Rohit Kumar's Views

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India destabilizing Pakistan using Afghan soil

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PM Gilani accompanied by Gen Kayani visited Kabul at a time when a visible thaw has occurred in Pak-Afghan relations. Karzai has repeatedly expressed his keenness to remove misgivings and to establish friendly ties with Pakistan since dawn of 2010. He wants Pakistan to play its role in finding an amicable solution to Afghan problem. While agreeing to establish tension-free cordial ties, the visitors gave proofs of Afghan and Indian subversive activities in Balochistan. The hosts were pressed to give an undertaking that in future the Afghan government would not allow Indian interference in Balochistan or any other part of Pakistan. Presence of certain undesirable elements in Afghanistan since the establishment of Northern Alliance heavy regime of Hamid Karzai has been the cause of sour relations between the two neighbors. Afghanistan-Pakistan constructive dialogue is possible only after Afghan rulers make a solemn pledge that it would not allow Afghan soil to be used by India for launching covert operations against Pakistan.

While Pakistan has always vied to maintain cordial and tension free relations with Afghanistan and has never tried to exploit its land lock handicap, successive regimes in Kabul have traditionally treaded hostile path towards Pakistan and have remained inclined towards India. Pakistan’s softness towards Afghanistan has stemmed from commonality of religion and centuries old cultural ties. It was only during the Taliban rule that Pak-Afghan relations were friendly and Indian influence had waned.

Afghanistan is currently in deep trouble since it is an occupied country and ruled by a puppet regime installed by USA. Resistance forces are engaged in Jihad against occupation forces duly supplemented by US trained Afghan National Army which is non-Pashtun heavy. Unlike in 1980s when Pakistan was supporting Afghan Mujahideen to push out occupying Soviet forces, this time Pakistan stands on the side of occupiers and is acting as the conduit to provide logistic support to 152,000 strong ISAF in Afghanistan.

Pakistan position is very dicey since non-Pashtun Afghans have a grudge against Pakistan for having helped Taliban in capturing power in 1996. The Taliban are resentful that Pakistan had ditched them in their hour of crisis and sided with their enemies. The current regime friendly to India strongly suspect that Pakistan is assisting Taliban and hence is hostile to Pakistan. The US-NATO have its own set of grievances against Pakistan because of which it treats Pakistan less as an ally and more as an enemy country. Pakistan is up against massive covert war launched by its adversaries having common objectives against Pakistan. India having no role in war on terror is having the best of everything at the cost of Pakistan.

Faced with multiple challenges, Pakistan is still trying to maintain friendly ties with USA, Afghanistan and India. Since Afghanistan is faced with multiple challenges, Pakistan doesn’t want to add to its woes and is keen to help solve Afghan imbroglio. Stable, friendly and peaceful Afghanistan is in the overall interest of Pakistan. Despite its friendly overtures, Afghan government in the tight grip of USA and India is creating extreme problems for the national security and internal stability of Pakistan. The Indian Embassy in Kabul and string of Pakistan specific Indian consulates are involved in training and launching of terrorists and saboteurs into Pakistan.

India desires that Pakistan should open its land route through Wagah border to Afghanistan for two-way trade so that it could flood Afghanistan’s markets with Indian goods and thus in the name of reconstruction grab Afghan market and resources. The Indians know that they can reach the coveted riches of Central Asia only through the land route passing through Pakistan and Afghanistan since air business is unfeasible. India has been making strenuous efforts to expand its influence in Afghanistan since 2002. Governed by this strategy, it has been siding with Karzai and now when India has established itself firmly in Afghanistan, it has become that much easy for it to carryout subversive activities against Pakistan, particularly when it enjoys complete blessing of USA. The latter has helped India in gaining a foothold in Afghanistan and gradually expanding it.

It is unfortunate that today very few recall the huge sacrifices made by Pakistan in the 1980s when Afghanistan had been forcibly occupied by Soviet forces and none had come forward to contest Soviet aggression. Had Pakistan under Gen Ziaul Haq not put Pakistan’s security at stake and not stood up to Soviet challenge and not given full support to the Mujahideen, Afghanistan would have become a satellite of Soviet Union dancing to the tunes of Moscow. The latter had embarked upon massive Sovietization program to shatter Afghan’s Islamic identity, culture, customs, traditions and historical heritage.

Who doesn’t know the pathetic fate of Muslim Central Asian states which were brutally traumatized and their rich culture and identity demolished by Russia? But for Pakistan’s role, history of the globe would have been different since Soviet Union would not have fragmented. It was because of Pakistan’s principled stand that it had to inherit innumerable problems from which it is suffering to this day.In 1980s, Pakistan faced the brunt of KGB-KHAD-RAW-AlZulfiqar sabotage and subversion for over a decade. Now it is facing CIA-RAW-RAAM-Mossad-MI6 covert war as well as drone war since 2004.

It is an undeniable fact that Karzai regime has offered Afghan soil to anti-Pakistan intelligence agencies to indulge in cross border terrorism against Pakistan. The saboteurs, arms, ammunition, explosives and funds are all being funneled into Pakistan from Afghanistan to aid anti-Pakistan forces in Balochistan and FATA, which are fighting security forces and indulging in acts of terrorism. This inflow is not possible without the active collusion of Afghan government. How is it possible to barge into someone else’s house through your house without your permission?

The security situation of Pakistan has aggravated to such an alarming extent that it is no more possible to tolerate Afghanistan’s collusion in subversive activities in Pakistan. The people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan who have suffered the most on account of cross border terrorism from Afghanistan are writhing in agony. They are blaming provincial governments for failing to provide them security and for their docility towards adversaries of Pakistan. Their pent up anger has reached a boiling point which may spin out of control anytime.

It has been seen that despite all our goodwill and cooperative gestures, Karzai regime has continued to maintain a hypocritical attitude because of which our efforts have proved fruitless. It is high time that our rulers should come out of their mode of one-sided appeasement and convey firmly to Karzai regime to stop allowing Afghan soil as a launching pad for India to harm Pakistan. We should also review our Afghan policy without further loss of time. If we continue with our policy of ignoring unconcealed foreign interference particularly in Balochistan, it would embolden Indians to continue with their dual policy of extending a hand of friendship as well as stabbing us in the back.

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US ‘begins talks’ with the Taliban

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A report claims that the Obama administration has launched exploratory contacts with senior leaders of the Afghan insurgency

The Afghan conflict has not lacked peace initiatives in the past few years. There have been at least a dozen back-channel contacts with the Taliban brokered by a mix of governments, institutions or individuals. But until now, it has been a cottage industry, producing reports but no tangible gains.


The talks are said to be the legacy of the late US envoy, Richard Holbrooke.

Many of those involved in these encounters predicted that there would be no way of knowing whether the Taliban leadership was interested in making a deal until Washington decided to engage with it directly. That now appears to have happened.

A report by Steve Coll in the current edition of the New Yorker reports that:

The Obama Administration has entered into direct, secret talks with senior Afghan Taliban leaders, several people briefed about the talks told me last week. The discussions are continuing; they are of an exploratory nature and do not yet amount to a peace negotiation.

There are few details. We do not learn which Taliban figures are taking part, though Mullah Omar is apparently not involved. Nor is it clear whether the contacts are being orchestrated on the US side by the state department or the White House. Coll gives credit for inspiring them to Richard Holbrooke, the US envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan who died in December.

According to European diplomats, Barack Obama has told his national security staff that 2011 should be the year in which the political track towards a resolution takes precedence over the military approach. The US-Taliban contacts, if confirmed, signal that Washington is no longer content to leave the pace of political progress to the Afghan government that has little incentive in a settlement that would almost certainly put it out of business.

The next step will be a meeting of the international contact group early next month in Jeddah, where the special envoys (including Holbrooke’s replacement, Marc Grossman) will be hosted by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

Such meetings are generally too large and unwieldy to yield concrete results, but the OIC’s role this time will be widely seen as a blessing from the Islamic world for the search for a negotiated solution, important in turn for drawing in major Taliban figures. Holbrooke is said to have seen the OIC’s agreement to play host as a major coup and had been excitedly briefing Hillary Clinton on the development when he was taken ill.

The other big hope is that now there is news of direct US-Taliban talks, other regional players, Pakistan and Iran in particular, will play a more engaged role in multilateral talks, for fear of being left behind by a ‘peace train’ that might finally be leaving the station.

Obama stands by US support for Pakistan

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RAHUL BEDI

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama has defended Washington’s support for Pakistan and said India was the country with the biggest stake in Islamabad’s stability.


President Obama meets schoolchildren as he visit Humayuns Tomb in New Delhi yesterday.

“My hope is that, over time, trust develops between the two countries, that dialogue begins, perhaps on less controversial issues, building up to more controversial issues,” he told college students in India’s western port city of Bombay (Mumbai) yesterday, on the second day of his three-day visit to India.

Mr Obama, who faces a diplomatic tightrope in fostering ties with India as its economic and geopolitical importance grows while at the same time helping Pakistan with billions of dollars in aid and weaponry, told the students the US could not impose peace on the neighbouring nuclear rivals.

“There are more Pakistanis who’ve been killed by terrorists inside Pakistan than probably anywhere else,” Mr Obama stated, in the city besieged for nearly three days by 10 gunmen from Pakistan almost exactly two years ago.

Many Bombay residents and siege survivors were disappointed with Mr Obama’s remarks, which they considered over conciliatory towards Pakistan.

Mr Obama added that the US had reaffirmed its partnership with Pakistan along with its willingness to help Islamabad stamp out terrorism, but progress had not been as quick as many wanted.

Many Indian officials privately admitted to being frustrated with Mr Obama for not being forthright in condemning Pakistan and its military and intelligence establishment for “sponsoring” terrorism.

The president reiterated his intention to bring US troops home from Afghanistan, beginning in July 2011, depending on ground conditions. He said he supported efforts by the Afghan government to reconcile with current and former Taliban members who agreed to sever ties with al-Qaeda, renounce violence and support their country’s constitution.

Addressing his domestic situation, Mr Obama declared he needed to initiate “mid-course corrections” if he was to win over a frustrated electorate and work with newly empowered Republicans.

However, he said he would not change his determination to move the US forward by investing in education, infrastructure and clean energy, despite mounting pressure in Washington to cut spending.

Mr Obama said the US mid-term elections reflected the “right, obligation and duty” of voters to express their unhappiness with his administration by voting out many incumbents, the majority of whom were Democrats, like Obama.

He said the outcome of his “mid-course corrections” over the coming months would depend on talks with Republicans, who last week won control of the House and eroded the Democrats’ Senate majority.

The Republicans also made major gains at state level, changing the political landscape as Obama looks ahead to his own re-election in 2012.

While her husband’s comments on Pakistan annoyed Indian officials and analysts, Michelle Obama won kudos from the Indian media and Mumbai residents by kicking off her shoes and played a boisterous game of hopscotch with under-privileged children on Saturday and later dancing with gusto with them to a ritzy Bollywood tune. Mr Obama joined in the dance, sportingly jumping around and making awkward movements with his arms.

Later in the day the Obamas arrived in Delhi, where they were received by Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh, who broke with protocol to personally greet the US president.