Tag Archives: Haqqani

Pakistan using militants as proxies to counter superior Indian Army: Pentagon

WASHINGTON: In a blunt assessment of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, the Pentagon has told the US Congress that the country is using militant groups as proxies to counter the superior Indian military.

“Afghan – and India – focused militants continue to operate from Pakistan territory to the detriment of Afghan and regional stability. Pakistan uses these proxy forces to hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India’s superior military,” the Pentagon told the Congress in its latest six-monthly report on the current situation in Afghanistan.

“These relationships run counter to Pakistan’s public commitment to support Afghan-led reconciliation. Such groups continue to act as the primary irritant in Afghan-Pakistan bilateral relations,” the Pentagon said in the report running into more than 100 pages.

Referring to the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat, the Pentagon said this was done just ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India.

“In May of this reporting period, the Indian consulate in Herat Province was attacked by a group of four heavily armed militants. The attack came three days prior to the swearing-in of the new Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Modi is perceived as being close to Hindu nationalist groups, a fact that may have played into the timing of the attack,” it said.

“In June, the US department of state announced that the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba was responsible for the attack. Following the attack, former Afghan President Karzai denounced the attack and made strong statements supporting relations with India,” the report said.

Courtesy: http://m.timesofindia.com/india/Pakistan-using-militants-as-proxies-to-counter-superior-Indian-Army-Pentagon/articleshow/45031312.cms

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More details » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/world/2014/11/141104_pentagon_accuse_pakistan?ocid=socialflow_facebook

Taliban seize strategic Afghan district in Ghazni province

Taliban fighters have seized control of a strategic district in the Afghan province of Ghazni, officials say.

Insurgents killed about 70 villagers after taking Ajrestan district late on Thursday night after a week of battle.

A spokesman for the provincial governor said 15 people suspected of collaborating with authorities were beheaded, including women.

The Taliban is active in many parts of Ghazni, an important gateway to the capital, Kabul, from the south-east.

Fighting is continuing as security forces try to regain the district but officials fear surrounding districts are now vulnerable to attack.

Strategic district

Some analysts say that control of Ajrestan also provides militants with a launching pad for attacks into adjacent provinces in the east of the country.

Continue reading Taliban seize strategic Afghan district in Ghazni province

Pakistan #Fail

Islamabad can’t fix its many problems until the government, the opposition, and the military learn to respect the rule of law.

BY HUSAIN HAQQANI

After paralyzing Islamabad for days, the crowds at boisterous protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are starting to thin out. But even if Pakistan’s current political standoff comes to an end, the country’s deeper political crisis won’t.

Read more » FP
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/09/05/pakistan_fail_military_politics_protests_nawaz_sharif_imran_khan

Spillover effect: ISIS making inroads into Pakistan, Afghanistan

By Shamim Shahid

PESHAWAR: In a bid to extend its influence in the South Asian region, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, (ISIS), commonly known as Daish, distributed pamphlets in Peshawar and border provinces of Afghanistan as well.

The booklet titled Fatah (victory) is published in Pashto and Dari languages and was distributed in Peshawar as well as in Afghan refugee camps on the outskirts of the city. The logo of the pamphlet has the Kalma, the historical stamp of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Some copies were also mysteriously sent to Afghan journalists working in Peshawar.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/757186/spillover-effect-isis-making-inroads-into-pakistan-afghanistan/

ANP leaders said military protected Haqqanis, other militants

KARACHI: In a meeting with an American diplomat in July 2009, ANP leader Senator Afrasiab Khattak claimed that the Haqqani network, a militant group the US holds responsible for multiple attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan, was being protected by the Pakistan military.

The report is one of a number of American diplomatic cables obtained by Dawn that reveal a deep mistrust among the leadership of the ANP, the party responsible for governance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, about the military’s intentions regarding various militant groups in KP and FATA.

“Khattak described the Pakistani military as treating the Haqqanis ‘separately’ … from other militants,” reported Lynne Tracy, the Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Peshawar. “The Haqqani family, [Khattak] observed, has already moved out of North Waziristan.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/630875/anp-leaders-said-military-protected-haqqanis-other-militants

LeT behind attack on Indian consulate in Herat: Hamid Karzai

NEW DELHI: Terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba is behind the attack on the Indian Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said today.

“According to information given to us by a Western intelligence agency, the perpetrators of the Herat attack belonged to the LeT. This was mentioned in writing in the report shared with us,” he said.

Read more at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/35623616.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Pakistan – Gen Beg warns of Egypt-like change in Pakistan

Proposes three-point formula to normalise situation

By Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE  – Former Army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg on Monday proposed a three-point formula to normalise the tense civil-military relations, warning the government of an Egypt-like change in case urgent steps were not taken in accordance with his suggestions.
He said the high treason case against Gen Pervez Musharraf should be dropped and he should be allowed to go abroad; the Pemra should ensure that no TV channel telecasts programmes that undermine the prestige of the army; and ministers or other leaders should be barred from speaking against the people who defend the country even at the cost of their lives. Talking to The Nation, he said the civil setup would face no threat and the situation would normalise within no time if the government acted in the light of his suggestions. Otherwise, he said, a military general would take over, just like Gen El-Sisi did in Egypt, and the United States would support the change for its own interests.
Gen Beg was of the firm view that the Constitution would not be able to block a military intervention if the rulers did not give the army its due respect. “ZulifikarAli Bhutto had said the 1973 Constitution would bury martial laws, but it was the martial law that buried Bhutto”.

Read more » The Nation
http://www.nation.com.pk/national/22-Apr-2014/gen-beg-warns-of-egypt-like-change-in-pakistan

Election 2014: Death Knell of Strategic Depth?

Afghanistan has voted. And wow, what a lot of voting there was! Millions of Afghans turned out and voted in an election where a vote for anyone was a vote against Mullah Umar and his backers. Now it may be that the results will not be accepted, that the winners will fight each other or that the good feeling will evaporate as some future Taliban offensive shakes the state. But if the results are credible and are accepted, then it may well be (to quote journalist Tahir Mehdi) that April 5th 2014 will be to strategic depth what December 16th 1971 was to the two-nation theory.
Of course, one may then point out that the Two Nation theory has had a very healthy Zombie existence since 1971. But even the healthiest Zombie is still a Zombie. Dying is forever.

Read more » Brown Pundits
http://brownpundits.blogspot.ca/2014/04/election-2014-death-knell-of-strategic.html

Book Review: ‘The Wrong Enemy’ by Carlotta Gall

Pakistan’s intelligence agency hid and protected Osama bin Laden. The chief of the army even knew of the cover up. Some ally.

By Sadanand Dhume

In the 13 years since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, $1 trillion has been spent, and 3,400 foreign soldiers (more than 2,300 of them American) have died. Despite our tremendous loss of blood and treasure, Afghanistan remains—even as we prepare to exit the country—”a weak state, prey to the ambitions of its neighbors and extremist Islamists,” as Carlotta Gall notes in “The Wrong Enemy.”

Could we have avoided this outcome? Perhaps so, Ms. Gall argues, if Washington had set its sights slightly southward.

The neighbor that concerns Ms. Gall—the “right” enemy implied by the book’s title—is Pakistan. If you were to boil down her argument into a single sentence, it would be this one: “Pakistan, supposedly an ally, has proved to be perfidious, driving the violence in Afghanistan for its own cynical, hegemonic reasons.” Though formally designated as a major non-NATO U.S. ally, and despite receiving more than $23 billion in American assistance since 9/11, Pakistan only pretended to cut links with the Taliban that it had nurtured in the 1990s. In reality, Pakistan’s ubiquitous spy service, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), foments jihad against NATO in Afghanistan much as it did against the Soviets in the 1980s.

At this point, accusations of Pakistani perfidy won’t raise the eyebrows of anyone with even a passing familiarity with the region. For years, a chorus of diplomats, analysts and journalists have concluded that the Taliban and its partners in jihad would be incapable of maintaining an insurgency without active support from across the border. In 2011, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, called the Haqqani network—the group responsible for some of the worst violence in Afghanistan, including an attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul that year—”a veritable arm” of the ISI.

Continue reading Book Review: ‘The Wrong Enemy’ by Carlotta Gall

REUTERS – Afghanistan’s surprises

By David Rohde

REUTERS – In a nation more associated with calamity than consensus, the initial results of Saturday’s Afghan presidential election are startling.

Despite Taliban threats to attack polling stations nationwide, the same percentage of Afghans turned out to vote – roughly 58 percent – as did Americans in the 2012 U.S. presidential race. Instead of collapsing, Afghan security forces effectively secured the vote.

And a leading candidate to replace Hamid Karzai is Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank technocrat who has a PhD in cultural anthropology from Columbia University, a Lebanese Christian wife, and an acclaimed book and TED talk entitled “Fixing Failed States.”

“Relative to what we were expecting, it’s very hard to not conclude that this was a real defeat for the Taliban,” Andrew Wilder, an American expert on Afghanistan, said in a telephone interview from Kabul on Monday “And a very good day for the Afghan people.”

Two forces that have long destabilized the country – its political elite and its neighbors – could easily squander the initial success. Evidence of large-scale fraud could could undermine the legitimacy of the election and exacerbate long-running ethnic divides. And outside powers could continue to fund and arm the Taliban and disgruntled Afghan warlords, as they have for decades.

Read more » REUTERS
http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/04/08/afghanistan-election-analysis-idINDEEA370EP20140408

 

Afghan elections: As it happened

Millions of Afghans braved Taliban threats Saturday to vote for a successor to President Hamid Karzai in a landmark election held as US-led forces wind down their long intervention in the country.

Polling stations officially closed at 5:00 pm (1230 GMT), officials said, after a day without major security incidents. But voting was set to continue for some time as voters in line at polling stations would be allowed to cast their ballot, a senior official with the Independent Election Commission said.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1097718

7 jihadists blown up while making roadside bombs in a mosque

“7 militants blown up while making roadside bombs in a mosque in Ghazni,” Khaama Press, March 30, 2014 (thanks to Jack)
At least seven militants were killed while making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in eastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan.
The interior ministry following a statement said the incident took place inside a mosque in Deh Yak district on Saturday. The statement by interior ministry further added that the explosion left seven militants dead and there were no other casualties.

– See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2014/04/7-jihadists-blown-making-roadside-bombs-mosque.html/#sthash.2j0DvBRX.dpuf

http://pamelageller.com/2014/04/7-jihadists-blown-making-roadside-bombs-mosque.html

What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden

By

Excerpt;  America’s failure to fully understand and actively confront Pakistan on its support and export of terrorism is one of the primary reasons President Karzai has become so disillusioned with the United States. As American and NATO troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year, the Pakistani military and its Taliban proxy forces lie in wait, as much a threat as any that existed in 2001.

 

In January 2013, I visited the Haqqania madrasa to speak with senior clerics about the graduates they were dispatching to Afghanistan. They agreed to let me interview them and gave the usual patter about it being each person’s individual choice to wage jihad. But there was also continuing fanatical support for the Taliban. “Those who are against the Taliban, they are the liberals, and they only represent 5 percent of Afghans,” the spokesman for the madrasa told me. He and his fellow clerics were set on a military victory for the Taliban in Afghanistan. Moreover, he said, “it is a political fact that one day the Taliban will take power. The white flag of the Taliban will fly again over Kabul, inshallah.”

Pakistani security officials, political analysts, journalists and legislators warned of the same thing. The Pakistani military was still set on dominating Afghanistan and was still determined to use the Taliban to exert influence now that the United States was pulling out.

Kathy Gannon of The Associated Press reported in September that militants from Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, were massing in the tribal areas to join the Taliban and train for an anticipated offensive into Afghanistan this year. In Punjab, mainstream religious parties and banned militant groups were openly recruiting hundreds of students for jihad, and groups of young men were being dispatched to Syria to wage jihad there. “They are the same jihadi groups; they are not 100 percent under control,” a former Pakistani legislator told me. “But still the military protects them.”

The United States was neither speaking out against Pakistan nor changing its policy toward a government that was exporting terrorism, the legislator lamented. “How many people have to die before they get it? They are standing by a military that protects, aids and abets people who are going against the U.S. and Western mission in Afghanistan, in Syria, everywhere.”

When I remember the beleaguered state of Afghanistan in 2001, I marvel at the changes the American intervention has fostered: the rebuilding, the modernity, the bright graduates in every office. Yet after 13 years, more than a trillion dollars spent, 120,000 foreign troops deployed at the height of the war and tens of thousands of lives lost, Afghanistan’s predicament has not changed: It remains a weak state, prey to the ambitions of its neighbors and extremist Islamists. This is perhaps an unpopular opinion, but to pull out now is, undeniably, to leave with the job only half-done.

Meanwhile, the real enemy remains at large.

This article is adapted from “The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014,” to be published next month by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Carlotta Gall is the North Africa correspondent for The New York Times. She covered Afghanistan and Pakistan for the paper from 2001 to 2013.

Editor: Joel Lovell

Courtesy: The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/magazine/what-pakistan-knew-about-bin-laden.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Pakistani Taliban say government must embrace Islamic law

By Saud Mehsud

Feb 22 (Reuters) – T he Pakistani Taliban told the government there was no chance of peace in the country unless Pakistan changed its political and legal system and officially embraced Islamic law.

Read more » Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/22/us-pakistan-taliban-idUSBREA1L0K620140222

Even India treated our soldiers better in 1971- Pervez Rashid

Minister questions Taliban’s Sharia

ISLAMABAD: Lashing out at Pakistani Taliban for slaughtering 23 paramilitary personnel, Information Minister Pervez Rashid on Wednesday questioned whether the militants’ action was in accordance with the Islamic Sharia.

Speaking to media representatives, he criticized the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leadership for the inhuman killing of the captive Frontier Cops (FC) soldiers.

“People favouring enforcement of Sharia should tell what treatment captives deserve according to the Sharia …… and the treatment those (FC men) received was in accordance with the Islamic laws or not,” he questioned.

The minister said that TTP’s central spokesman Shahidullah Shahid should have conveyed their reservations to the negotiating team they formed. “But, they didn’t do it and firstly attacked policemen in Karachi and then killed FC personnel,” he added.

Taking a strong stand against the home grown militants, he said the government also has reservations which the Taliban must address first.

Referring to the 1971’s war against India, Rashid said, “Even our rival country treated our 90,000 war captives in accordance with the Geneva Convention.” “Did they (Indians) behead even a single Pakistani soldier,” he questioned.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1088101

Get them or get eliminated

By Marvi Sirmed

Since almost a decade we have been hearing from assorted quarters in religious and political circles that Taliban have been doing what they have been doing because ‘America attacked Afghanistan”. Politicians as tall as Imran Khan, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and various others, have been feeding the nation with this narrative for many years now. It is however, a minor detail that Mr. Khan was hand-in-glove with then dictator General Musharraf in 2001-2002, when he backed ‘America’s attack on Afghanistan’. It is also a minor detail that the ‘attack’ was sanctioned by United Nations to a multinational alliance we know as NATO. Never mind.

But just when I’m writing these lines, I hear that the terrorists and killers (who were recognized as ‘stakeholders’ by the current government supported by ‘all parties’ including Pakistan Army are part of this so-called All Parties Conference) have issued their 15-points Charter of Demands (CoD). The Charter does not even refer to the ‘attack on Afghanistan’. Surprise!

Going by the reports in media, the demands include: 1) Stop drone attacks; 2) Introduce Sharia law in courts; 3) Introduce Islamic system of education in public and private schools; 4) Free Pakistani and foreign Taliban captured in jails; 5) Restoration and remuneration for damage to property during drone attacks; 6) Handover control to local forces; 7) Withdrawal of army from tribal areas, shut down check posts; 8) All criminal allegations held against the Taliban be dropped; 9) Prisoners from both sides be released; 10) Equal rights for poor and rich; 11) Families of drone attack victims be offered jobs; 12) Amnesty for all Taliban commanders wanted by the government; 13) Stop supporting the US on the war on terror, end relations with the US; 14) Replace the democratic system with the Islamic system; 15) End interest based system of banking.

They start with demand to end drone attacks. Why? They certainly have no particular respect for human life considering their glorious track record of playing with the blood of thousands of innocent humans in the name of Sharia. Drones must be proving fatal to their existence. Similar pain for their comrades could be seen in Points 5 and 11 of their Charter whereby they demand restoration & damages for the properties of and jobs for the families of drone victims. Please note the absence of such sensitivity towards the victims of their bombs rocking the cities of Pakistan since last almost a decade. Wouldn’t it sound fair if the government of Pakistan demands damages and blood money for 50,000 Pakistanis killed by these so-called ‘stakeholders’?

The next two demands ask for Islamic system in courts and schools. Although nothing un-Islamic can ever get to both these institutions under the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan (emphasis added).What then, they mean by this? For a clue, let’s go back to the Taliban years in neighboring Afghanistan. Girls were barred from going to schools permanently. A year ago I met one of their apologists, then serving in ISI, who enlightened me about this order of Taliban regime by justifying it on the pretext that no resources were available for girls’ separate schools, hence the measure by Taliban.

If people didn’t want their daughters to be in co-education schools, why did they put them in these schools in first place? If their daughters’ education was more important for them than lack of separate girls’ schools before Taliban came, why did Taliban mess with their personal priorities? Although there are no co-ed schools running in FATA, their Pakistani comrades have been regularly bombing girls’ schools. Seems their Sharia prohibits girls’ education in stark contradiction with Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) teachings.

About Sharia in courts, the lesser said the better. The kind of justice seen under Taliban regime in Afghanistan would put Huns, Tartars and Mongols to shame. Personal choices of women, like work and dress of women and of men, like how much and where to shave unwanted hair from, were most pressing issues for the regime. Barbarism was synonym to justice in those days. Many apologists of those days keep regurgitating the praises for the ‘exemplary peace and rule of law’ under Taliban. Just that most of civilized people won’t agree with their definition of peace and rule of law. Just like absence of guns is not peace, absence of citizens’ rights is not rule of law. Justice was rushed and crushed in the name of ‘speedy trials’ by Fazlullah’s in his previous job at Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi in Swat. He is now CEO of another terror corporate, TTP that regularly engages itself in arson and kidnap to generate funds. High profile kidnappings of the sons of Shaheed Salmaan Taseer, Yousuf Raza Gillani alongside various others are cases in point.

Continue reading Get them or get eliminated

Shrine of Sufi poet set afire in Pakistan

KARACHI: The shrine of Pakistani Sufi poet Mast Twakali, revered across the subcontinent, has been set afire by unknown persons in the restive Balochistan province.

The shrine, visit by hundreds of devotees each day, has been partially damaged in the fire, authorities in Kohlu district said.

Kohlu deputy commissioner Ejaz Haider said some unknown persons had entered the shrine on Saturday and set it afire.

“But because people of the area gathered quickly and put out the fire the shrine was saved but a big portion has been damaged,” Haider said.

Five suspects have been arrested in connection with the case, he added.

Towaq Ali Mast – popularly known as Mast Twakali – was born in 1828. He spread the message of love for the humanity through his poetry.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and other militant groups, which consider going to shrines as un-islamic, have in the past targeted them.

Read more » THE TIMES OF INDIA
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Shrine-of-Sufi-poet-set-afire-in-Pakistan/articleshow/30164949.cms?intenttarget=no

“If the talks succeed, we may see a metamorphosis of the state”

by Alefia T. Hussain

Ayesha Siddiqa, defence analyst, talks about the implications of the on-going talks with TTP 

The News on Sunday (TNS): How does the government’s approach to counter terrorism through talks look like to you — a compromise, a time buying tactic or you expect something substantive to come out of it?

Ayesha Siddiqa (AS): The only substantive thing that may come out of the talks (and, mind you, I am not using substantive positively or negatively) is change in the overall nature of the state. If the talks succeed, we may actually see a metamorphosis of the state from a hybrid-theocracy, which it is at the moment, to a complete theocracy. The Taliban and their allies, including both good and bad militants, want implementation of sharia in Pakistan. Even if there is an agreement on limited implementation in parts of the country, it will eventually trickle down to the rest.

Everything will depend on how far the military and civilian leadership wants to go in accommodating the Taliban demands. Although a more important question would be how comfortable is the leadership in changing the nature of the state. The Taliban may not want to compromise on anything less than implementing sharia — also release of prisoners, which means adding to the militant force that aims at capturing the state.

So, if we have made up our mind to surrender, there is no way anyone will challenge the Taliban. If not, then yes, some form of conflict is inevitable.

Like many people, I’ve also heard an operation is inevitable. But, I’m not sure. Because, how can an operation take place with your backs against the wall. When some generals in GHQ, Rawalpindi, thought the 1986 Indian military exercise Brasstacks was a plan for war, General Hamid Gul and some others disagreed. They argued that India could not launch a war with its back totally exposed and vulnerable. This was with reference to the insurgency in East Punjab back then.

Similarly, how can we think of an operation when we have all kinds of militants sitting in our heartland, in Punjab and Sindh. I’m not just referring to Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) but also TTP and Lashkar e Khorasan, allegedly part of al-Qaeda and has men that were once part of JeM. These organisations are thriving in Punjab and Sindh. They even have links with the politicians and military establishment.

So, if we can’t take care of our own backyard, how will we launch an offensive.

I’m not even sure if the military has a plan to abandon the good militants/Taliban. The good Taliban are connected to the bad Taliban by blood, friendship and alignments. You can’t separate the wheat from the chaff. If we want to use some of them after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014, we can’t really be serious about launching a serious operation. Or can we?

Read more » The News
http://tns.thenews.com.pk/talks-succeed-may-actually-see-metamorphosis-state/#.Uvgz17Th3g8

Pakistan – Is the mullah-military nexus crumbling?

By Mubashir Zaidi

The latest statement from the military blasting chief of the Jamaat-i-Islami Munawar Hasan for undermining the sacrifices made by the soldiers fighting terrorists has shocked many in the capital. The JI traditionally, has been the mouthpiece for the military during the 1980s Afghan jihad and fighting in Kashmir. It’s also established that the army had used the Jamaat’s street power to put democratic governments under pressure through controlled or sometimes out of control protests. It is also believed that there is a huge following of JI in the armed forces. Even the arrests of Al Qaeda leaders, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, from the residences of JI activists has not affected the military-JI relations in the past.

So, is it a signalling of sorts that the military is trying to portray itself as a national army now as compared to its earlier image of an ideological force whose notion of jihad is similar to Jamaat-i-Islami?

But what prompted this strong reaction by the military needs to be examined. Even pragmatic military rulers like Pervez Musharraf had to seek help from the JI to prolong his tenure. Then why is it that the Jamaat and the military are finding themselves at the crossroads today?

The issue of missing persons that began in 2006 started the rift between the traditional partners when JI followers that included lawyers approached the courts for the release of what they claimed were innocent civilians who were arrested by military intelligence agencies on the allegations of supporting Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The courts took up the cases and started questioning the role of the military behind these forced disappearances. JI-backed lawyers were pressurised by the military to drop these cases and to stop pursuing the matter. But the cases continued, despite the fact that they did not reach their logical conclusions.

Continue reading Pakistan – Is the mullah-military nexus crumbling?

So, finally, a farewell to arms

Islamabad diary

by Ayaz Amir

With the announcement of a Taliban address in Doha, Qatar, and the Americans welcoming this development, the window for military action in our Waziristan has finally slammed shut. The army wasn’t about to launch any operation – no fear of that – but even the tantalising possibility that at some point in the future vacillation would give way to decisive action now evaporates.

The scales have shifted. With the Americans engaging, however fruitlessly, with the Taliban in Doha, the Pakistan Army is in no position (psychologically) to undertake any kind of military operation in North Waziristan. The army can play around with the status quo in that embattled region – huffing and puffing and losing more officers and men to Taliban ambushes, six of our soldiers killed in an ambush this Wednesday – but the status quo, rail against it as we might, has come to stay.

Time was on the side of the Taliban, as it always is on the side of any force engaged in irregular warfare. And the Pakistan Army and a confused nation, their thinking split down the middle, have missed the bus. For us that is the significance of the Taliban gaining, at long last, virtual American diplomatic recognition – which is what this latest development amounts to.

A triumph for Mullah Omar and a problem for us, because Mullah Omar’s resurgent emirate, waiting patiently for the Americans to depart, now extends, like a dagger, into Pakistan – in the form of Hakeemullah’s Waziristan.

Let us not lose heart too much. This is not history being rewritten, only history being reversed. The kingdom of Kabul once held sway over the territories constituting our north-west frontier. Maharajah Ranjit Singh (sorry for bringing up his name again) pushed the Afghans back and the British inherited Ranjit Singh’s kingdom. That is how the new state of Pakistan came into possession of those frontier lands.

But through an historical process, starting with the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979 and leading up to the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Pakistan’s control over those territories stands immeasurably weakened.

Strange the workings of history – our military geniuses under Gen Zia sought strategic depth in Afghanistan. It is the Taliban and Al-Qaeda which have acquired strategic depth in Pakistan.

The Americans are about to talk to the Taliban not to get them to lay down their arms and ship them to the Solomon Islands, but as a face-saving exercise. They want to exit Afghanistan sans too much humiliation. In so many words they are telling the Taliban, look we are getting out; make our departure easier. That’s it, if only we could read the writing on the wall.

Hamid Karzai has more sense than we do. Look at his anger: he knows he’s been used and the Americans, for all their tall talk, are about to talk, if not cut a deal, with his sworn enemies. And he’s frothing at the mouth, without this having the slightest effect on his paymasters.

At least Karzai knows what is what. We get used like a box of tissues again – the first time under Zia, the second time now – and still think we are ‘stakeholders’ in the Afghan game. There’s no end to our talent for make-believe, even as the tide of history is being reversed.

Continue reading So, finally, a farewell to arms

Afghan Taliban announce start of spring offensive to ‘defeat western invaders’

ISLAMABAD: Afghan Taliban on Saturday announced they are launching the annual traditional “Spring Offensive” to defeat “western invaders, completely freeing the nation from the cusps of occupation and establishing an Islamic rule” in Afghanistan.

The Taliban said this year’s offensive would be code-named “Khalid bin Waleed (RA)”.

The ISAF commander in Afghanistan, Gen Joseph F Dunford, said ahead of the fighting season that, “the insurgency will confront a combined ANSF (Afghan National Security Force) and Afghanistan Local Police (ALP) force of over 350,000 personnel who are in the lead for security in areas containing over 87 per cent of Afghanistan’s population”.

The Taliban said that the operations would forge ahead under the direct guidance of the group’s military strategists while keeping in mind new developments of the current year.

“This year’s Khalid bin Waleed operation will be launched by the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate against America, Nato and their backers for the gratification of Allah Almighty, independence of Afghanistan and establishing in it an Islamic government while we humbly raise our hands towards Allah Almighty for its success and hope for a favorable and triumphant end,” the Taliban leadership council said.

“This year’s spring operation, in accordance with its combat nature, will consist of special military tactics quantity and quality wise while successful insider attacks, to eliminate foreign invaders, will be carried out by infiltrating Mujahideen inside enemy bases in a systematic and coordinated manner,” a Taliban statement said. The statement from the Taliban’s powerful leadership council was also sent to The Express Tribune.

Continue reading Afghan Taliban announce start of spring offensive to ‘defeat western invaders’

US should dump Islamabad, Pakistan diplomat says

WASHINGTON: Washington and Islamabad should give up the fiction of being allies and acknowledge that their interests simply do not converge enough to make them strong partners, Pakistan’s recent envoy to the US, who is now a hunted man in his home country, has advised both sides in a searing examination of tortured relationship between the two countries.

Instead, says Hussain Haqqani, till recently Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Washington should leave Pakistan to its own devices so that it can discover for itself how weak it is without American aid and support, eventually enabling it to return to the mainstream suitably chastened about its limitations.

“By coming to terms with this reality, Washington would be freer to explore new ways of pressuring Pakistan and achieving its own goals in the region. Islamabad, meanwhile, could finally pursue its regional ambitions, which would either succeed once and for all or, more likely, teach Pakistani officials the limitations of their country’s power,” Haqqani writes about the broken relationship in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs journal.

“Once Pakistan’s national security elites recognize the limits of their power, the country might eventually seek a renewed partnership with the United States — but this time with greater humility and an awareness of what it can and cannot get,” says Haqqani who was ousted by Pakistan’s security establishment because he was seen to be working with Washington to contain the overarching influence of the military on Pakistan.

Taking a distinctly dim view of Pakistan’s prospects without US support, Haqqani acknowledges that “it is also possible, although less likely,” that Pakistani leaders could decide that they are able to do quite well on their own, without relying heavily on the United States, as they have come to do over the last several decades. In that case, too, the mutual frustrations resulting from Pakistan’s reluctant dependency on the United States would come to an end.

“Even if the breakup of the alliance did not lead to such a dramatic denouement, it would still leave both countries free to make the tough strategic decisions about dealing with the other that each has been avoiding,” Haqqani writes. “Pakistan could find out whether its regional policy objectives of competing with and containing India are attainable without US support. The United States would be able to deal with issues such as terrorism and nuclear proliferation without the burden of Pakistani allegations of betrayal.”

Continue reading US should dump Islamabad, Pakistan diplomat says

We are at war

By: Asad Munir

Until the late 1970s Shias and Sunnis lived in complete harmony in this country. There were sporadic, minor incidents of Shia-Sunni violence but generally there was no hostility between the two sects. Muharram was sacred for Sunnis as well. Many attended Shia majalis, and on the tenth of Muharram cooked special foods, participated in Shia processions and revered the Zuljinah.

These good times were changed by three major events that took place in the late 1970s: Zia’s martial law, Khomeini’s revolution and the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets. Pakistan was no more the same moderate and tolerant country. Zia, after hanging an elected prime minister, wanted to use religion as a tool to prolong his rule. He tried to introduce Islamic laws as per the concept of the Islamic state envisioned by Maulana Maudoodi.

Continue reading We are at war

TTP talks: Legitimising terror

By: Saher Baloch

The annual report of Human Rights Watch (2013) on Pakistan reads exactly the same as the ones published before it. Only the brutality of those involved in the killings and the apathy of those observing has increased tenfold. Apart from that, the report has nothing ‘positive’ to report from Pakistan.

The reason why there is nothing ‘positive’ in the report reflects the fact that our state continues to move backwards, learning nothing from past mistakes.

If learning was the case, the recent offer of talks by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who have single-handedly ruined thousands of lives in Pakistan, would have been refused by the state immediately.

As it is, we are already in a state of war with the Taliban, who continue to attack children, students, teachers, journalists, minorities, and any one who does not accept or follow their brand of Islam.

To be precise, it is progression and a progressive mindset that the Taliban and likeminded groups are against. I felt it necessary to spell it out because it is important to understand, that militants are against each one of us, including every ideology or sect that they feel threatened from.

In 2012, militants killed around 325 people from the Shia sect, shot a student Malala Yousafzai, apart from torching over a hundred schools in different areas of Pakistan. This is not all, as there are countless other incidents where shrines have been attacked, apart from the ruthless targeting of the Pakistani police. Verve and confidence are not lacking in these people at all, as after every attack that destroys a home, a family or a school, the militants have openly taken responsibility for their actions.

Continue reading TTP talks: Legitimising terror

Pakistan – a failed state on a tinderbox

By Joel Brinkley

Distracted by the deadly violence in Mali and Algeria, no one seems to be paying adequate attention to the tragicomedy under way in Pakistan.

This matters because events of the last several weeks demonstrate without equivocation that Pakistan is an utterly failed state – but one that possesses nuclear weapons. The country is tumbling down the abyss. Where else could a fundamentalist Muslim cleric who lives in Canada draw tens of thousands of fans to a rally calling for dissolution of the government – speaking from inside a shipping container with a bulletproof window?

That’s just one in a litany of absurdities going on there.

At the same time comes the latest round of unresolvable acrimony between President Asif Ali Zardari and the country’s Supreme Court, which has been trying to bring him down for years.

Courtesy: San Francisco Chronicle

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/brinkley/article/Pakistan-a-failed-state-on-a-tinderbox-4224701.php#ixzz2JBWx9ixN

The Idea of Pakistan-Myth and Reality

By Agha H Amin

Pakistan today stands in the eye of the storm and every act of Islamic extremism can be traced to Pakistan or persons of Pakistani origin. Resultantly a battle of ideas has started in Pakistan about ascertaining the true role of Mr Jinnah and his political ideas.

The political use of religion was started after 1857 by Muslim aristocracy of United Provinces of Agra and Oudh and Punjab once they saw that Muslims were under threat of being reduced to zero because of introduction of competitive examinations and European style political representation.Thus the origins of Muslim politics in India in the period 1858-1947 was safeguarding the class interests of Muslim aristocracy and middle class in Punjab and UP.

The All India Muslim League founded in 1906 was a Bengali Muslim heavy effort but immediately hijacked by UP Muslims and its headquarters shifted to UP.The All India Muslim League remained UP Muslim dominated to such an extent that in Lucknow Pact in absence of many Punjabis or Bengalis the All India Muslim League agreed to surrender Muslim majority in Punjab to partity and Muslim majority in Bengal to minority.A direct result of Lucknow Pact was the Unionist Party in Punjab ,formed because Muslims of Punjab needed to be in partnership with Hindus and Sikhs without which they could not form a government.Similarly the Bengali Muslims suffered all along till 1946 because of Lucknow Pact and were forced to be manipulated by Hindu blackmail in Bengal politics.Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman did call Lucknow Pact a faux pas.

Mr Jinnah the founder of Pakistan was not known to be a religious man till 1937 at least when his All India Muslim League was literally routed in Muslim majority provinces of India getting just (7,319,445) the League got only 321,772 Muslim votes out of a total Muslim votes of 7,319,445 a mere 4.4 percent. In Punjab the League won just 2 seats out of 84 , in Bengal 39 out of 117,in NWFP none .Even in Muslim minority provinces the Muslim League was not Muslims first choice except Bombay where it won 20 out of 29 seats.

The Second World War brought the Congress in conflict with British and the Congress resigned from its ministries.The Lahore Resolution of 1940 was a strategic response of Mr Jinnah to counter the congress.It dove tailed with British war effort which Mr Jinnah supported and it countered the Congress which again suited the British.

The higher class and the middle class Muslims in UP , Punjab , Bengal and Sindh saw it as an opportunity to eliminate the Hindus and Sikhs from political , economic and employment competition.It is well known that some 25 % of Hindu money lenders were in Punjab and the vast majority of Muslim landlords in Punjab and Sindh were in debt to these money lenders.This factor prompted many Punjabi Muslim members of the Unionist Party to change loyalties to the Muslim League in 1940-46.

The Muslim feudal and educated classes of Punjab and UP saw Pakistan as a place where they would dominate the politics ,the business, the jobs and thus be the successors of British,The Bengali and Sindhi position was very low in the Muslim League hierarchy dominated till 1936 by UP Muslims and by Punjabi Muslims in partnership with UP Muslims after 1938.

It is a well known fact that Islam was used as a central mobilizing slogan in the elections of 1946 in Punjab,Sindh and Bengal.Mr Jinnah may have been a totally secular man but the campaign of 1946 did create a religious picture of Pakistan.

And now the class aspect of Pakistan. Who voted in 1946 Elections for Muslim League or Congress. Most of the people, particularly, women and lower class people, had no voting rights. These elections were based on the extremely restricted franchise of the 1919 Act, and the total number of votes cast was only 586,647, representing almost exclusively the propertied classes.Stanley Wolpert notes that just 5 % of Indias population voted in 1946 Elections.

Those who could understand and feel were bitter about the Punjab massacres and Hafeez Jullundhuri thus expressed his disgust :–

Qaafloay lut gayay barbad ho gayay to kia hua

Mutmain hain Qaflas salaar apnay kam say

The aftermath of Pakistan and its chequered political history proves many contradictions .

Continue reading The Idea of Pakistan-Myth and Reality

The state withers away in Pakistan

by Omar Ali

3 days ago the Pakistani Taliban raided an outpost of the levies, a paramilitary force recruited primarily from the Afridi tribesmen of the Khyber agency. Poorly equipped, poorly paid and left to stand on the frontlines of the war against the Taliban with little or no backup from the army, the levies lost 3 men and another 23 were captured. The next day the “local administration” spent a busy day contacting “tribal elders” to negotiate with the Taliban for the release of those poor men. But the talks failed and the captives were executed and their bodies dumped a couple of miles outside the city. This is not the first time the local Taliban have captured levies or other paramilitary forces and it is not the first time they have executed them. ….

Read more » 3quarksdaily

To watch the video of brutal Taliban execution of Pakistani soldiers, please click this link »  http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2012/12/the-state-withers-away-in-pakistan-.html#more

Pakistan: A country created & being destroyed in the name of religion – by Aziz Narejo

It was not long ago when some Indian Muslim leaders had gathered in Lahore and had adopted a resolution at their meeting to demand a brand new country in the name of religion. They systematically created a mass frenzy in the support of their demand and finally achieved what they wanted – ‘a brand new country in the name of religion’. It was born in a pool of blood and was accompanied by the misery and the mass migration on a scale never seen before in the Sub-Continent.

But creating hysteria and dividing population in the name of religion was very easy compared to running and managing a new country. The leadership failed at all levels – and in all sections of the society. The rot started early. They couldn’t bring the country to the people. Couldn’t keep it together. Couldn’t agree on a Constitution or a form of government. First it was Mullahs, feudals and bureaucrats. They were soon joined by the military, which lost no time to enslave everybody else. It became the ‘praetorian masters’, the ‘powers that be’ and the ‘establishment’. The military became the ultimate master of the destiny of the country.

To stop the people from getting their due rights, the establishment created a fake ‘ideology of Pakistan’. When pressed to accept demands of the people, especially from the eastern wing and the smaller provinces, it first created One Unit and then encouraged the rightists to fight the progressive elements and the people of various nationalities demanding their rights. The religious right and the establishment would readily dub them unpatriotic, anti-state, anti-Islam and enemies of the country.

What was the result? They lost half of the country in just 24 years. They still didn’t learn. Created some more monsters in the name of religion and ethnicity. Today everything seems out of control. The rightist groups, which were supported in the name of religion to fight the nationalist and progressive elements in the country and to wage proxy wars on the borders and in India and Afghanistan, have started working on their own agenda. They now think they are in a position to claim the whole pie – ‘why settle for less’?

Continue reading Pakistan: A country created & being destroyed in the name of religion – by Aziz Narejo

Afghanistan-Pakistan Border Tensions Flare Amid Bombardment Claims

By: Sharon Behn

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Afghan forces say they are ready to retaliate against Pakistan for cross-border shelling along the country’s northeastern border. Analysts in both countries are extremely concerned about what the situation means for the future of the region.

Afghanistan Defense Minister General Bismillah Mohammadi said that if diplomacy fails to stop Pakistan’s alleged shelling of Afghan soil, his forces are ready to react accordingly.

“Afghan forces,” he said, “are ready to sacrifice their lives and properties to defend their homeland,” said Mohammadi.

Trouble at Durand Line ….

Read more » VOA

http://www.voanews.com/content/afghanistan_pakistan_border_tensions_flare_amid_bombarment_claims/1518887.html?utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=en&utm_source=voa_news&utm_medium=twitter

Why Hezb-e Islami Killing Foreigners in Kabul is a Big Deal

5 Reasons Why Hezb-e Islami Killing Foreigners in Kabul is a Big Deal

By El Snarkistani

Another attack in Kabul today, which (sadly) isn’t that unusual lately.

But today’s reported killing of eight people in Kabul is frighteningly different from the norm here in the Emerald City.

Here’s why.

1. This is being claimed by Hezb-e Islami.

Once upon a time, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and friends did a great deal of violence in Kabul. ….

Read more » http://findingmytribe.me/2012/09/18/5-reasons-why-hezb-e-islami-killing-foreigners-in-kabul-is-a-big-deal/