiating a new relationship with the US, based upon equality and non-violation of Pakistani territory.

Pakistan government remained firm on its stand. The NATO supply lines remained suspended for the six months in the wake of US pressure tactics.  On May 10, 2012, the United States House Armed Services Committee approved a bill, which would prohibit the preferential procurement of goods or services from Pakistan; until the “NATO supply line is reopened.”

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen suggested on May 11, 2012, that Pakistan could miss out on important talks on the future of Afghanistan, if it failed to reopen supply routes in time to secure a place at a NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21, 2012. Indirectly, he disclosed that Pakistan would not be invited to participate in the summit.

On the other side, Prime Minister Gilani confirmed that the Defence Committee of the Cabinet would debate as to how to repair relations with America in time to attend the NATO summit in Chicago or to boycott it. While, the British Defence Minister Phillip Hamond stated that negotiations on the restoration of the NATO supply are progressing in the right direction, but Pakistan would not accept any pre-condition.

In these terms, Pak-US war of nerves accelerated due to American coercive diplomacy towards Islamabad coupled with its double game. In this regard, after the 9/11 tragedy, Pakistan joined the US war against terrorism as frontline state and Islamabad was granted the status of a non-NATO ally by Washington because of its earlier successes achieved by Pakistan’s Army and country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) against the Al-Qaeda militants.

Within a few years, when the US-led NATO forces felt that they were failing in coping with the stiff resistance of the Taliban in Afghanistan, they started false allegations against Pak Army and ISI of supporting the Afghan Taliban. US high officials and their media not only blamed Pakistan for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan but also continuously emphasised to ‘do more’ against the insurgents in tribal areas by ignoring the internal backlash in the country such as bomb blasts and suicide attacks which killed thousands of innocent people and personnel of the security.

The Cold War had already started between Pakistan and the United States when hundreds of CIA agents entered Pakistan under the guise of diplomats to destabilise the country. On January 11, 2011, Raymond Davis who was CIA agent killed two Pakistanis in Lahore.

Since May 2, 2011, Pak-US relations further deteriorated when without informing Islamabad, US commandos killed Osama Bin Laden in a covert military operation. Afterwards, tension intensified, as America continued its duress on Pakistan in the wake of drone attacks on FATA, while brushing aside parliament’s resolution in this respect.

Differences also increased between Islamabad and Washington, because of Pakistan’s superior agency, ISI interrupted covert activities of the so-called American diplomats. Notably, ISI thwarted the anti-Pakistan activities of the agents of Blackwater and CIA which had started recruiting Pakistani nationals who were vulnerable. In this connection, with the pre-information of ISI, Pakistan’s police and other security agencies arrested some secret agents. On many occasions, ISI helped in stopping the clandestine activities of the CIA spies who were displaying themselves as diplomats. On the information of this top spy agency, Pakistan’s establishment expelled several American spies operating in the country. On the other side, US withheld $800 million in military aid to punish its army and ISI.

It was due to the professional competence of ISI in foiling the anti-Pakistan plot that US and India including their media accelerated deliberate propaganda against ISI.

Nevertheless, in the aftermath of the November 26 incident in Mohmand Agency, Pakistan’s bold steps such as vacation of the Shamsi Airbase, boycott the second Bonn Conference and rejection of the US investigation report regarding the deliberate attack on Salala Army check-posts accelerated tension between Islamabad and Washington.

Some top American officials accused Pakistan-based Haqqani militants behind the well-coordinated attacks in Afghanistan, which occurred on April 15, 2012. US aim was to pressurise Islamabad for the restoration of the NATO transit routes.

At this juncture, it is worth mention that US government officials are confused about their goals and objectives. Rarely US high officials praised Pak sacrifices in the war on terror, sometimes, admitted that stability is not possible could in Afghanistan without the help of Pakistan.  After the withdrawal of foreign troops, sometimes, threatened Islamabad to abandon the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project and sometimes, realised that the US wants to improve its relationship with Pakistan, but at the same time, they blame Islamabad for safe-havens of militants in the country. While in connivance with India and Israel, America has been continuing its anti-Pakistan activities by supporting militancy in Pakistan and separatism in Balochistan.

Nonetheless, after the Salala incident, Pak-US war of nerves continued, it took the relationship of both the countries to the point of no return. On July 3, 2012, Defence Committee of the Cabinet permitted NATO supplies across the country to Afghanistan after the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologised for the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011 by American air strike on Salala check posts by saying “sorry”.

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

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

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