Friday, February 12, 2010

A War Between Pashtu & Urdu Speakers In Karachi? Welcome To RAW

There is an organized plan to create rifts between Sindhis, Punjabis, Urdu speakers, Pakhtuns, Seraikis and Balochis. Why Pakistani officials are afraid of naming RAW for what it is doing in Balochistan and our tribal region? Pakistan is not weak. Our leaders are weak.

By Asif Haroon Raja

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan—India’s RAW strictly abides by tactics taught by Chanakya 2500 years ago. ‘Arthashastra’ gives copious lessons how Chanakya used to overcome his foes through deceit, guile and hypocrisy. Soon after birth of Pakistan, Indian propaganda spearheaded through internal subversive forces within Pakistan and its foreign allies was unfolded to sow the seeds of dissension and disruption in Pakistani society and to weaken its foundation based on religion.

East Pakistan was chosen as the primary target for subversion and eventual absorption. It provided a fertile ground to achieve its ends since lot of groundwork had already been done prior to 1947. They took 24 years to wean away the people of East Pakistan from the concept of united Pakistan and to make them look towards India – their erstwhile tormentors – to help them gain independence.

Having reaped rich harvest in 1971, RAW is continuing to follow the same themes and techniques against all its neighbors.

Strategically, India supports and spreads the idea of secessionist bodies in Pakistan. She is leaving no stone unturned to promote dissension and animosity among different communities inhibiting Pakistan and thus destabilise Pakistan politically and make it economically and militarily weak. Her psychological experts employ themes for Sindhi, Punjabi, Pathan, Mohajir, Baluchi and Saraiki audiences separately.

After 1971, India focused her attention towards Sindh, where her psychological operators are hell-bent to create a situation akin to erstwhile East Pakistan. Hanging of ZA Bhutto in April 1979 and its emotional impact on the people of Sindh was exploited to the hilt to create hatred against the army and Punjab. RAW provided all out support to Al-Zulfiqar led by Bhutto sons and later to the MQM’s militant wing to take control of Karachi through terrorization and to employ tactics similar to Awami League to create a state within state. Mrs. Indira Gandhi supported the MRD movement in Sindh in 1983 which kept simmering till 1985 and call for Sindhu Desh grew louder. Rural-urban divide in Sindh was skillfully widened.

India also maintained contacts with NAP (now ANP) leaders because of their historical softness towards the Congress and also kept instigating former Soviet Union and Afghan government to keep the issues of Pakhtunistan and Greater Baluchistan alive. Once India entered into a strategic partnership with USA after 1990, New Delhi intensified its propaganda against Pakistan on the issues of cross border terrorism into occupied Kashmir, drug peddling and on nuclear proliferation with a view to declare it as a terrorist state. The main purpose behind the propaganda warfare was to hide India’s own unchecked atrocities against the Kashmiris in IHK and to put Pakistan on the defensive. Unable to cope with freedom movement in Kashmir, India accused Pakistan of waging a proxy war and blamed certain Jihadi organizations involved in terrorism and sponsored by the ISI.

For the consumption of her their audience and for the younger generation in Pakistan, Indian psychological wizards kept feeding them on the platitude that Hindus and Muslims were living together in peace and harmony until the British inspired gambit divided them. They guilefully conceal the facts of history that in actuality the Hindus entered into an unholy alliance with the British to bring down the fortunes of the Muslims. They are trying to assert that the founders of Pakistan were misled into making an error of judgement, which must now be corrected.

They conveniently forget that till as late as 1946 the founder of Pakistan was in favor of united India and it was the Indian Congress leaders that thwarted all attempts towards conciliation.

India did not reciprocate Jinnah’s call for burying the past and to live as friendly neighbors. It had become abundantly clear from the attitude of the Indian leaders that they had agreed to the partition with a heavy heart and nurtured a fond hope that sooner than later Pakistan will return to the Indian ‘fold’. [Editor’s Note: Pakistan was never part of the ‘Indian fold’. Muslims ruled India before the British, but this is another story.]

In order to subvert Pakistan ideologically and culturally, India has developed its electronic and print media and psychological warfare in a big way and is currently using these weapons adroitly and achieving good results. The peace agreement signed with Pakistan in January 2004 provided an excellent opportunity to India to carry out cultural invasion and make deep inroads into Pakistan’s liberal sections of the society. Artists, film actresses, singers, models, fashion designers, sportsmen, westernized elements are cultivated through regular exchange of cultural and musical programs and fashion shows. Most of our private TV channels have come under the influence of Indian culture.

India’s major target audience is the youth of Pakistan. The element of hostility is being gradually removed from their minds by stating that the Pakistani leaders have unduly inflamed the animosity between the two neighbors out of political expediency. Our own pseudo intellectuals and paid writers are helping them in presenting a soft and friendly image of India. Political figures are cultivated and made India-friendly. Such guileful invasions of the minds could have drastic effects on the new generation.

The Indian RAW in cahoots with the Mossad, MI-6 and CIA based in Kabul after 9/11 has very cunningly exploited the existing vulnerabilities of our socio-politico-economic life and created cleavages in the society. They have common interests to wean the people of Pakistan away from patriotism and Pakistani identity.

There is a widely held view in Pakistan that the growth of militancy in Fata and insurgency in Baluchistan together with suicide bombings in Pakistan are the handiwork of a Indo-U.S.-Israeli nexus based in Kabul which is indulging in dirty tricks to destabilize Pakistan politically and cause economic deathblow to Pakistan so that its nuclear assets could be hijacked. It is most unfortunate that today Pakistan despite being a nuclear power is feeling so weak that it is accepting blatant intrusion of foreign powers without a whimper.

Our rulers are least concerned about sabotage and subversion activities of RAW despite having irrefutable proof of its involvement in Baluchistan, FATA and in Swat. They feel shy of even naming the involved agency what to talk of launching a protest. On the other hand, any act of sabotage taking place in India is promptly placed at the doorstep of Pakistan even without carrying out preliminary investigations. It had carried out the biggest ever troop concentration along our border in December 2001 on the uncorroborated allegation that Pakistan had a hand in a terrorist attack on Lok Sabha. Even Karazi gathered courage to accuse Pakistan of supporting cross border terrorism and openly threatened to send his troops into Fata to combat Pakistani Taliban.

While we are being slowly bled to death, it is to be seen how the new leadership reverses the trend of docility towards intrusive foreign powers which miss no opportunity to inflict destructive blows upon the federation of Pakistan.

Pakistan is not weak; it is our weak-willed leaders that had wilted under pressure after 9/11 and ever since have made Pakistan vulnerable to foreign subversion. Alas! So far the PPP leaders appear to be following the old policy of appeasement of Musharraf. They have hardly taken any note of blatant attack on a security check post in Mohmand Agency and repeated incursions of U.S. drones into our tribal belt. Defence Minister helplessly bleats that nothing can be done. The ones who have the guts to fight them back are being hounded as terrorists and killed.

Asif Haroon Raja is a defence and political analyst based in Rawalpindi and author of several books. This article first appeared in the Asian Tribune.

India-Israel selfishly restraining USA from abandoning Afghanistan

Asif Haroon Raja

The British, German and the French military commanders in Afghanistan as well as of other Nato countries having fought the resistance forces in Afghanistan for the last eight years to subdue militancy are now having second thoughts. They say that force is not the answer and a political settlement through process of dialogue should be found to end insurgency. Despite rapidly rising number of Americans disfavouring war and opposing troop increase in Afghanistan and Obama’s approval rating dipping, Obama Administration is still favouring continuation of Bush aggressive policies. Obama says it is war of necessity and has repeatedly expressed his resolve to dismantle, disrupt and defeat al-Qaeda and is still optimistic that war will be won. In pursuance of the stated objectives, Af-Pak policy was framed in February and approval for increase in troop level by 21000 given. These troops were to be shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan by December 2009 to take the total of US troops to 68000. Border belt astride Pak-Afghan border was declared as the battle zone since in US reckoning, bulk of Al-Qaeda leadership and other operatives were hiding in this area.

While Pakistan was pressed to deal with militants on its side of the border, US-Nato forces launched operations in southern and eastern Afghanistan in July with greater focus on Helmand province. In late August, it was announced that Pentagon was reassigning its 3rd Special Forces Group, presently deployed in Africa and Caribbean to focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Adoption of aggressive posture proved costly since US and other allied troops suffered more casualties from July to September than what they had suffered from 2001 onwards. In August casualty of ISAF was 77 out of which toll of US soldiers was 51. Allegations of rigging and fraud during presidential election in Afghanistan further compounded the woes of US-Nato. On 3 October, two US outposts in Nuristan province were attacked by Taliban fighters killing eight US and 30 Afghan soldiers and capturing as many Afghan soldiers. It was deadliest battle in last 15 months. Taliban are now gaining strength in northern and western Afghanistan as well which has become a serious cause of worry for US military commanders in Afghanistan.

In spite of troop surge taking the total to 107000, Gen Stanley McChrystal pleaded for 40,000 additional troops saying that war will be lost if he didn’t get more troops. He wants carte blanche to intensify killings in order to drown popular opposition to US occupation in blood. He vehemently rejected Joe Biden’s plan of reduction of troops terming it as unworkable. He has mustered support of Republicans, Blue Dogs, New Democrats and media. Crying over spilt milk, McChrystal among several reasons he listed of Afghanistan getting out of hand, he has once again drummed up ISI-Taliban linkage fed to him by CIA, RAW, RAAM. USA has added Quetta on its hit list on the plea that Afghan Taliban Shura is stationed there. Threat of drone attacks on Quetta is meant to spread the fires of insurgency into Pashtun belt as well and to force settlers to abandon the capital city.

It is not the alleged linkage of ISI with Taliban that has complicated military situation in Afghanistan but it is continued occupation of Afghanistan together with disruptive role of RAW that has caused extreme turbulence in Pakistan with its spillback effects on Afghanistan. While feeling upset over ISI-Taliban nexus, Chrystal has no compunction over Pakistan specific Indo-US-Israeli axis that has and is causing immense harm to Pakistan. Weapons are still flowing in from Afghanistan for the militants to prevent stabilisation of restive areas. India and Israel are playing the devil’s role to create mistrust between USA and Pakistan by continuously feeding concocted stories and even faking incidents to mar their relations. Anderson Cooper of CNN showed video of snipers (Mossad or Israeli soldiers) killing American soldiers in Iraq in 2006. Purpose was to enrage US troops so that slaughter continues. Both RAW and Mossad are master at false flag operations. Israeli company Rafael has promoted IEDs in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghan soldiers are now being trained by Blackwater to kill US soldiers while conducting joint operations so as to justify troop surge.

Gen McChrystal’s recent admission that insurgency in Afghanistan is predominantly Afghan flustered Indian leaders. His warning on 23 September that Indian increasing political and economic influence in Afghanistan is exacerbating regional tensions gave stomach cramps to them. His apprehensions are however against Af-Pak policy in which India has been assigned a key position by USA. Without US blessing, India could not have expanded its influence in Afghanistan in such a big way. Saner elements within India have now begun to question the wisdom behind investing such huge amounts in Afghanistan when over 70% Indian population are living in utter poverty.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee and 21 Congressional colleagues in the meanwhile introduced a bill HR 3699, which would bar funding to the increased troop level in Afghanistan beyond current level. Gordon Duff has termed Afghanistan as another Vietnam. More and more western analysts and security experts are giving similar assessments. Call for quitting Afghanistan is getting louder. Sensing the fast changing mood both in Afghanistan and within USA, Obama resignedly admitted on 8 October that the US accepts political role of Taliban in Afghanistan.

Ignoring the changing sentiments of people of USA and western countries, India, Karzai regime in Kabul, Israel, weapons merchants in USA and those involved in drug trade are constantly airing frightening scenarios about US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. They caution the US leaders that the vacuum created would not only result in victory of religious extremist forces but also would have a profound impact on the entire Muslim world thereby making USA more vulnerable. They advise them not to abandon Afghanistan till the elimination of terrorism irrespective of human and financial costs incurred. In their selfish urge to fulfil respective ambitions, they don’t care if USA ruins its economy, loses soldiers in futile war, and smudges its prestige and status as a sole super power. India and ruling cabal in Kabul would be biggest losers in case USA decides to quit since it would result in exit of Karzai and his team and return of Taliban and roll back of rising influence of India. India has invested over $1.2 billion in various development projects in Afghanistan and has managed to make deep inroads in all spheres. It is now keen to increase its military presence and become a key player in Afghan affairs to be able to encircle Pakistan and spread its influence in mineral rich Central Asian states.

India established an airbase in Tajikistan which became operational in 2007 and where 14 Indian MiG-31 bombers are parked. Farkhor base gives IAF option to strike Pakistan from the rear. It has also helped Afghanistan in connecting Kandahar with Chahbahar Port in Sistan province of Iran thereby removing dependence of landlocked Afghanistan on Pakistan. India would therefore not like to lose these strategic benefits and in consonance with Israel, which has huge influence over Washington would keep advising USA to convert Afghanistan into a permanent military base. Both are digging the grave of USA but myopic US leadership is so dumb that it is totally banking upon the two grave diggers. Zionism and Hindutva are global movements with a history of fascism and pro-imperialism. Israel which practices apartheid and commits atrocities on daily basis with no restraint on barbarity is called democratic friend by USA. Same is true for India. Both Israel and India serve as proverbial glove to hide the US hand and its hypocrisy.

Staggered by changing events RAW sprung into action and once again resorted to its old trick of terrorism in Kabul on 8 October. A huge explosion occurred near Indian Embassy in Kabul killing 17 and injuring about 83 persons. Some Indian guards also got killed or injured. Future course will be exactly in line with suicide attack on Indian Embassy Kabul in July 2008 the blame of which was put on ISI. Purpose is to force Obama Administration to send additional troops to Afghanistan as requested by Chrystal rather than opting for a troop cut and eventual withdrawal. The other is to project ISI as a rogue outfit which refuses to mend its ways; to mar Pak-US relations that have begun to warm up and get Pakistan declared a terrorist state; to torpedo Kerry-Lugar bill or force Pakistan to accept it in its present form; force Pakistan to expedite operation in Waziristan. Lastly, create a situation justifying heating up of eastern border.

Some mechanised battalions have reportedly been moved towards eastern border and Adampur airbase has been beefed up by placing MiG-29 jets facing Pakistan. Another notable and surprising development is Indian support offered to Pakistani Taliban. Display of video of dead body of Baitullah and sudden appearance of Hakimullah and Waliur Rahman on 4 October are consequential. Last winters, call given by late Baitullah and other warring militant leaders that they would fight the Indian aggression along side Pak army had taken the wind out of the sails of Indian aggressive designs. This time they have schemed to neutralise this threat by making them their allies. In all likelihood, India with the blessing of USA would once again create another crisis situation in November-December for which we must be mentally and physically prepared.

The writer is a defence and security analyst based at Rawalpindi and author of several

A rejoinder to Jasbir Rakhra

Asif Haroon Raja

It has become a routine for Indian writers within and outside India to build a false image of India and to pour scorn on Pakistan. As a state policy, India has always endeavored to create wedge between Pak-US, Pak-China, Pak-Afghanistan, Pak-Iran, Pak-South Asian, Central Asian and Gulf States relations to isolate Pakistan. Jasbir Rakhra (an Indian) working in Institute of Peace and conflict studies (IPCS) has written a befuddling article in the IPCS magazine dated 21 December steamed up in falsehood and half-truths. Salient contours of his write up are as under:

1-There is a nexus between Taliban-Al-Qaeda-Punjabis.

2-Pakistan has become a battleground and is threatened from all directions.

3-Attack on GHQ was most serious since it is symbol of glory and honor.

4-Nuclear installations are as vulnerable as GHQ to terrorist attacks and that possibility of attack on nuclear installations has now become distinct.

5-Three attacks on nuclear related facilities at Sargodha, Kamra and Wah have already taken place.

6-Attack on nuclear installation will not be launched to seize a weapon but to achieve a symbolic victory by attacking at nation’s pride, which would lead to national destabilization.

7-Pakistan’s nukes have become more vulnerable after its alliance with USA.

8-Main threat to nukes is not so much from terrorists as from persons with extremist bent of mind employed within installations.

9-Former or serving members of security establishments have been involved in acts of terror. (To substantiate his point he gives the example of Aqeel alias Dr Usman, an ex AMC nursing officer who led the raid on GHQ).

Reading between the lines, his major thrust point is on the old theme that Pakistani nukes have become vulnerable to terrorist attacks. He builds his case on the basis of GHQ attack and three attacks already having taken place on nuclear related targets. He is either ill-informed or is pretending to be naïve since suicide attacks in Sargodha and Kamra were on two air force buses including one children school bus which were plying on the main road. Suicide attack in Wah was on the gate of ordnance factory. He somehow missed out another attack on KRL bus in Pindi which an American writer had also described as an attack on Kahuta nuclear facility.

Going by his logic that an attack on nuclear installation would lead to Pakistan’s destabilization, India should have fragmented several times seeing the large number of incidents (total 51) in various Indian nuclear facilities.

Like all Indian leaders, Jasbir appears to have got vexed about the Congressional Report expressing satisfaction over Pakistan’s nuclear command & control security arrangement. Their anxiety is justifiable when seen in the backdrop of years of efforts put in to brainwash US leadership trying to impress upon them that Pak nukes have become highly unsafe and that there was likelihood of their falling in wrong hands. Indians have been trying hard to put fear into the hearts of US leaders that until and unless Pak nukes were destroyed or whisked away world security would be in jeopardy. Major plank on which their argument rested was on the extremist threat. This was magnified when Swat Taliban took up positions in Buner and Lower Dir in April 2009. Hue and cry was made that extremists were on the verge of taking over Islamabad as well as nuclear stocks. Jewish controlled American think tanks and journalists lent support to these themes.

Their psychological warfare got blunted when Pak Army turned the tables on the militants in Swat and Malakand Division in quick time and made them run for life. The Indians had convinced the Americans that the battle positions of militants in Swat were so formidable that it would take many years for the Army to overcome them. Likewise, they assessed that the persons displaced from troubled regions numbering over two millions would not be able to return for another two years or so and that economically impoverished Pakistan would not be able to sustain the burden. They could never imagine in their wildest dreams that Swat would be over powered by security forces in less than two months paving way for displaced persons to return.

Their high hopes on Hakimullah led Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in South Waziristan (SW) also dashed when the army executed another brilliant three directional maneuver and uprooted the whole network within one month. Praises by American officials displeased the Indians. Dispirited Jasbir consoles himself and his countrymen and also props up hopes of US leadership by prophesizing that defeat of TTP in SW is highly doubtful. He makes a wild guess that there will be massive retaliation by extremist forces. He doesn’t disclose his source of information or assumptions on which he arrived at this conclusion.

Sinister plans of our adversaries to reduce Army’s combat ability as well as its counter terrorism capability getting blown to pieces, they next focused their attention towards major cities with the help of suicide bombers, saboteurs and CIA-RAW supported Blackwater elements. GHQ was purposely targeted to bruise prestige of the Army and to lower down its raised image in the eyes of public. Purpose of targeting senior army officers and ISI set ups was to make the people lose faith in the Army as their protector.

With their wicked designs receiving a setback, Indian writers like Jasbir have changed tack and have shifted the threat to nukes from extremists to working members within nuclear facilities. He casts aspersion on the integrity of Strategic Plans Division (SPD) by asserting that it enrolls majority from Punjab province on the plea that Punjabis have relatively fewer links with extremist groups. After subtly provoking ethnic tensions he then tries to feed doubts by saying that five out of ten terrorists who attacked GHQ hailed from Punjab. What he slyly implies is that Punjabis are equally prone to fundamentalism as any other ethnic group. He links Punjabis with Al-Qaeda and Taliban in an effort to prepare grounds to press Pakistan to launch another military operation and provide excuse to CIA to employ drones in Muredke and South Punjab.

He next strikes at the ISI and MI responsible for the clearance of persons getting selected for security organizations. He doubts them by asserting that there is no reliable system to carryout check on ISI/MI officials. He then insinuates that that there are elements within these sensitive organizations affiliated with Taliban. Rather than Pakistan getting worried, Jasbir for reasons best known to him is losing his appetite and goodnight sleep fretting over self-imagined unreliable persons working inside Pakistani installations.

The chief reason behind writing this silly piece is India’s frustration and annoyance at Washington’s apparent change of heart and its efforts to remove misgivings of Pakistan. It has suddenly changed its stance on vulnerability of our nuclear assets. All top military and civil leaders including US Congress have expressed their complete satisfaction over the steps taken by Pakistan to strengthen its safety and security systems to make nuclear arsenal safe. The US Congress has also approved the selection procedure of persons for security outfits and finds no flaw in it.

Indo-Israeli axis doesn’t want Pak nuclear arsenal to become safe and secure. Its endeavor is to make it unsafe and insecure so that nuclear eggs could either be destroyed through a surgical operation, or whisked way in a single swipe or a joint US-Pakistan control system is put in place.

Indians want the US to review their stance on these two aspects and have given them added angles to ponder over. In other words, Indian spin masters would devise new ways to once again foment suspicions and build trust deficit between USA and Pakistan and make Washington formally declare Pak nuclear program unsafe. Indian lobbyists together with Jews are also working on anti-Pakistan and pro-Indian US officials within Obama Administration which are in majority to pressurize policy makers to speed up process of denuclearization of Pakistan.

Paranoid Hindu Brahmans have a huge role in militarizing South Asia because of their hawkish and uncompromising attitude and failing to resolve Kashmir dispute. They have kept the region perpetually turbulent because of their meddlesome role and expansionist designs. As long as 2.5% megalomaniac Brahmans governed by superiority complex rule India, their lackeys like Jasbir Rakhra would keep fabricating stories to conceal the crimes and injustices of Indian leaders and would continue finding faults in others. From the write up of Jasbir what is certain is that in near future, RAW backed terror attack would be mounted on any of Pakistan’s nuclear installation to prove Indian standpoint that our nukes are unsafe. A plan had been hatched last year as well for which late Baitullah’s men had been hired and given extensive training in Afghanistan but it fizzled out due to premature leakage of the plan.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence and security

Mutually beneficial Pakistan-US relationship is a pipedream

Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan-US relations that had soured after 1990, warmed up after 9/11 when Pakistan agreed to fight US coined war on terror as a frontline state. Their relations are apparently still friendly but clouded in suspicions and mistrust. Whatever steps taken by government of Pakistan for the benefit of US interests and at the cost of earning displeasure of the people of Pakistan are received with mixed feelings. No sooner Pakistan’s actions are applauded by some US officials; these are promptly washed off by other officials or US media through censures and ‘do more mantra’. Barring few, there is general consensus in Pakistan that it has suffered immensely because of its purported friendship with USA. It has lost much more and gained very little. Indian factor has played a prominent role in coloring the perceptions of US officials and widening trust deficit. Indian lobbyists are feverishly burning midnight oil to further widen this gulf and to turn USA hostile against Pakistan. They would have succeeded in their designs if the US military had achieved some of the objectives of war on terror and had gained an upper edge in Afghanistan and US economy had remained stable.

The US had to reconsider its policies in the wake of continuously deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, which forced Obama Administration to rush in 21000 additional troops from Iraq in 2009 to stabilize the situation. US-UK joint operation in Helmand turned into a fiasco and ISAF suffered heavy casualties. When no improvement could be affected another heavy reinforcement of 30000 is being dispatched. This is in spite of US claim that not more than 100 Al-Qaeda operatives are operating in Afghanistan. At the same time, Washington has decided to start pulling out its troops from Afghanistan by July 2011 onwards and has also stepped up its efforts to win over Taliban. Its futile endeavor is however to break linkage between Al-Qaeda and Taliban and to invest in alternative leadership of Taliban that can stand up against Mulla Omar. It has not made breakthrough on any front. Death of seven CIA agents at US base in Khost is the latest debacle and an indication that Taliban-Al-Qaeda nexus is intact.

Looking around, one finds obtaining situation in Central Asian Republics (CAR) where US economic interests reside unfavorably disposed towards USA. This is because of resurgence of Russia and its increasing grip over CAR, growing military and economic power of China and defiance of nuclear North Korea. Nuclearization of Iran and its anti-Israel and anti-US policies are a pain in the neck both for USA and Israel. And so is Iraq where the US having shed river of blood and spent colossal amounts has failed to stabilize it. Shia elements aligned with Iran are ruling the roost. Hamas in Gaza and Hizbollah in Lebanon refuse to get cowed down by Israeli belligerence and remain in a fighting mood. Turkey which had refused use of its airspace and territory to US troops for invasion of Iraq from the north in 2003 retains its Islamic identity and independence of thought and action. Syria too maintains its warrior spirit against USA and Israel. It had fiercely reacted to a single drone attack on a border village last year which restrained USA from making another attempt. Whole of impoverished Africa is in ferment because of western looters policy of divide and rule and wanton plunder of their wealth.

Al-Qaeda has grown in size and strength. Apart from its bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has bases in Somalia, Yemen, Sudan and North Africa. While Yemen has heated up, in Somalia, Al-Shabaab linked with al-Qaeda has gained control over more than 90% of Somali territory. Al-Qaeda is linked with all Islamic movements like Afghan Taliban, Chechnya movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Islamic movements in certain Far Eastern Asian countries. US ambassador in Islamabad has admitted that the US has credible information that large number of terrorists are homing towards Yemen and Somalia. Till recent the flow from Africa and Iraq was in the opposite direction. This reversal of tide has occurred because of brilliant successes achieved by Pak Army in Swat, South Waziristan and other troubled spots in the northwest. Pro-active and aggressive posture adopted by Pak army together with planned troop surge in Afghanistan has shrunk space for the militants forcing them to flee to safer havens elsewhere.

Somali coast off Indian Ocean has become another hotspot where pirates have posed a serious challenge to western commercial interests. From 2008 onwards, several daring raids have been carried out by Somali sea pirates to seize foreign ships for ransom. This practice is still continuing despite formation of joint counter-piracy force by Asian-Western countries. All these militant activities in various parts of Muslim world indicate that Al-Qaeda that was confined to Afghanistan till September 2001 has spread its tentacles far and wide and has now become an international organization. Aiman al-Zahawari based in Iraq has emerged as a strong and influential leader and like Osama bin Laden has successfully evaded worldwide hunt against him.

War on terror instead of getting curbed has become uncontrollable. It has not only made the lives of Americans highly insecure but has also made the world as a whole unsafe. Lots of hopes were pinned on Barack Obama to undo wrongful policies of George W. Bush and to promote peace and harmony in the world. He has proved to be huge disappointment. Instead of calling off senseless war on terror he is stoking it further. Resurgence of Taliban power in Afghanistan has deflated his fervor to some extent but not his resolve since he feels that he somehow would lose next election if he adopts defensive strategy. He has however been forced to revise his Pakistan specific Af-Pak policy in which the two countries were integrated into a single battle zone and India given a key role in Afghan affairs. It has belatedly dawned upon his team that what to talk of turning defeat into victory, exit from Afghanistan would become impossible without Pakistan support. This realization has compelled Washington to keep Pakistan on board with a heavy heart and it is these days trying to show its soft face.

Not only about 80% of Afghan territory has come under the influence of Taliban, rigged presidential election has made the position of unpopular Karzai more fragile. Performance of Afghan security forces predominated by non-Pashtuns is below average. The US is spending huge amount to expand and upgrade the quality of National Army and the police so that frontline duties could be assigned to them within next two years. There is however little hope for tangible improvement without the induction of Pashtuns. Likewise, Afghan regime will be unable to gain credibility as long as Pashtuns are denied their rightful share in power.

Rumbling within NATO countries based in Afghanistan is getting louder since they can see the writing on the wall. So is the case with American public which no more supports war on terror and wants its soldiers to return home. The US has so far spent over $38 billions but anti-Americanism among the Afghans has multiplied since they want them to leave. Anti-Americanism in Pakistan too has peaked because of biased and discriminatory policies pursued by Washington. Latest provocative step is the new discriminatory law framed to screen visiting Pakistanis on American ports while excusing India.

The US can upturn its image in Pakistan if it stops drone attacks in FATA and provide civilian nuclear deal to Pakistan similar to the one provided to India. It can boost its image if it forcefully forbids India to carryout covert operations against Pakistan using Afghan soil and restrains it from stealing Pakistan water. Other steps that can help build trust and confidence are construction of hydel power projects and provision of greater access to US and EU markets for Pakistani products. Pakistanis will become pro-America and render more sacrifices to safeguard US interests if the US helps Pakistan in easing the debt burden and plays a pro-active role to solve longstanding Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris and UN Resolutions. These two acts would go a long way in dispelling misgivings and mistrust harbored by people of Pakistan and in building mutually sustaining and durable strategic partnership premised on mutual interests, mutual respect and mutual trust.

Practically, such an occurrence is far-fetched and a pipedream since Indo-Israeli lobbies enjoying strong influence over policy makers in USA would never allow it to happen. In 2010, distrust and antagonism would accelerate rather than de-escalate since the security situation in Afghanistan would keep spinning out of control. It would leave politically weakened Obama Administration with no choice other than to continue following Indo-Israel dictated dual faced policies of harming Pakistan under the garb of friendship. While making Pakistan more dependent upon IMF and US aid, tunnel-vision US leaders would release aid miserly, keep on blaming Pakistan for US failures and intensifying pressure to commence operation against Maulvi Nazir, Gul Bahadur and Haqqani network and intensifying as well as widening scope of drones. At the same time, it would keep expanding its presence in Pakistan to be able to hunt Pak nukes. Such hypocritical recourse would give short term benefits to India and Israel and a sadistic pleasure to USA but in the long run all will be losers. Those wishing for mutually beneficial relationship are living in cloud-cuckoo-land.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence and security analyst. Email:

Hindu-Muslim antagonism

Asif Haroon Raja

The first brick of Hindu-Muslim antagonism was laid when Muhammad Bin Qasim raised the banner of Islam in Sindh in 712 AD and tens of thousands of lower caste Hindus and Buddhists suffering under the tyrannical yoke of Raja Dahir embraced Islam. Throughout 1000 years rule of India by the Muslims, Hindu cultural values and religious sentiments were respected and preserved. Benevolence of Muslim rulers of India and their patronage to high caste Hindus resulted in failure to assimilate Hinduism into fold of Islam. This can be gauged from the fact that at the time of partition of India, Muslim strength in the Indian subcontinent was mere 22%.

Hindus never reconciled to any meaningful integration with generous Muslim culture. Behind apparent public cordiality, there was deep-seated antagonism in private. Muslims were always looked down upon as defiled and polluted and treated as intruders. Hinduism reluctantly submitted to Muslim rule, but all the time it strived to weaken Islamic society by corroding it from within.

When the British captured power in India, Hindus became natural allies of the British and both went all out to destroy social, educational, cultural and religious heritage of Muslims. Hindus deep-rooted hatred got accentuated when the Muslims opted for a separate homeland.

Notwithstanding the aspirations of the Muslims of India, the idea of a separate Muslim state was repugnant to Indian Congress and hence unacceptable to them. This led to a bitter and prolonged quarrel between the two communities. While it was a question of survival for the Muslims, for Hindus it was the matter of preventing vivisection of so-called Mahabharata.

Despite many hurdles created by Hindu leaders, upsurge for gaining independence was too great and beyond human control. In spite of MA Jinnah�s loud protestations, provinces of Bengal and Punjab were deliberately partitioned while Kashmir was allowed to accede to India to make him change his mind. These callous acts failed to deter him but sowed seeds of permanent discord between Pakistan and India. When the Kashmiris rose up in revolt, over two-third of Kashmir was forcibly annexed by Indian forces.

Failing to reconcile to the existence of Pakistan and cherishing the fond hope of its re-absorption into Indian dominion, Indian leaders worked hard for the dismemberment of Pakistan soon after its inception. Many Indians regarded the creation of Pakistan as a tragic mistake that could still be corrected. Break up of Pakistan and its absorption within the fold of Indian Union had become the national goal of Congress leaders. To consolidate the Indian dominion, by March 1949, India had absorbed 538 princely states out of a total of 565. India�s insatiable greed to gorge as many states and her menacing attitude towards Pakistan made the latter wary and worried.

Pakistan�s geographical frontiers had yet to be determined. It was without a seat of government or an administrative structure to enable it to exercise its� sovereignty. It was without a constitution; its� armed forces were scattered; civil servants and other administrative and technical hands were in the midst of migrating from India; its political and economic system was completely disrupted and the communication system had broken down.

As if these settling problems and the hanging evil shadow of Mountbatten and Radcliffe were not enough, Pakistan�s horizons clouded with hostile acts of its neighbors in the east and the northwest. Their hostility cast perverse shadows across its path. Hindu leaders in their quest to re-unite India continued to hurl threats and saddle Pakistan with knotty problems to prevent the toddling state from standing on its own feet. They refused to accept the creation of Pakistan with good grace, and to settle all outstanding differences on the basis of justice and fair play. They regarded Pakistan as a transient euphoria of Muslims.

Sir Claude Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army having read the intentions of the Indians opined, �I have no hesitation in affirming that the present Indian Cabinet are implacably determined to do all in their power to prevent the establishment of the dominion of Pakistan on a firm basis�.

According to Brecher, �Most of Congress leaders and Nehru among them, subscribed to the view that Pakistan was not a viable state�politically, economically, geographically or militarily and that sooner or later the areas which had ceded would be compelled by force of circumstances to return to the fold�.

In struggling to create a state structure in the chaotic environments of partition and an early war with India over Kashmir, our managers remained tied down fighting the battle of survival and identity. There was no certainty that Pakistan would survive its traumatic birth. �Very few states in the world started with greater handicaps than Pakistan did on August 14, 1947�.

After a lapse of over six decades, it is rather not possible for the present younger generation to perceive the complexities faced by the pioneers of Pakistan at the time of independence. For those who lived through that trying period of history and personally experienced the turmoil, human tragedies, mass carnage of the Muslims by the Hindu-Sikh combine, and the Hindus abominable Bania mentality, it was a nightmare.

Given their common past spread over centuries it was hoped that the two countries after having won their independence from the seductive tentacles of the British Raj would close the chapter of suspicion and aversion and instead strive to live as peaceful neighbors. It was expected that rather than beating war drums and sinking into the bottomless ocean of arms race, leaders of the two countries would concentrate on well being of the people through mutual cooperation. Unfortunately, those hopes remained an elusive dream.

Adversarial history of sixty-two years covering the whole existence of the two nations has in fact made the minds captive of a hate each other syndrome. Jingoistic statements are often hurled at each other to play with the emotions of the people or to satisfy sadistic instincts. After tearing Pakistan into two in 1971, Indian hawkish leaders keep scheming to fragment rest of Pakistan. 1980s saw rise of Hindu fundamentalism in India. Militant BJP government in India that captured power twice repeatedly voiced its wish to reunite the subcontinent and to annex Azad Kashmir by force and vowed to establish Hindutva. Indian Congress is no less antagonistic towards Pakistan and has taken no steps to control growth of Hindu fundamentalism which is intolerant towards all other minorities in India.

Hate phobia and age-old prejudices in the two neighboring countries have not died down. Hindus continue to view the Muslims as destroyers of Hindus culture and for mutilating mother India. Their pent-up anger and hatred against Indian Muslims was physically demonstrated in 1992, when Ayodhya mosque was pulled down and it was demanded that a temple be erected at the same site. Large scale state sponsored massacre of Muslims in Gujarat took place in 2003. Muslims in occupied Kashmir are killed like stray dogs and women brazenly raped. Indian Muslims are eyed with suspicion and treated shabbily. Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray stated on 12 January that Indian Muslims are untrustworthy since they are loyal to Pakistan. On the slightest pretext Hindu scalawags fan communal riots and kill tens of Muslims. These riots in India have increased rather than lessened with the passage of time. 13% Muslim minority in India feels marooned and fearfully watch the growing Hindu fanaticism which finds no place for the Indian Muslims unless they adhere to Hindutva and agree to join the ranks of Sudras (untouchables).

Glimpse of Indian deep-seated antagonism was seen on the occasion of a terrorist attack on Indian parliament on 13 December 2001 in which not a single parliamentarian was killed, injured or even abused. While the whole nation bayed for blood of Pakistan on mere suspicion, Indian armed forces rushed towards their western border and remained in a menacing mode for ten months. This kind of frenetic fury and war mongering was again seen in the aftermath of 26/11. Over one year has lapsed but Indian leaders have not forgotten the incident and refuse to recommence composite dialogue. They do not recall the deep wounds they have consistently inflicted upon Pakistan without any sense of remorse. They ignore that thousands of innocent Pakistanis have died as a result of ongoing RAW sponsored acts of terror. As long as India is ruled by self serving vicious Brahmans, antagonism will prevail and hope for peaceful co-existence will remain elusive.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence and political analyst.


Jewish controlled and Indian influenced jaundiced US think tanks

Asif Haroon Raja

There are 1777 think tanks based in USA of which 350 are in Washington alone. Likewise, large numbers are working in western countries. Some are government sponsored while others are funded by private sources. These think tanks have been burning midnight oil for the last eight years to suggest a way out how to defeat, dismantle Al-Qaeda and its associates and to emerge victorious from war on terror and thus make the sole super power the winner. Rather than working on foreign policy and security issues, their entire focus has been on justifying the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq; to cover up the crimes committed by US-NATO forces; to paint radical Muslims within targeted countries as human eating monsters and US forces as liberators. Rather than pouring out pearls of wisdom for the benefit of US policy makers in particular and the world in general to help defuse the explosive situation which is spinning out of control and threatening world peace, their pens never dry up spewing out poison to further stoke fires of chaos and anarchy. Their write ups are based on tutored themes given by vested interests aimed at distorting facts, spreading disinformation, uncertainty and paranoia so as to keep the pot of war on terror boiling. They portray the aggressors as virtuous free of any faults and victims of aggression as evil.

Think tanks are essentially required to fine-tune solutions to some most complex and vexing issues. They are expected to help in setting policy agendas to bridge the gap between knowledge and action. Except for very few, majority of think tanks are intensely prejudiced, irrational and imbalanced. None has ever discussed the root causes of terrorism or defined terrorism, or state terrorism objectively. Al-Qaeda has been converted into a Frankenstein monster which haunts each member of the think tanks as well as policy makers in Washington, London, Tel Aviv and New Delhi. Like Osama bin Laden led Al-Qaeda, Mulla Omar led Afghan Taliban have also got on their nerves. All these militants whom they now profusely hate were the blued-eyed of USA and western world in the 1980s since it were these holy warriors, now turned into terrorists, who bestowed the status of sole super power upon USA. Without their heroics USA could never ever have fulfilled its dream. As long as the US loved the Mujahideen they were loved by the free world. No sooner they began to hate them and became egotistical, unilateral and self righteous; it triggered anti-Americanism and the whole world began to hate USA for being selfish, untrustworthy and arrogant.
While ignoring all other influencing factors and the causes which radicalize normal human beings and turn them into extremists, terrorists and suicide bombers, the think tanks remain single tracked and keep treading the beaten track. Their conclusions and recommendations are drawn on jaundiced and faulty premises as a result of which the real evil doers are painted in white and the victims in black. All sorts of fanciful stories are conceived and published to raise alarm bells and to stoke fears about imaginary threats with ill motives. The net result is that after passage of over eight years, the US today finds itself in a blind alley with limited options how to pull out of the self created quagmire. Things have gone from bad to worse with little hope for recovery.

Even at this ongoing critical juncture, pseudo think tanks have still not corrected their skewed course to recover lost ground. Living in fancy world, they continue to come out with bizarre fairy-tales to keep the leaders off track. Having got tired of churning out chronicles on mythical Osama, and vainly trying to keep dead Osama alive to justify continuation of war on terror, their thrust is now mostly focused on Pakistan, Iran and on homeland security. Their nuclear program has got on their nerves. Finding Iran to be a tough customer to deal with, they have directed all their guns against Pakistan since they find it a convenient scapegoat. Every now and then some sensational story regarding vulnerability of Pakistan nuclear program appears in foreign newspapers and journals.

Apart from their calculated efforts to malign Pakistan and its institutions to weaken it from within and to pave the way for its denuclearization, they put the blame of failures of US military on Pakistan under varying pretexts and derive inner satisfaction. Other favorite fictions which thrill them are about balkanization or break up of Pakistan; extremists on the verge of taking over power and nukes; Pak Army and ISI aligned with extremists; unsatisfactory safety and security system of nuclear installations; terrorist attack on US homeland would spring from FATA; Osama and Al-Qaeda top leadership based in FATA since 2002 pose serious threat to western nations, Mulla Omar and his Shura in Quetta coordinating attacks in Afghanistan; another Mumbai like terror attack on India in the offing; officials with religious bent of mind and aligned with terrorists working in nuclear facilities would steal nukes.

Their prejudice can be gauged from the fact that not a single story concerning India or Israel suffering from multiple vulnerabilities has ever appeared. Their loopy and self serving approach on non-issues has not only robbed them of intellectual honesty and fair play but also distracted them from the main job they are supposed to perform. Rather than pondering over real issues and appraising policy makers with implications of ground realities and presenting instructive counsels to enable them to arrive at timely and correct decisions, they feed them with motivated and half-baked analyses and present a false picture. To hide their incompetence they present gains made through propaganda campaign against Pakistan. Unmindful of the enraged sentiments of American public they put up faulty analysis how to convert defeat into victory in Afghanistan merely to please their bosses. Their write ups serve the cause of Jews and Indians only but prove injurious for overall interests of USA as well as people of USA.

Major reason for this glitch is that the whole lot of intensely partisan think tanks in USA and leading ones in Europe are Jewish controlled and CIA funded. Indians too invest a lot in these think tanks and several of them have Indians as members. Ideas propounded by think tanks are picked up by leading US and western newspapers while Jewish and Indian paid journalists not only corroborate it but add spice to it.

Judging from the track record and conduct of these jaundiced think tanks, it is quite evident that they are hell-bent to keep USA and Muslim world on a warpath so as to kill two birds with one stone. Clash of civilization between Christianity and Islam suit the agenda of Israel and India, both aspiring to become world powers. The Zionists had first pitched US led western world and Muslim world against Communism and after the fall of latter in 1991, Islam became their next target. Among the Muslims those with religious bent of mind and closer to religion were marked for annihilation with the help of secular Muslim leadership and backed by ultra liberal Muslims. American Jews played a key role in coloring the perceptions of US leaders. In order to turn American and western public hostile against Muslims, 9/11 was master minded by the Jews which changed the dynamics of the globe. Their grisly role has now been sufficiently exposed.

When George W. Bush decided to invade Afghanistan to avenge terrorist attacks allegedly master minded by Osama bin Laden and also to ensure homeland security, India offered its full services and tried hard to convince Washington to tackle both Afghanistan and Pakistan simultaneously. Bush Administration ignored the counsel and preferred Pakistan over India because of its remarkable role in war in Afghanistan against Soviet forces in 1980s. As long as Washington trusted Pakistan and its premier institutions it made good progress. No sooner it started to mistrust Islamabad and indulged in undesirable ‘do more mantra’ under the influence of India and Israel and US think tanks, it lost direction and things began to go haywire and once the initiative slipped out of US hands it could not be regained.

In the war on terror, Muslims are being butchered ruthlessly much to the delight of Israel, India and neo-cons in USA. So far over 1.5 million Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan have been killed, as many maimed for life and millions displaced. Worst form of torture and human degradation by the so-called most civilized nations of the world took place. The two countries have been ruined and divided on ethnic lines.

In this war of bloodshed and wanton destruction, American and western troops too have suffered human losses. They are suffering from battle fatigue, weariness, loss of heart and immense psychological traumas. Obama on whom high hopes were pinned has proved to be the other side of the coin. He continues to follow self-destructive policies since his sources of information and influencing bodies are the same. Neo-cons of George W. Bush era are still active and influential while Pentagon and CIA in league with hawkish elements within Establishment, State Department and Congress have occupied front seats and are calling all the shots.

With Iraq still in turmoil and Afghanistan fast slipping out of its hands, the US-NATO military is seeing defeat written on the walls of Afghanistan. The Taliban having gained an upper edge over 80% of Afghan Territory have now begun to strike the heartland Kabul. They are in the process of finding an answer to the aerial threat. The US finds itself lost and marooned and is somehow still banking upon troop surge which is not a solution to the problem. Rather, it would further aggravate matters. The US has lost its global prestige, self respect and credibility because of gross human rights violations, callousness, injustices and double standards and has earned the distinction of most hated country in the world. Anti-Americanism within the entire Muslim world has peaked and never before it was abhorred so intensely. Today the American officials are innocently asking in bewilderment as to why America is hated. The American public kept in a cocoon and unaware of barbarities committed by US forces against hapless people of Afghanistan and Iraq is equally puzzled.

Israel and India have preferred to remain in the background restricting their activities to covert operations only and letting USA to face the music. Pakistan has remained their common foe and both have played a role in building distrust between US-Pakistan relations by playing up the theme of Pakistan’s premier institutions linkage with Afghan Taliban and circulating scary stories about Pak nukes which pose no threat to USA. War on terror has all the gains for deceiving Indo-Israeli axis and they have nothing to lose. The duo is instrumental in plunging the fortunes of USA and would not rest till its downfall. Both Russia and China are merrily watching the endgame from the sidelines with a twinkle in their eyes.

Pakistan nuclear program is under intense assault of Jewish-Indian influenced US think tanks, journalists and officials. Latest piece appearing in Sunday Times is about a crack unit of US Army receiving training to snatch back stolen nukes from the grasp of militants working inside Pakistan’s nuclear installations. According to another report which appeared at the fag end of last year, this super unit had dashed in white heat on learning that militants had snatched some nukes and had reached Dubai to recover the nukes but returned when told that the red alert was false. It was a Rambo like story and a vain attempt to glamorize US Army having a rough time in Afghanistan against rag tag Afghan Taliban. The so-called crack unit is better advised to stay put in its stable and take care of US arsenal which is vulnerable to attacks by the youth getting radicalized in the west. If it hazards to land here it will earn ignominy and nothing else.

Rolf Mowatt-Larson has stolen ideas from the article of Jasbir Rakhra (member IPCS) and so many other articles written by US think tanks on the vulnerability of Pak nukes. He has built his case on the basis of following acts of terror which took place in Pakistan in 2007-09: attack on an air force bus in Sargodha on the main road in November 2007; another on a children school bus along main GT road near Kamra complex; arrest of six men in Sargodha in August 2009 intending to carryout suicide attack; attack on the gate of ordnance factory in Wah; attack on GHQ entrance gate in October 2009,attack on entrance of Naval HQ in Islamabad in December 2009.

He has purposely misconstrued all these attacks by wrongfully stating that these were carried out on nuclear related installations. Purpose was to demonstrate to the world that extremists in Pakistan are desperate to acquire nukes, which are insecure and thus a justification for USA to secure them. It gives a clear lead that all these attacks were sponsored by RAW and CIA. He next jumps to a comical conclusion that among 8-12000 persons working in various nuclear related installations, a very large number are bound to be sympathizers of terrorists. In his jaundiced view they pose greatest threat to security of nukes. Ironically, such harebrained ideas devoid of logic and rationality floated by nitwits are not rebuffed by US leaders or intellectuals but are read with interest and the authors patted and encouraged to add more juice to their stories.

Countless cooked up stories have been circulated in the last few years which are with a definite agenda of denuclearizing Pakistan. In order to get hold of Pak nukes they have been intentionally projecting Pakistan in poor light and expressing deep apprehensions about the security of nuclear arsenal. Idea is to systematically condition the minds of all concerned and to pave the way for Indo-US-Israeli nexus to grab the nukes or to seek UN intervention. It is now quite clear that peaceful regions in Pakistan were deliberately made restive and terrorism stoked jointly by India, USA and Israel to justify intervention and deprive Pakistan of its nuclear arsenal.

It is simply nauseating to keep listening to their stale story of nukes falling into wrong hands. It should be made clear to the American leaders that there are no wrong hands among 170 million Pakistanis. They will die of hunger but would not like to part with nuclear arsenal which acts as a symbol of pride and security for them. The only wrong hands which are bent upon stealing our nukes by hook or by crook are American hands and none else. The Indians and Israelis, past masters in faking and in art of thievery, are giving a helping hand in the planned robbery. Drama of extremist threat or threat from within nuclear facilities is being played up to dupe the world and frighten Pakistan so as to pave the way for pinching nukes. Blackwater has been outsourced to conduct an attack on one of our nuclear facility. The biggest threat to our nukes is from Indo-US-Israeli nexus which is constantly scheming to disable our nuclear program.

Paid think tanks, journalists and officials in USA are advised to stop bluffing and stop selling their outlandish and outdated themes of fragmentation of Pakistan and vulnerability of Pak nukes since none other than mentally retarded people or partners in crime would buy them and get amused. They should also bring a change in their discriminatory behavior; refrain from spreading fear and chasing phantom of Osama and stop stoking war on terror. Instead they should earnestly work towards finding ways how to put an end to this self-destructive war and how to ensure safe and honorable exit of US-NATO troops from Afghan swamp. They should also come out with a comprehensive paper highlighting as to why the US has failed in all it’s laid down objectives in Afghanistan. They should identify root causes of terrorism and suggest remedies; how to resolve chronic disputes of Kashmir and Palestine; how to minimize anti-Americanism within Muslim world; how to get rid of paranoia about homeland security; how to avert clash of civilization and to promote inter faith harmony so as to make the world peaceful. The US still has time to avert disaster if it brings a visible change in its attitude and self-destructive policies and adopts the path of conciliation, peace and harmony.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence and security analyst. Email:

Nuclearisation of South Asia

Asif Haroon Raja

Victory in East Pakistan made the Indian leaders euphoric and megalomaniac. They ventured upon an ambitious force modernization program and also conducted nuclear test in 1974 which impinged upon the security of Pakistan. It impelled Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to lay the foundations of uranium enrichment plant at Kahuta on 31 July 1976 under Dr. AQ Khan. He pursued the nuclear option despite host of barricades built around him and for this act he was made a horrible example.

Late President Ziaul Haq took full advantage of the favorable phase of Pak-US close relations because of US high stakes in Afghan war and allowed the nuclear program to develop at Kahuta with speed. He announced in December 1982 that Pakistan had achieved the capability to enrich uranium. This miracle was brought about in six years in the face of total ban imposed by the West on transfer of nuclear technology or import of any part related to it.

To keep this sensitive project secret from the world was in itself a commendable effort on part of all those associated with it. By the time the western powers got the wind of it, the project had reached an advanced stage and there was no turning back. The significance of the feat becomes more distinguished and inestimable when one realises that this breakthrough was made by a third world country where even needles and ball bearings are not indigenously produced.

Zia made several proposals to make South Asia free of nuclear weapons but India spurned all his offers. No sooner the Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 and the threat of communism evaporated in the thin air, it brought about fundamental change in the policies of USA in South Asia. Pakistan lost its strategic significance and its nuclear program once again became an eyesore.

In order to restrain Pakistan from pursuing its peaceful nuclear program, the US Administration stopped the flow of arms supply and economic aid through infamous Pressler Amendment in 1990. The US on becoming sole super power after the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991, sidelined Pakistan and took India on board. Taking advantage of growth of close ties with Washington and souring of Pak-US relations, India stepped up its propaganda campaign to convince Washington to declare Pakistan a terrorist and a nuclear proliferating state.

Obsessed by its security concerns and in anticipation to the fourth round, Pakistan strove hard to keep the widening military balance within limits. It was in the context of its extreme security concerns that Pakistan was forced to make its nuclear deterrence credible by conducting six successful nuclear tests on 28 May 1998 in response to Indian five tests on 12 May. These tests were undertaken in spite of extreme pressure put by the US and other world powers.

Even the Indo-Israeli axis exerted pressure by trying to put into action its long conceived plan of a surgical air strike from Srinagar airbase against Kahuta on the night of 27 May 1998. Vested groups within Pakistan did not lag behind in trying to discourage the leadership from giving a tit for tat response to India and strained their lungs asserting that such a venture would be suicidal for Pakistan. Irrespective of the colossal internal and external pressures, Pakistani nation stood like a rock and urged the government to go ahead with nuclear blasts whatever be the cost. Pakistan under Nawaz Sharif rose to the occasion and lived up to the expectations and aspirations of the nation.

Nuclearisation of Pakistan poured cold water on the aggressive designs of India. The US started to vainly exert pressure on Pakistan to sign CTBT unilaterally since India refused to do so. Pakistan also kept up with its missile development program which was initiated by Benazir Bhutto and produced series of short and medium range guided missiles much superior to Indian missiles.

Once Pakistan got caught on the wrong foot due to AQ Khan’s confession obtained under duress in 2004, the Americans started exerting greater pressure and succeeded in not only penetrating into our sensitive areas but also collecting sensitive data like number of warheads and triggers and storage through aerial photography, infra red snaps and satellite triangulation. They succeeded in making our managers separate warheads from delivery means and from triggers and storing the three components separately, all under the pretext of safety and security.

Realising that it can no more blackmail Pakistan or wage an open war, India in connivance with USA, UK and Israel is now trying to achieve its sinister objectives through sabotage and subversion as well as psychological and cultural onslaughts. A vile Indo-US-Israeli campaign has been mounted expressing serious concerns about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear program. Irrespective of assurances given by Pakistani leaders, they keep stressing that nukes would be stolen by extremists or by officials working inside nuclear installations. In actuality, the trio is striving hard to steal Pak nukes through Blackwater. The US is least concerned about Indian nuclear program which has worst safe keeping record in the world because of numerous incidents of pilferage and smuggling of fissile material as well as accidents.

Consequent to Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, output of India’s 22 nuclear power reactors would jump to 10,000 megawatts by 2012 and manufacturing rate of nuclear bombs would leap to 40 per year. India has also inked nuclear deal with Russia, which has promised to set up 4 new reactors. India’s agreement to place only 4 nuclear reactors under safeguards of IAEA by 2014 is inconsequential. In next five year time, it would be able to manufacture 200 additional nuclear bombs thereby doubling existing stock level. It is a purposeful move to pressurize Pakistan to do the same well knowing that US influenced IAEA has double standards when dealing with Muslim and non-Muslim countries. Indian lobby in USA succeeded in making Kerry Lugar aid bill for Pakistan harmful. Apart from other insulting conditions, the bill seeks freeze of Pak nuclear program.

Despite achieving quantum jump in nuclear field, Indian leadership remains worried over Pakistan’s nuclear capability. While Indian Army Chief Kapoor is threatening to wage war against Pakistan and China, on the other he and naval chief are fretting and sweating that Pakistan has exceeded minimum nuclear deterrence level and improved its nuclear capability.

Blackwater outsourced by CIA and RAW is being used to create anarchy in major cities and to gain access to nukes. Reportedly, Blackwater has begun to make diagrammatical drawings and video films of nuclear installations as well as available routes.
Pentagon had conducted a war game in 2000 in which it was brainstormed that whenever Indo-Pakistan war takes place and Pakistan Army is on the verge of throwing up its cards and is preparing its nukes, US Special Forces would swoop in to destroy them during the assembly of warheads and triggers or while on the move. Currently, the US is busy giving final touches to its sinister plan how to quietly extract Pakistan’s nuclear teeth after giving heavy dozes of anesthesia. It is desperate to gain access to our nuclear arsenal under the garb of making it safe and secure from accidents, proliferation and theft. It wants its special marine force to create secure parameter around each site, or evolve a joint control system.

Notwithstanding that acquisition of nuclear and missile capability by Pakistan has greatly minimised the risk of war with India, however, it has earned Pakistan the perpetual hostility of India, Israel and USA in particular and western world in general since possession of nukes with a Muslim country is unacceptable to them. New ways are now being devised by our adversaries to denuclearise Pakistan without having to wage a war.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence and security analyst.

Fluid situation in Afghanistan and faulty US assumptions

Asif Haroon Raja

2009 proved to be a bad year for US led coalition forces in Afghanistan. In the wake of upsurge of Taliban deadly attacks and mounting US fatalities in Afghanistan (304 in 2009), Gen McCrystal pulled out all troops from forward posts and relocated them in fortified towns. He also put in a bid for 40,000 troops and stressed that unless additional troops were made available, defeat within next 12 months will be certain. It became a real challenge for Obama Administration already reeling under mounting pressure from within to cede to his demand. American public as well as sizeable segment of ruling Democrats had differing views on war on terror. They oppose troop surge and want the soldiers to return home. Pulled in diverse directions, he diluted his pro-activism by announcing that by July 2011 US troops would start withdrawing from Afghanistan. At the same time he announced dispatch of 30,000 US troops to ramp up 100,000 strong ISAF thereby appeasing both sides. Troop surge combined with pullout policy being fundamentally conflicting and inconsistent evoked sharp criticism. Surge was however justified on grounds that it would speed up process of transferring responsibility to Afghan forces and exit of US forces from Afghanistan.

US military in Afghanistan has become totally dependent upon CIA, RAW, Mossad and MI-6 for conducting Afghan and regional affairs. It refuses to get rid of their perverse influence despite suffering reverses on all fronts. War on terror in Afghanistan has been outsourced to Blackwater under CIA-RAW-Mossad to minimize exposure of US troops to hazards of combat. US-NATO troops suffering from depression remain confined to their bunkers and safe houses playing indoor games and whiling away time to return home safely. Gordon Duff exposed rising trend of homosexuality among homesick soldiers. Think tank RAND report in 2008 revealed 300,000 veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan diagnosed with severe depression or post traumatic stress disorder. It said more soldiers were going AWOL to find treatment from PTSD.

While morale of ISAF in Afghanistan has sunk low, performance of US trained Afghan National Army (ANA) and police is far from satisfactory. Non-Pashtun heavy security forces are unable to stand up to the challenge posed by Pashtun Taliban who are now making frequent attacks within non-Pashtun belt in northern Afghanistan. Kabul too is besieged from three directions and several daring attacks have been carried out within heavily guarded capital city. Last one was on 18 January. US hasty efforts to double the strength of ANA to 171600 and police to 134000 by 2011 would further erode the efficacy of these two institutions.

Under such a bleak military situation it is indeed intriguing as to why McChrystal sought such heavy reinforcement well knowing that by giving up territory voluntarily he has lost the initiative to Taliban. It has now become almost impossible for US military to regain initiative as well as lost space and to achieve victory. Withdrawal date has been announced and decisions to start handing over charge of provinces to illiterate and dispirited ANA from end 2010 onwards spread over five years and to reintegrate moderate Taliban under the new policy of reconciliation taken. Troop surge therefore doesn’t fit into the new scheme of things. McChrystal doesn’t want extra force to battle Taliban. At best it could be a strategy to gain upper hand and then negotiate from position of strength, or to overawe fence sitters among Taliban and lure them to ditch hardcore Taliban, or it is meant to have a strong rearguard force for safe exit.

He and his likeminded military commanders as well as hawks in Pentagon and Obama Administration’s keenness to step into FATA cannot be taken lightly. The hawks are convinced that unless Al-Qaeda and Taliban bases in FATA and Quetta are destroyed, no worthwhile results can be achieved in Afghanistan. It was under this perception that Af-Pak policy was formulated and Pak-Afghan border region made into a single battle ground. With the induction of 30,000 US troops and 7000 NATO troops, the ISAF strength will swell up to about 150000. From this, about 50,000 together with 100,000 ANA duly trained and equipped by USA can be easily mustered for adventures in FATA and Balochistan whenever India gets ready to declare war against Pakistan. Such a gamble may look appealing to a losing commander to save his face. However, Pakistan’s unfaltering resolve, Pak Army’s brilliant successes in Malakand, Swat and South Waziristan, its nuclear deterrence remaining intact together with Afghanistan becoming a slippery ground keep their offensive urges in check. Unless Pakistan’s nuclear capability is disabled and Afghanistan stabilized any venture in Pakistan will prove disastrous.

Irrespective of sinister designs against Pakistan, overall security situation in Afghanistan has become so alarming that US leadership can no longer afford to sit back and keep pursuing its single-tracked policy of subduing Al-Qaeda and Taliban through military power and weakening Pakistan through covert operations. It can neither afford to ignore rising power of Taliban and demoralization set in among coalition forces and Afghan security forces. Mounting anti-Americanism and public opposition against war on terror in USA and western countries and fast diminishing popularity of Obama are other factors of serious concern. Policy makers inwardly know that troop surge would aggravate rather than placate volatile situation. It has belatedly dawned upon them that war has become un-winnable and unless Taliban are taken on board Afghan imbroglio will never be solved and that exit has become the leading option.

Desperate to depart on a winning note, the US military leaders still naively perceive that overwhelming majority of Taliban forces do not back Al-Qaeda or ideologically support Mullah Omar. They base their assumption on skewed intelligence fed to them by RAW and Mossad duly seconded by CIA about results of rigged presidential polls in Afghanistan. Carried away by heavy polling statistics, they believe that majority blame Taliban and not occupation forces for the turmoil and bloodshed. They have not taken into account that glaring frauds committed to make Karzai win has further undermined Karzai and USA’s position. Under the misplaced belief, US military has renewed its efforts to wean away supposed moderate Taliban, whom it has been futilely searching all these years from so-called extremist Taliban. They intend to win over former through incentives in the form of cash, jobs and protection. London conference attended by representatives of 70 countries has supported new reintegration plan of Afghanistan. $140 million has been pledged for reconciliation plan.

Success of new plan hinges on the premise that 80% of Taliban fighters hailing from lower and middle levels will surrender arms and denounce Mullah Omar and Al-Qaeda in return for rewards. They expect such a huge majority getting enticed at a time when they have sailed through roughest period of trial and tribulation with exceptional courage and will power and now having gained an upper edge and begun to smell victory they will shed away all their gains on the call of most untrustworthy USA and American lackey Karzai. Hands of US military and Karzai led regime are dripping in blood of Pashtuns and still they expect that Taliban would come running to them. Had the Taliban, with all odds against them, any wish for worldly gains, they could never have withstood the reign of tyranny for all these years. Such likes inducements have been made off and on to draw cleavage within rank and file of Taliban. Extraordinary head money has been announced on all top leaders of Taliban. Not a single case of betrayal has occurred. It is therefore not understood how come so much optimism is being expressed on this faulty presumption devoid of logic and ground realities. The plan based on ill-intentions stand little chance of success.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst. Email:

New US Afghan policy will have to traverse a bumpy road

Asif Haroon Raja

Afghanistan is under illegal occupation of US-NATO forces since November 2001. So far occupation forces have been unable to achieve any of the professed objectives. These include capturing Osama Bin Laden dead or alive, defeating and destroying Al-Qaeda, liberation of Afghans from the cruel clutches of Taliban, introducing US model democracy, ushering in modernism and prosperity and radically improving the living conditions of Afghans. Eight years have lapsed and Osama is still untraceable. No one knows where he is and whether he is dead or alive. Utter helplessness of the sole super power and the developed world has turned Osama into a legendary figure and he is seen as a hero among the Islamists the world over.

Al-Qaeda, a small and insignificant entity strictly confined to Afghanistan has become robust and turned into an international organization. Democracy is a far cry since the country is ruled by an American stooge who is highly unpopular among Afghans. Trigger happy American forces are not seen as liberators but as fiends carrying deep-seated hatred for Muslims and their faith and deriving sadistic pleasure in killing Muslims. Several social evils that had been eliminated by the Taliban during their short rule from 1996 to 2001 have reappeared in a big way. These include corruption, nepotism, injustice, drug addiction and smuggling, immorality, ethnicity and sectarianism, insecurity of life, honor and property. War lords reign supreme. The Pashtuns being in great majority stand isolated and marginalized while minority non-Pashtuns rule the roost. Northern Alliance rulers in connivance with USA are persistently hounding and persecuting the Pashtuns on suspicion of being aligned with Taliban who do not deserve to live and for whom there is no scope for mercy since they are aligned with most hated Al-Qaeda. As a consequence the plight of Afghan Pashtuns has become appalling.

George W. Bush Administration made a complete mess in Afghanistan and Iraq during its inglorious eight year rule. By mid 2008, there was consensus in USA that the military should pull out of Iraq and reinforce Afghanistan since it was home to Al-Qaeda. By then it had become evident that Iraqi adventure was a mistake and had been undertaken on trumped up threat of WMDs and that Iraq posed no threat to US homeland. By mid 2008, the neo-cons started to propagate that neither Iraq nor Afghanistan posed any threat to western world. In their view nuclear Muslim Pakistan was the chief threat and should have been targeted at the outset. This is exactly what India had strongly advised to Bush Administration soon after 9/11. With this change in tune, Washington became highly aggressive towards Pakistan and FATA as a possible target figured up. All the prospective presidential candidates in USA including Obama used highly offensive language against Pakistan and this tirade continued even after Obama got elected.

Bush handed over the baton to Obama and gave a false impression as if the US had achieved victory in Iraq. In order to turn the tide in its favor in Afghanistan, new Af-Pak policy based on troop surge was announced in March 2009 by Obama Administration. 18000 troops were shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan to break the rising power of Al-Qaeda-Taliban nexus. Obama thus renewed his predecessor’s flawed policies with renewed vigor. Af-Pak was conceived since many top US leaders saw Afghanistan and Pakistan as a single entity and desired merger of Pashtuns areas into one unit of Pakhtunistan.

In May Obama sacked Gen David McKiernan and replaced him with Gen Stanley McChrystal. He and Gen David Petraeus viewed as counter insurgency experts and victors of Iraq were given responsibility to stabilize Afghanistan by repeating their success story in Fallujah and Ambar provinces of Iraq through troop surge and pitching Sunnis against Al-Qaeda. Gen Chrystal was lionized and sold to American public as a genius and a “Zen warrior”, who would up turn the fortunes of US military in Afghanistan.

Having failed to draw a wedge between Taliban and al-Qaeda and to divide Taliban between ‘reconcilable’ and ‘irreconcilable’, so as to pitch one against the other, it was decided to launch a strong operation in Helmand in July. High hopes were pinned on this operation that it would also achieve its military goals as in the case of Operation Rah-e-Rast in Malakand-Swat. It was also intended to push out militants into Pashtun districts of Balochistan, destabilize the peaceful region and subsequently declare that Afghan Shura had shifted to Quetta. IGFC Balochistan Maj Gen Salim Nawaz reacted fast and deployed extra troops along the border to prevent any inflow. Afghan Taliban after inflicting very heavy casualties on US-UK troops and taking the steam out of overly hyped operation Helmand, launched a daring raid on two outposts in Nuristan province in October killing nine US soldiers and dozens of ANA soldiers. Over 30 ANA officers and men were also abducted and huge stocks of arms and rations captured from the abandoned posts. Subsequently, series of attacks were carried out in the last quarter of 2009 on NATO bases across southeastern provinces of Khost, Paktia and Paktika.

Rapid successes by Taliban created panic and forced Gen McChrystal to hurriedly vacate all forward posts in southern and eastern Afghanistan to relocate the pulled out troops in main population centres. He felt content in adopting bunkered strategy since it considerably reduced the risk of casualties. In other words he changed the overall military posture from forward to rearward and gave up territory without a fight. Ignoring its own defeatist strategy, the US kept pressing Pakistan to tackle both Hakimullah in South Waziristan (SW) and Sirajuddin Haqqani network with its alleged fallback position in North Waziristan simultaneously but Pak Army maintained its righteous stance of opting for mother of all battles in SW.

The US military change in posture in Afghanistan somehow coincided with Operation Rah-e-Nijat launched by Pak Army in SW on 17 October. It not only created space for Pak Taliban to operate freely across the border to find sanctuary but also allowed freedom of action to Afghan Taliban to come to aid beleaguered TTP. It was interpreted in Pakistan as a willful act to undermine the efforts of Pak Army. If true, US military failed to provoke Afghan Taliban to rush to the aid of beleaguered Pak Taliban in SW caught in the juggernaut of Pak Army. They acted wisely by deciding not to jump into the boiling cauldron of SW where Pak Army had turned the corner and was in good position to deal with external interference.

Reverses on battlefronts coupled with fallout effects of fraudulent presidential elections intended to bolster flagging credibility of Karzai alarmed Gen McChrystal and he put in an emergent bid for additional troops to save the situation. Although Obama reluctantly sanctioned 30,000 troops, however, the fast deteriorating security situation compelled policy makers in Washington to review their Afghan policy. It has now been decided to negotiate with the Taliban and lure them to share power. It is a huge comedown from the belligerent policy so far followed by USA. The change is from use of force only to application of combination of force and political instruments. The US intends to pump in money and entice the moderates among the Taliban as well as the Pashtuns in order to isolate Al-Qaeda and hardcore Taliban under Mullah Omar and is quite optimistic about its new reintegration policy which has also been endorsed by participants of London Conference. With so many players having diverse interests in Afghanistan, the road ahead will be full of bumps. Pakistan should tread its steps wisely and prudently without trying to become the main power broker. Afghanistan has suffered for too long and it deserves peace, stability and prosperity.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence and security analyst.

The US finding itself on the horns of a dilemma in Afghanistan

Asif Haroon Raja

The new reintegration US plan hinges on winning over moderate Taliban which in their view form 70% of total fighters. Their supposed success with some of the former Taliban officials who had worked under Mullah Omar has led them to believe that with their help they would be able to wean away the majority and isolate hardcore Taliban. $1.5 billion has been pledged to woo the reconcilable. Only the reconcilable who will renounce militancy, surrender arms and cut off links with Al-Qaeda and Mullah Omar led hardliners would stand qualified. This kind of effort was made in the past as well in which Saudi leadership was asked to play a role to bring the reconcilable closer to Karzai regime. Meeting of some of the Taliban leaders with Saudi officials, such as Wakil Ahmed Mutawakil, M. Musa Hotal, Abdul Hakim Munib, Faiz M. Faizan and Shams-us-Safa, led to a misplaced belief that a breakthrough had been achieved. (The five have now been removed from the blacklist of UNSC). However, owing to impractical preconditions, Saudi initiative fizzled out. Saudis desired detachment of Taliban from Al-Qaeda rather than dividing the Taliban. Karzai on several occasions expressed his eagerness to meet Omar and proposed a meeting at any venue suiting him or at Kabul assuring him full security. His overtures were brushed aside since he is seen by Taliban Shura as an American puppet whose writ doesn’t extend beyond his palace and whose security is dependent upon American guards.

During the recent London conference held on 28 January to find a solution to Afghan tangle, Karzai made an offer to negotiate with the Taliban and to re-integrate them. He once again sought Saudi mediation. In response to the preconditions put forth by the participants, Taliban Shura put forward its own points. These are: release of all Taliban prisoners languishing in different jails; clearance of all 144 Taliban officials from the blacklist of UNSC and canceling induction of additional troops. They have not addressed Karzai for they know he is powerless.

The US is finding itself on the horns of a dilemma. It knows it will not be able to defeat Taliban and Al-Qaeda comprehensively in the foreseeable future but is desperate to achieve some sort of moral if not physical victory and return home in next 2-3 years timeframe honorably. It also knows that Karzai led regime propped up by Washington through fraudulent election and Afghan security forces are not in a position to handle the situation independently after the withdrawal of coalition forces. It acknowledges that the Taliban are a force to reckon with; they can neither be wished away nor can their return to power blocked. Eight years of sustained efforts have failed to weaken their fighting ability, their resolve and unity. Taliban-Al-Qaeda nexus remain intact. Afghan Shura led by Mullah Omar continues to hold undiminished sway over the Taliban movement.

Mullah Omar and his Shura operate from unknown location (s) since November 2001. None has seen him or any of his top confidantes despite the man hunt. Unlike mixed reports about Osama bin Laden whether he is dead or alive, no news of his death have ever been circulated which implies he is functional. Afghans have seen the real faces of their rulers and none among them ever caught their imaginations and inspired them. Mullah Omar stands tall among the whole lot because of his personal conduct based on justice, honesty and piety, and the way he restored stability, security and social order during his five-year rule under trying conditions. The up righteous and principled stand that he took to protect his guest under the tradition of Pasthunwali upgraded his esteem and respect in the eyes of Afghans sky high. Even leaders of TTP have sworn allegiance to him and see him as Ameer-ul-Momineen. His resilience to withstand the onslaught of US led allied forces and his leadership qualities to recapture lost ground and restore the Taliban movement further boosted his image. He is now seen by the Afghan Pashtuns as the only hope to rid the country from foreign occupation and to once again regain stability.

While the popularity of Mullah Omar has not dented, Americans have lost their image and credibility due to their barbaric and unjust practices. Casualties of occupation troops have begun to accelerate from 2009 onwards and territory is fast slipping out of their hands as more and more territory is coming under the influence of Taliban. Low morale, depression and homesickness among ISAF soldiers coupled with vociferous demands from USA and western countries to wind up the fruitless war are other factors which are haunting US leaders. Successes achieved by Pak Army suffering from paucity of resources as compared with US-NATO forces enjoying all tactical, operational, technical and logistical advantages also disturb them since it is now becoming increasingly difficult to hide their failures by blaming Pakistan. US eagerness to negotiate with the Taliban makes its position difficult to restrain Pakistan from maintaining contacts with them. In the face of belligerent and uncompromising attitude of Indian leaders towards Pakistan and exposure of its clandestine activities in Balochistan, FATA and Swat, US can no longer press Pakistan to render its eastern border naked and shift bulk of forces towards western border where Pak Army has stabilized the situation to quite an extent and the TTP is in disarray.

Since the Taliban and al-Qaeda have been demonized so extensively, it has become difficult to negotiate with any of the two entities with an open and free mind. Neither the US can afford to abandon in haste as it had done in 1990 since it would open the gates for the Taliban to retake power without much ado, thereby rendering their massive investments and human losses end in smoke. This for sure would ignite furor in USA and western countries and demand for a probe and accountability would intensify. Anti-Americanism would peak in the western world as well. Return of Taliban to power would give heart to Islamic movements raging in several Muslim countries and future of secular governments supported by USA would become wobbly.

The stakes being too high, the US would therefore not opt for the safest option of talking to Taliban without preconditions but would opt for next best to divide Taliban, isolate hardcore Taliban and al-Qaeda, launch ruthless operations against strongholds of Taliban in southern and southeastern Afghanistan to regain lost space and then negotiate from position of strength. Efforts to entice reconcilable Pashtuns and Taliban have already begun with the help of few former officials of Mullah Omar regime. Shinwari tribe in Nangahar province has been approached and some headway made. $500 million has been placed at the disposal of Karzai to buy off loyalties of moderates.

US leadership must listen to the voice of American people who want US soldiers to return to their homes. It is regrettable that instead of respecting their sentiments, Gen McChrystal is feverishly planning a massive offensive in Helmand next week amidst snowfall forcing the unfortunate residents of the province to leave their homes and hearths in inclement weather. Having suffered big reverses in July offensive in Helmand, he is desperate to build up his badly bruised image at the cost of people of Afghanistan and his troops. It implies the US is refusing to learn from history and is bent upon winning over Afghan Pashtuns through policy of shock and awe. Taliban have not got over awed and have vowed to fight back with all their strength. It is however to be seen whether the Taliban would like to get involved in pitched battles against overwhelming numerical and technological superiority of coalition forces. Moreover, while the US is pushed for time the other side is not and would like to buy time. The US should strive to leave behind good memories and not scars by sheathing the stick and using carrots only.

Grave concerns over presence of Blackwater in Pakistan

Asif Haroon Raja

A private and secretive outfit named Blackwater under Erik Prince propped up in North Carolina in mid 1990s with its HQ spread over 7000 acres of land. It trains tens of thousands of law enforcement officials a year from the US and other nations. It has grown into a private army and has become so powerful that it can topple a government. It has over 2300 soldiers deployed in nine countries. It maintains a data base of 21000 Special Forces troops and retired police for its use.

Jeremy Scahill revealed in his book “Rise of the world’s most powerful mercenary army”, that Pentagon has made private contractors an integral part of operations. Infamous private security firm Blackwater had been put to use in Iraq as hired killers. Largest ever private contractors totalling 100,000 were employed having a ratio of 1:1 to American soldiers. Paul Bremer initially used security guards of this private firm for his personal protection and subsequently expanded its role to avoid US casualties. Rs one lac was paid to a security guard per day. It changed its name to Xe Worldwide or Xe Services after earning bad name in Iraq where it was extensively employed by US military.

This role is now being performed in Afghanistan particularly after US war casualties started to rise in 2009. Most of clandestine work in Afghanistan is being done by Blackwater. Reportedly, Blackwater/Xe in Afghanistan is training and equipping Afghan troops who then fire on US soldiers during joint operations. Two such incidents took place in 2009 and this practice is aimed at justifying troop surge.

Gordon Duff, a senior editor of Veterans Today has disclosed that the CIA has outsourced its most secret projects to Blackwater, a mercenary group with worst reputation of any firm the US has ever done business with. It plans and executes terrorist acts against civilian targets, military installations, intelligence agencies and resorts to target killings. It maintains contacts with terrorist leaders and organizes revolutionary groups. Disregarding US laws, CIA has expanded the role of private contractors including Blackwater like raids, operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Somalia and now in Yemen. This was disclosed by four former US military and intelligence officers to ABL News.

There is mounting evidence that Pentagon and CIA are engaged in a war against Pakistan population involving death squads, disappearances and torture. These infamous practices were employed in Vietnam and Al Salvador. One of the chief executives of Blackwater Robert Richer was head of CIA’s Near East and South Asia from1999 to 2004 and ran clandestine operations throughout Middle East and South Asia. Gen Petraeus in August 2009 announced plans to launch an intelligence training centre in coordination with others to train military officers, covert agents and analysts who agree to focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan for up to a decade. In the same month, it was announced that Pentagon was reassigning its 3rd Special Forces Group presently deployed in Africa and Caribbean to focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The CIA also uses credentialed journalists to engage in counter-intelligence. Individuals working as subcontractors to CIA have links to Blackwater CIA-approved operations in targeted countries of the region. Blackwater comes in the guise of contractors, investors, business partners and economic advisers. According to Tim Shorrock, Washington obtained $42 billion annually on private intelligence contractors, up from $17.5 in 2000. It implies 70% intelligence budget going to private companies. Private contractors have been involved in Guantanamo Bay, Bagram and Abu Garib prisons. Blackwater not only serves CIA but also private interests for money. Blackwater elements used extensively by CIA and US military to minimize hazards of combat to US troops have come under intense censure and scrutiny in Iraq and Pakistan due to which their liberty of action has curtailed.

Controversial Blackwater firm which is an extension of US military and CIA is associated with Christian rights and is anti-Islam. Its head Eric Prince is right wing Christian. He has been engaged in uniting conservative Catholics, evangelicals, and neoconservatives in a common Theo-conservative holy war to eliminate Muslims and Islam globally. Blackwater acts as the armed wing of the movement. Blackwater is reportedly running a covert recruitment drive through its website in Pakistan; It can only be accessed through four company executives’ references. It seeks candidates who can speak Punjabi and Urdu. $ one billion has been allocated for Blackwater which is above law and accountability. Not even home country law is applicable to this outfit. Not a single private contractor involved in gruesome murders has been prosecuted.

Presence of elements of notorious Black water in Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta and now in Karachi has created ripples in Pakistan and has become a cause of serious concern for all Pakistanis. In Peshawar, they are operating from office of CA11 on Chinar Road, University Town. In-charge of this set up Craig Davis was caught red handed in Peshawar indulging in objectionable activities and having links with Afghanistan. He was identified as an operative of Creative Associates International Inc; a Washington based US firm, one of the wings of Blackwater. Craig was arrested and deported to USA. He and several other deported persons were returned to Pakistan after receiving visas from Pak Embassy in Washington and security cleared by interior ministry and Craig resumed his official activities. Ambassador Hussain Haqqani issued 360 visas to American nationals in one month without consulting Islamabad. This dangerous practice would have continued had the ISI not put its foot down. Consequent to this setback, this suspicious company changed its name and shifted to Karachi.

Several incidents of Americans carrying prohibited bore weapons and grenades roaming the streets of Islamabad during ungodly hours took place. Two incidents happened in Lahore and five Americans were caught under suspicious conditions from Sargodha. Glen Greinwad disclosed that there is ample evidence that the US pays a number of groups within Iran to commit acts of terrorism. If so, there is likelihood that CIA must be indulging in such like activities in Pakistan as well. Blackwater has been actively involved in assassinating pro-government Maliks, clerics and notables in FATA, religious scholars in NWFP, political figures, and target killings in Quetta and in Karachi and in drone attacks. It had a role in organised terrorist attacks against military and police targets in Lahore and Rawalpindi. It provides surveillance and support to terrorist groups such as BLA and BRA in Balochistan and Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan in FATA and Swat.

Reportedly, the US has purchased 16 acres land from CDA in Islamabad. Over $ 1 billion has been earmarked for the expansion of US Embassy in Islamabad, part of which would stretch up to PM Secretariat and Presidency. Offices of Marines, Blackwater security consultants along with residences will be constructed. The new Embassy would be designed to make it bomb proof and to be able to eavesdrop all our high powered secret meetings taking place in parliament, Presidency and PM Secretariat. Rumors are afloat that 1000 to 7000 US Marines together with APCs are planned to be stationed within the confines of new embassy in Islamabad with licence to move about anywhere in Pakistan. 400 houses have been hired in Islamabad by US Embassy.

The intended expanded US Embassy in Islamabad will be the largest in the world. $ 115million have been earmarked for it and made part of Kerry-Lugar Bill (KLB) package for Pakistan. It includes $5 million for Marines quarters, $53.5 million for housing infrastructure; $18 million for general services and office area; $36 million for temporary duty quarters and community staff facilities. All told $4 billion will be required for the ambitious project. $800 million had been allocated for the protection of enlarged and fortified Embassy through private security contractor DynCorp.

Some say it is being made into a military base while others say a cantonment is being built. Expansion of US Embassy in Islamabad is being justified under the plea that greater number of officials would be required to disburse promised $1.5 billion aid per annum from USA and Friends of Pakistan. If this is the criteria, India with which USA has strategic cooperation in defence and economic fields which is twenty times more in volume, USA should need half of New Delhi to accommodate coordinating and disbursement staff. US Ambassador has sought sanction for 800 vehicles which will be in addition to existing fleet of 1100 private cars in use by Embassy staff in Islamabad. It is said that the fortified US Embassy close to PM secretariat will counter balance Rawalpindi based 111 Brigade. Under the garb of KLB, which is a step towards neo-colonisation of Pakistan, it is intended to enhance presence of US military contractors, immune from prosecution.

The US has purchased a large chunk of land in Sihala and has seemingly established a secret military training camp adjacent to police academy just a few km away from Islamabad and from Kahuta. It is being used to recruit retired army personnel preferably ex SSG at handsome salaries to work for US military. Monthly salaries range from $200 to $1200. Commandant of the Academy or any other person belonging to law enforcing agency could not enter the prohibited area. Sensitive instruments were implanted to monitor KRL and to gain intelligence on nuclear assets. It has now come to light that this unchecked facility was given to USA in 2003 under an unwritten agreement by Gen Musharraf to train the police.

A security firm has a warehouse in Islamabad which was involved in illegal arm trade. The warehouse, Kestral Logistics, worked as a sub contractor of Xe World. It imported heavy arms and ammunition for US Company for its illicit operation in Pakistan. The US rejected news on warehouse for storing arms. US Ambassador Anne Patterson and Richard Holbrooke too denied presence of Blackwater.

In 2006, Pakistan had signed an agreement with the US authorising Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) to enter Pakistan to hunt Osama bin Laden. At that time Gen McChrystal was head of JSOC. It was learnt in 2008 that the US had acquired huge chunk of land near Tarbela with a view to build a military base. Some reports say that 300 US military advisers are lodged in Tarbela and drones are also controlled from there. US Special Forces have been conducting joint exercises with our commandoes apart from imparting advanced training.

US military trainers favour tactics adopted by JSOC and are imparting training to Frontier Corps in Fort Balhissar Peshawar and in Warsak. On 23 February 2009, Pentagon revealed that over 70 American military advisers had been secretly working in Pakistan since long. It has now transpired that 100-member strong Special Forces unit is stationed in NWFP since 2008 to train FC in counter terrorism. Three US trainers died in a suicide attack in Lower Dir on 3 February 2010. TTP claimed responsibility and claimed that the killed foreigners belonged to Xe Worldwide.

Reportedly, US opened a JSOC in Balochistan where Marines are coming in via Islamabad. Marines as well as heavy contingent of Blackwater elements to the tune of 11000 have also been spotted in Balochistan, who in collaboration with BLA and BRA are mostly carrying out target killings. Four air bases in Balochistan had been leased to US military in September 2001 and these bases at Jacobabad, Pasni, Dalbaldin and Shamsi are still in their use. It is now an open secret that Shamsi airbase is under use by US drones where Blackwater was hired for loading hellfire missiles and 500 lbs laser guided bombs on Predators. Similar job is being performed at Jalalabad air base to strike targets in Pakistan. In the wake of intense pressure from people of Pakistan, CIA terminated the contract of terrorist group Blackwater Worldwide employed at Shamsi Base but is still using it in Balochistan under the name of Xe Services.

Blackwater has now spread its tentacles to Karachi under a different name. It has hired seven private houses in defence area and acquired hundreds of acres of land near Pataro in Sindh to launch agricultural research institute. There were reports of secret construction of operational facilities in Gharo in Sindh to serve as a base for 200 Marines and that sizeable numbers of American armoured carriers had arrived at Port Qasim, with 3000 Hummvies awaiting dispatch.

Jeremy Scahill has revealed about a covert forward operation base run by JSOC in Karachi in which Blackwater is actively involved in planning and executing target assassination of suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The outfit also helps in gathering intelligence and in drone attacks. Reportedly the militant wing of MQM has joined hands with Blackwater and former is making full use of it to serve its political ends.

Seymour M. Hersh suggested that it is easier and safer to remove separately stored arming system of nuclear systems from the soil of Pakistan. US intelligence agencies in various guises like Xe worldwide are reportedly developing techniques to disable arming system. Blackwater has begun to make diagrammatical drawings and video films of nuclear installations as well as available routes to help execute US plan to hijack nukes in one go.

While every second Pakistani is expressing its grave concern over presence of Blackwater, and even Robert Gates admitted its presence, ironically the Interior Minister is adamant that there is none and wants documentary proof. It is generally believed that while Musharraf regime allowed setting up of DynCorp in Islamabad, Hussain Haqqani and Rehman Malik are instrumental in facilitating entry of Blackwater in Pakistan.

The writer is a retired Brig and a freelance defence and political analyst.