Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Letter From Pakistan...and you thought you knew what was going on...SURPRISE!

"Pakistan has stabbed the U.S. and other coalition forces in their backs..."
 "When the UN was founded Russia wanted all her states to have voting rights...she got her way by simply tearing down a wall..."  see comment below, Storm'n Norm'n was the first to report this [the comment on Russia])
See also: Pakistani Military on the Wrong Border
...also, If you have not heard of FATA, it is an acronym for Federally Administered Tribal Areas which can be located on the map here "detailed map of F.a.T.a. and neighboring regions"

The following is a page from Carl Prine's Line Of Departure

Letter from Pakistan
By Carl Prine
Posted in
On Media, On War
Gentle readers, in my drive to bring you the best global journalism, I’m handing over LoD to Ali K.Chishti.
Ali has appeared twice at LoD now and he likely will fill in for me if I have to take an extended assignment (and he’s available!).
Take it away, Ali …

These have been some of the craziest months in Pakistan.
It started on May 1, when Osama Bin Laden was killed in one of our military towns — which is like the West Point of Pakistan – Abbotabad.
Then there were the PNS Mehran attacks. And, only recently, the killing of a dear friend and fellow journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad.
On the other side of the border in Afghanistan, 271 ISAF/NATO forces – including 191 US soldiers – have been killed as of now in 2011. There were 711 killed in 2010. The total causalities to date have been 2,552, of whom 1,637 have been Americans.
The news here is that the US is seriously engaged in what U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates calls “initial talks” with the Taliban. Pakistan, which has given refuge to Islamabad’s so-called “strategic assets” — aka Mullah Omar and the Haqqanis — feels uneasy with any sort of direct U.S. talks with the Taliban.
One of the “Cousin Haqqanis” from Lower Kurram Agency in our semi-autonomous FATA region recently left the Tahreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan, or TTP, who are considered “bad Taliban” by the Pakistani security leaders.
The splinter group reformed into something called Tahreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan Islam, which made them “good Taliban” to Islamabad.
Lower Kurram is the new headquarters of the Haqqanis due to its strategic importance of launching attacks on at least three provinces within Afghanistan. The new group opposes suicide bombings in Pakistan, but considers “infidels” in Afghanistan fair game.
And there’s history to this argument. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Pakistan made it clear to the Americans that any “distribution network” or aid for Afghan Mujahideens would go through Pakistan. Pakistan used and abused this power when spreading aid to the Pashtuns through hubs like Lower Kurram.
Only recently, Pakistani defense minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar – not known for mincing his words — said “We know where the Taliban are – our religious parties have links with them. And without Pakistan, there can be no solution to the Afghanistan problem.”
Operation Enduring Freedom originally had two objectives: a) Eliminate al-Qaida in Afghanistan and b) Never allow Afghanistan to be used as a safe heaven for terrorists.
The first point, ending al– Qaida, is almost complete. It remains a dysfunctional organization. Osama Bin Laden and countless numbers of top– and mid-level operatives have been killed, mostly thanks to the predator attacks inside FATA.
The second point of never allowing terrorist groups safe havens remains a problem. But the safe haven has moved from Afghanistan to FATA, especially to North Waziristan, where the Pakistani Army is reluctant to take any action despite pressure from NATO and ISAF.
One needs to understand the security establishment of Pakistan. It’s inherently opposed to anyone who wants to hunt Pakistanis. Look at al Qaida and TTP. Pakistan’s record of cooperation with the U.S. has been called “excellent” by some, but that’s merely because both these organizations orchestrated attacks on Pakistanis, too.
Pakistan has stabbed the U.S. and other coalition forces in their backs when it comes to the Quetta Shura and the Haqqani network. The Haqqanis have been loyal to Pakistan and have never attacked Pakistani interests. That’s why they’re provided sanctuaries inside Pakistan. From there, they’ve launched attacks against NATO and ISAF forces in Afghanistan.
This security doctrine, which is commonly referred to as “Strategic Depth,” has little to do with the U.S. It is India-centric. But that’s not unusual. The whole security doctrine of Pakistan is geared toward fighting India, should it invade Pakistan. Pakistan concentrates its armed forces on its eastern front, not the western. To Islamabad, a pro-Pakistan government in Kabul would keep Pakistan’s interests secure on its western front and free up forces for the east.
Obviously, the strategic geniuses in Pakistan’s Pentagon — the GHQ — forget some vital points: a) India has grown up and is way ahead of Pakistan now; and, b) Pakistan’s top threat is no longer its neighbors but rather its self-created jihadi proxies which have turned against their masters.
So, what are the U.S. options for Pakistan, Afghanistan and the region?
President Barack Obama’s cut in troop numbers is “mere optics.” This seems to be little more than some happy points for the next election. It would have been better for the U.S. to actually concentrate on the real issues bedeviling Afghanistan, which is to say: a) Pakistan b) Pakistan and c) Pakistan.
Pakistan has successfully destabilized the whole region and, in doing so, also itself. A proper U.S. policy of dealing with Pakistan needs to be devised because the current one is not working.
The talks with the Taliban – which are part of a legitimate insurgency and which have constituents – need to speed up. I personally think the U.S. should have talked directly to the Taliban instead of going through Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Although talks are a good means to end the war, one needs to understand that when dealing with Pashtuns you should always have an upper hand. The U.S. should intensify the drone attacks inside FATA. The end game might be to kill either Mullah Omar or Siraj Haqqani, which would guarantee — much like the killing of bin Laden — a sort of moral and psychological victory.
Al Qaida no longer is the biggest threat to U.S. national security, but rather the TTP, the terrorists behind the failed Manhattan car bombing and the successful CIA forward station attack.
During my interview with U.S. Army LtGen. William B. Caldwell, he came across as a smart and ambitious man. While development of the Afghan troops and police remains a good idea – it remains an idea, only. With such huge troop numbers in Afghanistan, the U.S. economy is bleeding.
Without an infrastructure, state institutions and tax networks in Afghanistan, how can the U.S. seriously continue to spend billions per year in Afghanistan to support the Afghan Security Forces we know Kabul will never sustain? The answer is clear: There has to be a realistic policy on this issue.
In the end, Afghanistan is a “death trap.” It’s bleeding the U.S. and your NATO and ISAF allies. A quick end must include all stakeholders, including the Taliban militias on one side and all the regional players — Iran, Russia, the Central Asian republics, China, Turkey, Pakistan and India – on the other.
Your goal should be to keep Kabul and Afghanistan free from a dominating influence by any one of these countries. For that, the U.S. likely will need to have permanent bases, like those in Qatar, inside Afghanistan for the long haul.

Comments (from source)
whobeen's avatar - Go to profile
I do have one quibble, James.
Actually (and factually) the biggest threat to U.S. national security is Barack Husein Obama and his radical left wing supporters. But you are absolutely right about China and Russia sitting on the sidelines awaiting the next opportunity to weaken us.
Most people do not have an understanding of Russia's long term goals...they want to be the dominate force in the United Nations an organization they use to further those goals. Most people think that Ronald Reagan won the Cold War by breaking up the Soviet Union when really the Russians won a long sought after increase in their UN representation. When the UN was founded Russia wanted all her states to have voting rights...she got her way by simply tearing down a wall, just look at the Soviet Block representation today as compared to the years prior to Reagan.
john primm's avatar
john primm 
I second James' comment...be careful. The world needs thoughtful men--and women too!
usm's avatar
Ali, If you are simply referring to the last two months as "crazy", perhaps you are forgetting how angry the US has made Pakistanis in the last year. Or did you forget how the US killed Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border in October? Or the CIA operative let free in April in exchange for blood money to the two Pakistani citizens he murdered? Maybe you just have a short-term memory. The weather in Karachi is rather safe is it not?

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