Roots of anti-Americanism in Pakistan

Daily Mail

Robert  Gates was less than candid when he said that anti-Americanism was a real problem for Washington because “We clearly left them in the lurch when we turned our backs on Afghanistan in 1989-90.” The negative public perceptions about the US are based not on any single event, but on past experience spread over decades. It would be simplistic to maintain that only one incident, despite its extraordinary gravity, could have led to the unpopularity of the US in this country. There is a widespread perception that successive US regimes have let down Pakistan, that Washington has behaved more as a master than ally and that whatever promises it makes, when it needs Islamabad’s services, are forgotten once Pakistan has lost importance in its geo-strategic aims. There is also a perception that American policies, influenced by a strong Zionist lobby, have harmed the Muslim world in general. It is a matter of historical record that despite its avowed commitment to democracy, the US has supported one military dictator after another since 1958, as they were considered to be more pliable than an elected government. Washington invariably looked the other way as the people of Pakistan struggled for democracy. Under Ayub, hundreds of people were put behind bars as they fought for the restoration of their democratic rights or protested against several inequities like press censorship, unjust labour laws, the widely unpopular One Unit, and the absence of equal opportunities for the people of East Pakistan.

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Road to Kabul ‘runs through Kashmir’

Sometime in the last year, secret back-channel talks between India and Pakistan over Kashmir restarted, Newsweek magazine reports in its latest edition, quoting unnamed US and Indian sources.

The countries last held such talks under Gen Pervez Musharraf, and were reportedly on the verge of a breakthrough when the military ruler was ousted in August 2008.

Then the Mumbai terror attacks that November badly frayed relations. For negotiations to resume now – open talks are also being discussed -would represent a huge development for the region.

And not just there. The payoff would stretch all the way to Washington. Peace between India and Pakistan could unlock another conflict with even higher stakes for the US: Afghanistan.

“Indeed,” says the journal, “a growing chorus of experts has begun arguing that the road to Kabul runs through Kashmir, that the US will never stabilise the former without peace in the latter. Suddenly, bringing India and Pakistan together seems to be very much in America’s interest, which makes the Obama administration’s determination to avoid the issue increasingly hard to fathom.”

To understand why Kashmir is central to Afghanistan, start with the fact that the US can’t defeat the Afghan insurgency without Pakistan’s help.

Pakistan midwifed the Taliban and continues to allegedly provide it with shelter. And that won’t change until Pakistan resolves its rivalry with India, says Newsweek.

“Pakistan’s entire Afghan strategy is based on the idea that it needs a pliant regime to its West to give it ‘strategic depth’: room to retreat in case of an Indian invasion. Fear of India also keeps Pakistan from putting enough troops on its 2,250km-long Afghan border, which the Taliban cross at will,” the report says.

As Strobe Talbott, Bill Clinton’s envoy, says, “The Pakistani military is so obsessed with India that it hinders their ability to deal with other real threats.”
The only thing that might ease that obsession is peace with New Delhi.

Given this, you’d expect the Obama team to be pushing the peace process forward. Instead, it has studiously avoided the issue. On one level that makes sense: US has its hands full, and India, thanks to its bad experience with past mediation and America’s Cold War tilt toward Pakistan, erupts with rage whenever the US hints it might get involved; in 2008, when Obama said he might include India in the mandate of his Af-Pak team, New Delhi raised such hell that the matter was dropped. Thus Richard Holbrooke, the US Af-Pak envoy, refuses to consider US involvement today.

Yet even he concedes that Kashmir makes Afghanistan “more difficult to resolve,” and Washington simply can’t afford to avoid it if it hopes to leave the region any time soon.

Now it may not have to. The possible resumption of India-Pakistan talks suggests there may be a growing constituency for peace. India, preoccupied with its economic boom, is especially eager to make the issue go away. A hard push from Washington could make the difference -especially if handled in a way that assuages India’s fears.

Obama has been much cooler toward New Delhi than Bush was.

“Were he to symbolically elevate the US-India relationship now to the level of the US-China dialogue, it could give Washington greater leeway on Kashmir. So would pressing Pakistan to be more co-operative on the Mumbai terrorists and helping New Delhi secure prizes it desperately covets, such as entry into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or a permanent seat on the UN Security Council,” Newsweek says.

As Sumit Ganguly of Indiana University puts it, “If that were to happen, India would roll over on any issue. (Gulf Times)

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Pakistan acts to counter Indian influence in Afghanistan

* Islamabad believes India is looking to Afghanistan for destabilising Pakistan


By Sajjad Malik

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has successfully mobilised the defunct six-plus-two talks formula to counter the US pressure regarding giving India a “greater role” in warn-torn Afghanistan’s rehabilitation.

Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours – Pakistan, Iran, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as the US, are meeting today (Tuesday) in Turkey to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and to take stock of measures for the restoration of peace in the country.

The original “six-plus-two” also included Russia, but in the new set up Moscow representation has been replaced by the United Kingdom.

The Chinese foreign minister and senior officials from Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan will attend the conference, which will also be attended by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke’s deputy, Paul Jones.

Diplomatic sources said Pakistan has been lobbying for the renewal of talks among Afghanistan’s neighbours in order to foil Indian designs of gaining a foothold on Afghan soil.

Pakistan believes India is not an immediate neighbour of Afghanistan and therefore should have limited role in the country.

Turkey has been asked to convene the meeting, as it enjoys the backing and trust of Pakistan and is accepted as a neutral party for promoting a common approach to the conflict. The conference will urge regional players to work together in order to stabilise Afghanistan and the region.

The revival of the talks group has come at a crucial juncture – on Thursday, around 50 nations will be meeting at the London Conference to discuss the Afghan issue and deliberate on measures to help the war-ravaged nation.

The organisers of the London Conference, like the US, are trying to convince Pakistan on accepting the greater Indian role in Afghanistan.

Destabilisation:

“It is not possible for us to give India a role in Afghanistan as it is using Afghan soil to destabilise Pakistan. Also, India has been traditionally aligned with Russia and played a part in the destruction of Afghanistan,” sources said.

They said the last meeting of the six-plus-two group was held before the 9/11 attacks and the Taliban had agreed to give 80 percent of representation in the Afghan government to the Northern Alliance. “Since then, fortunes have reversed and the Taliban have lost the government. Now the six-plus-two group will try to pave the way for the participation of the Taliban in the new government,” sources said.

The coalition forces badly need breathing space in Afghanistan following a deadly 2009, in which the force lost at least 504 soldiers, including 305 US and 108 British troops. Sources said US-led forces were giving a thought to Pakistan’s viewpoint on the Afghan conflict, an idea substantiated by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates’ statement during a recent visit to Pakistan that said that Washington was with Pakistan and supported its efforts for peace in Afghanistan.

The presence of both the UK and the US at the Turkish initiative speaks volumes about their interest in a regional solution.

A Two-Front Threat Emerging For Pakistan

Dr. Shireeen M Mazari:

The moment of truth for those in Islamabad who continue to trust the Americans is nearing and might have already arrived. Pakistan needs to respond to the provocations by India and by those who are supporting India. Pakistan also needs to consider withdrawing from the coming London conference on Afghanistan if its legitimate security interests are further ignored by the United States and the United Kingdom. Additionally, Pakistani forces need to be positioned along the border with southern Afghanistan, where some elements within the US establishment seem to be planning limited incursions.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—A nightmare security scenario for Pakistan seems to be emerging – that of a two-front military conflict. Pakistan is already facing an internal militancy aided and abetted from Afghanistan and is threatened with all manner of likely US boots actually coming into Pakistan.

Already, the drone attacks on Pakistani soil have increased. For all these reasons, Pakistan has moved a large chunk of its forces away from its Eastern border with India and along the LoC, and moved them to the Western front along the international border with Afghanistan as well as into FATA.

Now India has upped the military ante against Pakistan after meetings between Indian officials and America’s Holbrooke and Gates. Hence we are seeing the unprovoked Indian military firing at Pakistani forces across the international border, the working boundary and across the LoC, which has resulted in death and injury for Pakistani soldiers. What can possibly be the Indian intent at this time to undertake such military adventurism? Had it been given some go-ahead by the Americans?

This new military provocation comes when there seems to have been a decision made by the British and Americans to give India a major military role in Afghanistan. The two allies are all set to spring this nasty decision onto Pakistan at the international conference on Afghanistan in London at the end of this month when it will be proposed that India train the Afghan National Army – something it is already doing at a small level covertly and on that pretext already has its operatives in Afghanistan. It is these operatives who are conducting the aid and assistance to militants within Pakistan.

In view of these developments, what are the immediate options for Pakistan which will protect its interests as well as signal an effective message to both the US and India?

First and most immediate, Pakistan needs to move its troops back to its Eastern front and cease operations in FATA. We need to distinguish between our militancy problem, which is certainly threatening and very real, but has multiple dimensions, and the misguided US ‘War on Terror’. On the Western front, it needs to realign its forces along the Chaman border area with Afghanistan where it is expected US boots may enter Pakistan on the ground.

Second, it needs to tell the US in no uncertain terms that it will not tolerate these Indian military incitements and may well up the ante also choosing its own time, place and type of response.

Third, Pakistan needs to categorically refuse to participate in the London Conference if the plan to train the Afghan National Army by India is even discussed informally. In fact, under the circumstances, if India participates in the Conference, Pakistan should consider the option of boycotting it. Let us see how far the US and UK get in Afghanistan without Pakistan’s active cooperation!

Fourth, it is time to demand that Indian operatives move out of Afghanistan and Indian consulates in Afghanistan along the border area with Pakistan be closed.

The fact that the Indian aggression has come immediately in the aftermath of the discussions between the Indians and visiting Americans including Defense Secretary Gates, and following on the heels of the visit to Kabul by India’s DG MI, shows only too clearly the Indo-US nexus in terms of presenting Pakistan with a possible two-front threat.

Chaotic Kabul

Afghan security forces gather at the scene of attack in central Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Taliban militants struck the heart of the Afghan government in Kabul on Monday, prompting fierce gunbattles after a suicide bomber blew himself up near the presidential palace. (Ahmad Massoud/AP Photo)

It is quite obvious from yesterday’s incidents that the huge US-led ISAF force of over 100,000, has failed even to secure the Afghan Capital Kabul against attacks from the resistance. All they have done during the past eight years or so in the country is to cause widespread havoc, kill people by the tens of thousands, lay waste vast tracts of land and pulverise mountains.

Characteristic of guerrilla tactics, fighters of the Afghan resistance suddenly emerged from nowhere to strike at principal official buildings in Kabul on Monday, after they had reportedly quietly slipped into the Capital. There were explosions near the southern gate of the Presidency and a huge pall of smoke circled overhead. Smoke was also seen near the Central Bank and the Justice and Finance Ministries, and Kabul’s only four-star hotel Serena and two shopping centres were on fire. There were chaotic scenes, as the people ran away from the directions from where the noises of exploding rockets and grenades and gunshots were being heard. NATO and international forces, working with the Afghan security, were busy trying to secure the area, as the Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid warned that as many as 20 of his men were engaged in the fighting that, latest reports suggest, has left 10 dead and many more injured. Officials maintain that among the dead are four suicide bombers.

To be exact, the resistance fighters did not have to come from anywhere; they are the ordinary Afghan citizens, who are determined to drive out the occupation forces, and might as well be living in the city. To cloud this reality, however, they are called Taliban – terrorists in the US and allies’ terminology.

And if the world had thought that the freezing winter of the country would dampen their fighting spirit, it was badly mistaken. In fact, by the time summer sets in, the 37,000-odd US and NATO surge that would most probably be in place by then to augment the strength, would find a revitalised resistance ready to face the new challenge.

The solution clearly is not the surge but withdrawal without further delay. The resentment caused by the presence of foreign forces in the country has been swelling the ranks of resistance fighters. One hopes that the Americans intend living up to their declarations, as repeated by Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke, that negotiations should be held with the Taliban. They must acknowledge the fact that there is little distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban when it comes to the urge for independence. The only right course for them is to leave Afghanistan and let the people work out a system of governance that reflects the country’s ethnic mix and suits them best, and for Pakistan to stop fighting its own people and settle differences through negotiations.(The Nation)

Kabul’s Fall Imminent? Taliban Attack In Force As Karzai’s ‘Negotiate’ Offer Rejected

KABUL: The Taliban launched a wave of gun and bomb attacks on Kabul on Monday, with at least 13 people injured as fierce fighting erupted in the heart of the Afghan capital.

Latest reports stated that four of the suicide bombers have died. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up and another two died in clashes, an interior ministry spokesman said.The two attackers killed by security forces had holed themselves up in a building in central Kabul, Zemarai Bashary said.

“We can confirm that four suicide bombers have been killed,” he told Al Jazeera television. He said some militants were still inside the Ariana Cinema, shooting at security forces who had surrounded the building.

“We suspect there are more bombers in the cinema building,” he said.Al Jazeera television reported that the Serena Hotel, Kabul’s only five-star hotel, is also on fire. Read more of this post

India’s Military Intelligence Chief conducts covert visit to Afghanistan

  • General Loomba held furtive, yet detailed meetings with Afghan, US and NATO officials
  • Delhi plans Afghan military takeover after US/ ISAF pullout
  • Indian Military spy master’s stealth Afghan trip conducted ahead of top US defence officials’ India visit
  • Holbrook kept Pakistanis busy in futile talks as per Pentagon, Langley plan
  • Indian MI boss visited covert Indian troopers’ positions in Afghanistan, met Indian Army instructors of ANA
  • Indian government, army resort to cohesive hostile approach towards Pakistan after Loomba’s Afghan trip
  • Analysts smell some secret US development in Afghanistan through Indian army.

While the US special envoy on Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrook and US Defence Secretary Robert Gates are paying surprise visits to India, in a rather mysterious move, the Chief of India’s Military Intelligence (DGMI), Lt. General R.K Loomba has carried out a high profile, yet comprehensively clandestine visit to Afghanistan and held detailed parlays with the Afghan, US and NATO officials, a development that was never officially or unofficially reported to Pakistan by either the US, the NATO or the Afghan officials, reveal the investigations of The Daily Mail

The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that this stealthy visit of the Director General of India’s Military Intelligence was carried out last week, just ahead of the visits of US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and US Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke to New Delhi

The Daily Mail’s findings disclose that Lt Gen. R.K. Loomba visited the headquarters of the Afghan National Army (ANA) in Kabul and also met with officials of Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the military officials, belonging to the US CENTCOM. Lt. General R.K Loomba, who, apart from being accompanied by some senior officials of the Indian MI, was also assisted by 2 senior RAW officials during all the meetings. These findings further reveal that General Loomba, despite holding discussions with the above mentioned Afghan, US and NATO officials, also visited some positions where India has covertly posted around two companies of regular Indian soldiers of Indian army’s Special Services Group in the disguise of members of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) while he is reported to have held a detailed meeting with the instructors of the Indian army, posted officially in Afghanistan to teach English language to the personnel of Afghan National Army while they actually belong to the Military Intelligence and RAW and are actually training the ANA special units about combat strategies against Pakistan army.

Though a highly credible at the army Headquarters in New Delhi told The Daily Mail that the purpose of the visit of General Loomba to Afghanistan was to assess preparations of the Afghan National Army in the wake of the US announcing a surge-and-exit policy through this year, yet the sources refrained to explain that why the visit was so secret and why the MI Chief had to go to Afghanistan instead of holding same discussions with the relevant officials from the US who were constantly visiting New Delhi.

The sources also say that the Indian military officials assess that the US/ NATO pullout would be gradual and Afghan National Army units would be asked to take over charge of areas sector by sector. India is involved in training ANA officers in India but quiet proposals have been floated for the deployment of Indian instructors in Afghanistan for the Afghan army.

Logic behind “war against terrorism”

It is no new development that almost every week two-three American or even British delegations come to Pakistan in order to deliver the newest instructions not only about how to fight the ‘war on terror’ but even on how to run the country. While the Jewish senator Lieberman was pressurizing Pakistan to launch a military operation in North Waziristan, David Milliband was advising our government on how to deal with the situation in Karachi. Though we have to concede that this government in power even lacks certain professionalism and may need one or the other advice it is unfortunate that it is the former colonial ruler who wants to further mislead us in this melee drama.

The same is the situation with the so-called ‘war on terror’ and our role as allies of the US and the West in this war. While we do have our own problems with extremism in Pakistan those problems are very different from the ones the US and the West are having. Their efforts to use Pakistan in order to fight and win their war in Afghanistan by deliberately pushing the taleban into Pakistani territory and pressurizing with the threat of stopping the money flow and the Pakistani government and army to fight the war according to their rules and principles has acquired an obstinacy during recent weeks which is really amazing. Judging by the latest remarks of special envoy Holbrooke it looks as if they are offering to run the country for us -at least for the time being, because Pakistan has no place in their ultimate agenda of building American Empire.He also seems to think that we have forgotten the treacherous role he had played at that time in Kosovo and Palestine, which reflected his anti-Islam sentiments.

Their losing position in the Afghan war and especially the recent deadly attack on their CIA operational base in Khost has made all the alarm bells ring in Washington. The panic is so big that whatsoever logic there might have been in the “war against terror” is falling prey to it. While it is an established fact that US and other Western think tanks and intelligence agencies considers that al Quaida has been relocating their “dispensable staff to Yemen after their situation became uncomfortable in Fata and Afghanistan, and it is alleged that several attacks on US installations have been launched earlier from Yemen and Westerners have been abducted for ransom on a regular basis the US states that still Yemen is not so important and the center of activity is in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why the pressure on our government and army is mounting to push us into a full fledged civil war.

The consequences of this will be disastrous not only for the US but for this and every coming government which pursues the same policy. Anti-American and anti-Western feelings will rise and that means that on the long run Islamic or Islamist parties and forces will gain influence. Just recently a London think tank making a forecast of political development in Pakistan during the coming three to four years predicted that anti-American feelings and sentiments will rise though probably Islamist forces will not be able to take over the reins of government in Pakistan, as it is nothing but just a propaganda tool for Western media. But the fact that about 70% of the Pakistani population wants the implementation of the Islamic shariah -even if the opinions about what that actually means are quite controversial- should be of course a reason for concern to the government. But the US is not only pressurizing Pakistan to help winning their losing war. They are pressurizing their European allies as well.

By now the Afghan war is thoroughly unpopular in most of the countries of ‘old Europe’ as narrated by former US Secretary of Defense Mr.Rumsfield. Be it Britain or Germany or France, the governments of these countries bound by contracts to the NATO and the US are at loss to explain to their population why and how there is a need to “defend the freedom of their respective countries by waging war in the Hindukush”.

In the situation when all those economies have to deal with a crisis, when the rates of joblessness are going up and the social security systems are under threat, each and every government has to take loans in order to run the economy and re-start it, why there have to be billions of dollars spent on war in Afghanistan and why innocent people have to die there.

Interestingly, the West was never ready to sacrifice the lives of their own soldiers in that war; they always thought that somehow it would be the enemy only who would die – and may be the “collateral damage” of that population that a highly computerized war would cause. That is why it is only the Western dead who are counted, never the dead Iraqis, Afghanis or Pakistanis. And the immediate death toll is only the beginning.

We are just getting first reports about a rising number of children in Iraq being born with birth defects and later developing cancer. The cancer rate in Iraq has gone up manifold as a result of the radiation which has been released in the wake of the carpet bombings. Given the inaccessibility of the Afghan territory such reports may take a while to emerge from there also; but they are bound to come. This situation clearly shows how crazy the logic of this whole ‘war on terror’ is and how physically and politically dangerous its outfall will be on Pakistan, when US and NATO forces leave Afghanistan ultimately.

US allies, NATO & ISAF have murdered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, terrified millions of innocent Pakistani and Afghani through their 9/11 drama to justify attack on Afghanistan & Iraq.

In 1996 US oil Mafia and Unocal were negotiating oil pipeline building project between the Caspian Sea and the markets of East Asia and Europe. At that time US Government welcomed Taliban’s rise to power as a promising source of stability in Afghanistan against the Northern Alliance, so the claim that they are waging this war to liberate Afghanis from Taliban is nothing but a white lie.

As an immediate outfall, Pakistan has become a victim of this war because of our spineless rulers. If immediate corrective measures are not taken and those advising to do more are not shown the door, our survival will remain at stake as millions of people are forced to beg for food, clean water, flour, sugar, gas, electricity, safety and security. Pakistani nation has been trapped in the quagmire of an endless war of terror or civil war, which needs to be ended otherwise the wheels of history are going to grind us all without any exceptions.(Ali Ashraf Khan)

Naked US doublespeak

To the drone attacks and the illegal activities of US diplomats, our friend and ally has decided to add the insulting screening of Pakistani citizens at its airports. This is yet another step that underlines the naked US double-speak on Pakistan. More troublesome, however, has been the government’s acceptance of such shoddy treatment so far and that too with thanks. Apparently, the government’s subservient attitude is beginning to change. The coming days will tell us how real this newfound sense of dignity is and how far it goes?

Addressing Parliament last week, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani finally articulated in no uncertain terms the feeling of being short-changed at the hands of the United States. He said that his government was not interested in US aid at the cost of Pakistan’s dignity and sovereignty. The Parliament’s Committee on National Security has also recommended a review of the government’s slavish US policy. Given the sensitivity of a large majority of Pakistanis regarding the role of the US in their country, it is important that the government translates these words into action and come up with a policy that elevates Pakistan from the status of being a client state. Read more of this post

Hobrooke defends India: Downplays Gen Kapoor’s threats

It has been two weeks since General Kapoor made his last asinine faux pax. Out of a billion Bharatis (aka Indians) one could not find the time to repudiate the inane imbecilic threats of General Kapoor who is embroled in a crisis of credibility, corruption and nepotism. One of his aides is indicted in a huge scandal.

ISLAMABAD: Recent statements by the Indian Army chief do not reflect New Delhi’s national policy, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke said on Wednesday. “What [Indian Army chief] General Kapoor said does not reflect the Indian national policy,” said Holbrooke – suggesting that it was the Indian Army chief’s personal opinion. Talking to a group of editors and columnists, the US special representative said his country would not broker relations between Pakistan and India. “It is for Pakistan and India to engage in a process of dialogue, and we support it,” he said. He acknowledged that Pakistan’s security concerns were legitimate. ‘Gen Kapoor’s statement doesn’t reflect India’s national policy’

Now we have a White man from across the oceans come to Pakistan and defend the national policy of Bharat–saying that General Kapoor’s  statement did not represent Bharati national policy.

It is absolutely amazing that the world should listen to Ambassador Holbrooke for news about Bharat—all statements from Delhi not withstanding.

–rupeenews

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