Light at the End of the Afghan Tunnel?

Is it finally light at the end of the Afghan tunnel, or an oncoming express train?

Total confusion erupted last week as the US, NATO, the UN and the Kabul government all issued differing views on new plans to end the nine year Afghan war by bombarding Taliban with tens of millions in cash instead of precision bombs.

One thing is clear: the US and its NATO allies are losing the war in Afghanistan in spite of their fearsome arsenal of high-tech weapons and war chests of billions of dollars.

Lightly-armed Pashtun tribesmen are living up to their legendary reputation of making Afghanistan the graveyard of empires.

So Washington and London, both in dire financial straits, say they are now ready for a possible peace deal with the Pashtun Taliban and its nationalist allies. But, in spite of a $1.4 trillion deficit, President Barack Obama is asking Congress for an additional $33 billion more for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.

If you can’t bomb them into submission, then try buying them off.

A conference was held in London last Thursday to raise tens of millions of dollars to try to bribe lower-level Taliban to cooperate with the western occupation and/or lay down its arms.

Bribery is a time-honored tool of war. But it’s not the answer in Afghanistan. The bloody Afghan conflict can only be ended by genuine peace negotiations and withdrawal of all foreign troops.

US commanders in Afghanistan admit they have lost the military initiative. The resistance is steadily gaining ground. Obama’s increasing US and allied troops to 150,000 won’t be enough to defeat Taliban. By year end, US and NATO forces will only equal the number of Soviet forces committed to Afghanistan in the 1980’s.

Meanwhile, Pakistan, without whose cooperation the US cannot wage war in Afghanistan, is in turmoil. The US is infiltrating Xe (formerly Blackwater) and DynCorp mercenaries into Pakistan to protect US military supply routes north from Karachi to Afghanistan, and to operate or defend US air bases in Pakistan.

US mercenaries are also reportedly being used to assassinate militants and enemies of Pakistan’s US-installed government, and to target Pakistan’s nuclear installations for future US action. This, and increasing attacks by US killer drones, have sparked outrage across Pakistan and brought warnings of creeping US occupation.

US and NATO forces in Afghanistan are like a man trying to fix a chimney on the roof of a burning house. Read more of this post

India vs Pakistan and Threat of War

Before visiting Pakistan, Robert Gates warned from New Delhi that, should 2007 Mumbai like incident occur again, India would attack Pakistan, meaning thereby that the past Mumbai killings have been solely attributed to Pakistan and if such an incident occurred again, responsibility would be that of Pakistan, and in retaliation, India would be perfectly justified to attack Pakistan. In this situation USA would not be in a position to restrain India. Rather it may support this venture.

The message is fraught with ominous consequences and therefore demands a clear assessment of our ability to respond, if such a threat develops. This assessment therefore, is based on existing ground realities, which determine the military power balance between Pakistan and India. No doubt, the Indian armed forces are numerically superior to Pakistan, but they suffer from some inherent weaknesses and, it will take them a long time to overcome these.

Indian armed forces are in the midst of a transition, – replacement of the obsolete Russian weapons system with high-tech American-Israeli-European weapons. India started this changeover in 2005 after signing the Strategic Partnership Agreement with USA and hopes to complete it by the year 2015. Already it has spent about a hundred billion dollars on the new acquisitions. Their entire military system at present therefore, is weak, because they have the old and absolute weapons and about thirty percent of the recently acquired new systems. They suffer from a predicament, similar to what we suffered in early seventies, because, USA bad abandoned Pakistan in 1965 and we had not been able to induct new weapons and equipment from other sources. India exploited this weakness and dismembered Pakistan. Thus, India suffering from such weaknesses, now, is not in a position to wage a full f1edged war against Pakistan.

India faces another serious problem, in that, despite their best efforts of the last forty years, they have failed to manufacture their own tanks, guns, cruise missiles, fighter aircrafts, battleships and submarines. This in essence, constitutes a major weakness of the Indian armed forces, because, the present day war cannot be won with weapons borrowed or purchased from others. And, contrary to the weaknesses of India and cognising the implications of self-reliance, Pakistan has achieved up to ninety percent of indigenisation of weapons and equipment. We have our own tanks, guns, cruise missiles, fighter aircrafts, battleships and submarines as well as we have a stock-pile of war reserves, of over forty days, as compared to just eleven days of war reserves in 1965 and seven days in 1971. Whereas India’s war reserves as of today are limited to 15 days only. Thus, Pakistan in this respect also enjoys a clear edge over India.

Pakistan has achieved up to ninety percent of indigenisation of weapons and equipment.

The third dimensional capability of Pakistan is, in the way of higher military education and superior military and operational strategy, which is the hallmark of our military leadership, and was demonstrated some twenty years back in 1989, during Ex-Zarb-e-Momin. The Offensive Defence concept was practised and over the period, has been actualised as the fundamental doctrine of war. Offensive Defence means that our forces having fixed the enemy, will carry the war into their territory. Compare it with the Cold Start doctrine of India, of fighting a war on two fronts, which is more of a fiction than a realistic military doctrine.

Mr Robert Gates, as well as the Indian military planners, while taking into cognisance the existing military balance between Pakistan and India, must also consider the new phenomenon of the Asymmetric War, which, during the last thirty years, has established the supremacy of Men and Missiles, over the most modern and technologically superior armed forces of the world, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Kashmir. The Asymmetric War, in essence is the name of the Islamic Resistance, with its hardcore resting along the Durand Line. It is our strength. Thus, conventional as well as irregular armed forces, together provide the emerging shape of the Fourth Generation of modern warfare, as Joseph S Nye, the former Assistant Secretary of Defence USA and a professor of Harvard University, defines: “The hybrid wars, conventional and irregular forces combatants and civilians become thoroughly intertwined” to win wars and help establish the new order. In case, war is forced on Pakistan, it would be a long and decisive war, where new geo-political realities would emerge, establishing new frontiers of peace in the region.

Nuclear weapons are not the weapons of war because these have never been used as such. United States used it against the Japanese in 1945, which already had lost the war, nor had the capability to retaliate. American purpose was primarily diplomatic, i.e. to declare to the world that, America was entering the centre stage of world politics, to establish its global primacy and pre-eminence. There are other instances also, where nuclear powers, possessing hundreds and thousands of atomic weapons could not use them, to save themselves from very difficult and embarrassing situations. The Americans lost the war in Vietnam; the Soviets lost their empire in Afghanistan; the Israelis could not cover the shame of defeat at the hands of Hezbollah in 2005; the Americans having suffered defeat in Iraq, now are facing a worse defeat in Afghanistan, yet they find no recourse to use their nuclear capability. Their NATO partners are equally embarrassed, yet they cannot think of using their nuclear weapons to cover the shame of impending defeat. Similarly, India and Pakistan can fight only conventional wars and win or loose, but they dare not use nuclear weapons against each other, because it would destroy everything, leaving nothing but ashes, one could hope to capture and rebuild. And therefore, our people must not carry the wrong notion that Pakistan is powerful because it has nuclear capability. On the contrary, it is the conventional military capability, which provides security and lends resilience to the nation, as of now, and provides space to the po1itical government, to establish good governance.

Nuclear weapons are also great equalizer, between nuclear capable adversaries. “Between India and Pakistan, perfect deterrence exists” – declared George Fernandis, the former Defence Minister of India, after Pakistan demonstrated its capability in May 1998. And that precisely is the function of the weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan’s policy of Minimum Credible Nuclear Deterrence, supported by the Policy of Restraint, together serves the purpose of a stable nuclear deterrence. Nuclear capability also doesn’t compensate for the conventional military capability, and working on this principle the conventional military capability of Pakistan has been so developed as to make it a real symbol of national power, to defeat all aggression from within and outside.

Such are the ground realities, which determine the capabilities of our armed forces which cannot be wiped off by contrived constructs of our adversaries, nor Pakistan can be scared of going to the brink, if a war was forced on it. J F Dulles has rightly said: “If you are scared to go to the brink you are lost.” Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg (Retd)

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Pakistan rejects ST story

ISLAMABAD (APP) – Pakistan on Sunday strongly rejected a report of Christina Lamb in Sunday Times claiming that “Elite US troops ready to combat Pakistani nuclear hijacks” and termed it rubbish and figment of the imagination of the reporter.

Talking to a private TV channel, Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit stated that the assertions and insinuations made in the story are baseless. Pakistani government also devised and continued to implement a foolproof safety and security regime for nuclear-related materials.

Western media keep repeating such self-serving baseless propaganda.

However, Pakistan does not bother it as at official level no such assertions exist from west, he said while quoting a statement of US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, giving clean chit to Pakistan in respect to nuclear material’s safety.

Complaining discriminatory behaviour of the western media, the foreign office spokesman said Pakistan never want to made South Asia an atomic region and never take part in armed race.

Pakistan only wants to fortify its defence, he said, adding that Pakistan went nuclear in response to Indian threats. Pakistan cannot be blamed and any wrong use of nuclear arsenal is simply out of question.

Admitting Pak-America differences over drone attacks, he said Pakistan was trying to convince the US that persistent drone attacks could endanger consensus in Pakistan to fight terror war.

It is hoped that the policy of erstwhile Bush administration would be revisited as it is proving counter productive, he said.

Responding to a question, he said if Pakistani media is critical of the US it directly links American policies. In response to constructive criticism of Pakistani media, the western media retorts with baseless propaganda against Pakistani nuclear-related material.

It is pertinent to mention here that Sunday Times in a report published on January 17, quoting a former CIA officer reported that the US army is training a crack unit to seal off and snatch back Pakistani nuclear weapons in the event that militants, possibly from inside the country’s security apparatus, get their hands on a nuclear device or materials that could make one.

Pak nuke capability sans US aid: Dr Khan

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan

Islamabad—Renowned Nuclear Scientist of Pakistan Dr. Qadeer Khan has pointed out that Pakistan owing to its best missile technology can target every city of India and Pakistan got its nuclear capability without American assistance. He was talking to visit media fare on Saturday.

Talking to a private TV channel here on Friday, he disclosed that Pakistan had got the nuclear capability in 1984 and Pakistan had not utilized American assistance to for its atomic capability adding that during the decade of ninety annual budget of KRL (Kahuta Research Laboratories was allocated only $ 20-25 millions. Read more of this post

China’s another leap forward

CHINA has successfully tested a missile intercept system to shoot down missiles in mid-air. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman in Beijing said the January 11 test of ground-based, mid-course missile intercepting technology had achieved what she described as the expected result and at the same time emphasised the test is defensive in nature and is not targeted at any country.

The Chinese missile intercept test is yet another leap forward, mastery of a very difficult and complicated technology and speaks volumes of advances the country is making in different sectors. The test was conducted not long after the United States approved a sale of advanced missiles to Taiwan, despite strong opposition from Beijing. Missile Defence system is seen as an integral part of national security by many countries which increases deterrent against those nations that would threaten their homelands. China as a premier world power substantially validates the necessity of missile defence as a policy. Earlier China conducted a successful anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons test on 11 January 2007 when a kinetic kill vehicle launched by a medium range ballistic missile destroyed an inactive Chinese weather satellite. The US is the leading power, which had developed surface to air guided missile defence system designed to detect, target and destroy incoming ballistic missiles flying three to five times the speed of sound. It first deployed the anti missile Patriot system during the 1991 Gulf War and shot down some of the Iraqi Scud missiles. In doing so, Patriot became the first anti-missile system to eliminate hostile warheads in combat. After the war it also began to develop the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3). The PAC-3 is a “hit-to-kill” system and destroys its targets by the kinetic energy released in a head-on collision. Anyhow the successful test of the missile intercept system by Beijing is a proof of the vision of Chinese leadership which is focussing to achieve mastery in hi-tech. Unfortunately this vision and approach is lacking in Pakistan and it is time that we should learn from the Chinese experience and focus on Research and Development not only for further strengthening the defence of the country but also in meeting our energy and other needs.
(Pakobserver) Read more of this post

Is India really playing nasty with Iran?

The successful launch of Sejil-2 missile by Iran that can target Israel and US did not surprise both these countries as India had already leaked sufficient information on Iranian missile project. Because of the same forecast, Washington was pushing the world community and United Nations for tougher sanctions against Tehran. Iran is well aware of Indian role in espionage for US and Israel.

With the surfacing of Indo-US-Israel troika, India’s long awaited desire to win over Iran to her side against Pakistan and other Muslim countries seems fading away. Although in the recent years there was a record growth in the bilateral relations between India and Iran but latest India-US-Israel collaboration against the Muslim world has cautioned Iranian government and political analysts in Tehran. Indian modus operandai against Muslims remains that it creates misunderstanding between Muslim countries, which finally lead to suspicion and hostile relations. In a conspiracy against Pakistan, India made a lot of material investment and sacrificed precious time of her Intelligence agencies in order to share so called self-engineered red hot information with US, Israel and at times with Iran.

It is interesting to note that the state of art technical equipment provided by US and Israel to collect intelligence pertaining to Iran’s nuclear programme and movement of Iranian Armed Forces, especially the Iranian Navy is also utilized against countries like Pakistan to provide selected information to please strategic partners. The sole aim of India is to isolate Pakistan from Iran in order to create her hegemony over the entire region. In another recent development, a secret Indo-US agreement has been recently concluded by virtue of which India has agreed upon to transfer data regarding Iranian nuclear programme including monitoring of nuclear radiation-emission through human intelligence as well as from India satellite RISAT. It need to be kept in mind that US has started installation of two nuclear reactors on selected Indian sites as a reward for furnishing information against Iranian secrets. Due to US and Israeli growing influence over India, despite New Delhi’s generous offers to Iran in the field of military hardware as well as infrastructure, Iran has always looked towards India with suspicion. No doubt that there are numerous agreements inked between the two countries to jointly counter terrorism and extremism but India failed to get recognition of trusted friend in the eyes of an ordinary Iranian. The Iranian intelligence is well aware of India’s long term designs in the region and as a defensive strategy, New Delhi is being kept at safe distance. Despite Iranian careful dealings, India is constantly disseminating important intelligence to Non-Muslim world regarding Iran’s religious activities in Qom, Mashed and Muqadas shrine, portraying it as anti West and more threatening than the Al-Qaida. Thus purely religious practices are painted as some sort of an attempt to take over the world by a revolution. Indian Consulate General Zahidan and Indian Embassy Tehran have become Indian intelligence agency RAW’s breeding ground for agents. Diplomats of Indian Embassy Tehran and Consulate General Zahidan were photographed by Afghan intelligence agencies holding confidential meetings with leaders of Mujahideen-e-Khalq and Jandollah group in Dubai, Zabal and Zarang in Afghanistan.

Many analysts get confused to observe that when India’s collaboration with US and Israel is being monitored by Iran, why Tehran is unable to discontinue diplomatic relations with India. In fact, Iran at this critical juncture cannot give India a blunt reply because of her fear of isolation. Iran is very clear that the India will not only allow US and Israeli planes to use its bases but will also extend full strategic and logistic support if pre-emptive military strikes are carried out to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities. In fact, the Israeli Air Force had even held an exercise over the Mediterranean in June 2008, which was widely believed to be the simulation of a strike against Iranian nuclear installations. Among the 52 joint combat exercises between India and US in the last seven years, the Red Flag air combat exercise in US in 2008 and Yudh Abanas in 2009 are excellent examples of Indo-US nexus against Iranian Nuclear and missile installations.

India’s past record vis-à-vis Iran had been very poor. India played a major role in developing a consensus against Iran’s nuclear programme. It even did not bother the long-standing ties with Iran, when it voted against Iran in the IAEA Board of Governors’ meetings in September 2005 and March 2006. Presently India is trying hard to mend fences with Iran. However, the last year’s incident of not permitting the Indian aircrafts to fly over Iranian territory is indicative that Iran has lost its trust over India and that she has realized that it is India which is disseminating secrets of Iranian strategic and tactical targets to US and Israel. In the recent past, the espionage activities of Indian diplomats in Afghanistan came into the notice of Iran and United Arab Emirates, when personnel of Indian Border Road Organization (BRO) and Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were caught red handed carrying out highly objectionable activities. Presently, Presently, Iran security forces have disallowed the Indian agents to us Iranian soil against Pakistan and Afghanistan.

India’s Iran Policy has miserably failed rather its long-standing ties with Iran has been strained. Although the India’s past record will never encourage any leadership in Tehran to maintain relations of trust with New Delhi but Iran at the same time will not refuse a friendly handshake with India, to avoid international isolation. Supported by powerful print and electronic media, India’s policy in the region aimed at maintaining hegemony over the entire region through its bluff game. It is right time for Iran to neutralize the activities being carried out by Indian intelligence agency RAW through Indian Embassy Tehran and Indian Consulate General Zahidan.

There is no doubt that India is waging a silent proxy war inside Iran to serve the interests of US and Israel. By and large Indian civilian workers in Iran and the Gulf region have no bad intentions against Islamic Republic of Iran but Indian Armed Forces personnel and its intelligence agents are working against Iranian interests to please US and Israel. –Afshain Afzal

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