Rohit Kumar's Views

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘US troops

Kashmir and the Afghan withdrawal

leave a comment »

By Abdul Majid Zargar
TACSTRAT

In-spite of a massive force build-up and despite adoption of ” Shock & awe” theory and thousands of Drone attacks backed up by latest technology, a defeat stares in the face of America in Afghanistan. Its troop withdrawal plan by the end of 2014 is an organized retreat, if not a total surrender.

And this defeat has not made appearance out of thin air. Washington has known for years that it had no hope of destroying the Taliban, and that it would have to settle for compromise and a political solution with an indigenous insurgency that remains sufficiently popular to have survived the longest U.S. military occupation in history. It was also predicted by think tanks & defense experts alike long ago. A 2010 Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), report on Afghanistan predicted:”We have not yet achieved any meaningful form of positive strategic result from over nine years of war in Afghanistan and the conflict may end in a major grand strategic defeat.” Before dying, Richard Holbrooke admitted it, saying “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.” His signal was clear & unambiguous .It is another thing that Washington Post reinterpreted it, saying:”Holbrooke’s death is the latest complication in an effort plagued by unreliable partners, reluctant allies and an increasingly skeptical American public.”In 2012, a New York Times editorial wrote that the U.S. military has had to give up on hopes of inflicting enough pain on the Taliban to set favorable terms for a political settlement. Instead, it will be left up to the Afghan combatants to find their own political solution once the U.S. and its allies take themselves out of the fight.

War has its own vocabulary & dictionary. While its start heralds a destruction, its ends sprouts a hope. Hope not only for people who have been direct victims of war but also for region as a whole. It also emits signals which are taken as precedents for adoption by parties- to- conflict in a near or distant land. And America’s imminent defeat in Afghanistan is already emitting powerful signals that only a Gun can be answer to enforce a decision or solution, how-so-ever powerful the other party might be. It has rekindled a new hope among those propagating armed struggle in Kashmir as the only viable way to solve the long festering problem of Kashmir.

Kashmir is a geopolitical Gordian knot, interwoven by Indian and Pakistani intransigence .The real reason for the Indian State’s obsession with Kashmir is that ‘losing Kashmir’ (whatever that means) will make the Indian state look ‘weak’. For Pakistan the misconception is that Kashmir is its jugular vein ( again whatever that means). Both these narratives are devoid of genuine aspirations of people of J&K. Even after acquiring huge stockpile of nuclear arms both countries are distrustful & fearful of each other.

Kashmir is the longest standing dispute recognized by United Nations & International community. It is the highest militarized zone on earth and according to a fresh entry in the Guinness book of world records, nearly a million of soldiers are continuously staring at each other in a territory which is flanked by three nuclear armed countries. And supposedly the professional armies of both the countries have ceded space to communal & extremist elements within their ranks.

It is a drain on the hopes for prosperity, peace and freedom for people throughout the subcontinent, and the world. There is no moving toward peaceful coexistence between the two countries, no stabilization of the region, no possibility for global nuclear disarmament. This conflict has made a vast majority of population hostages in their own land and a tiny minority refugees in their own State. This conflict of last sixty years has brought so much of death & destruction to countless families that another sixty six years will be insufficient to heal their wounds. One fails to understand What exactly is their fault? Is it that they were born on the wrong side of the globe?

Let India & Pakistan start negotiations not out of fear but let they also not fear to negotiate. And before the signals emanating out of Afghanistan are translated into action by extreme elements, which only means further death & destruction, let those be pre-empted by both Countries finding a lasting solution to the problem by taking genuine representatives of Jammu &Kashmir on board and sooner this happens, the better it is.

Author is a practicing chartered Accountant. Email: abdulmajidzargar@gmail.com

Advertisements

The Taliban in Paris

leave a comment »

Spearhead Analysis – 12.12.12
Spearhead Research

The official word from the Taliban is that they will be in Paris for discussions with the US and its western allies and with the former Northern Alliance representing the Karzai government in Afghanistan. This is an amazing development on several counts. It indicates that the Taliban are a cohesive organized group with clear cut policies and that they think that the time has come for them to be part of the reconciliation process. It is nothing short of a miracle that they have decided to become a part of the intra-Afghan dialogue supposedly led by the Afghan government but actually a joint US-Pakistan venture.

Not surprising then that President Karzai feels left out and has tried to gain a toehold by blaming the US for the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan for a recent assassination attempt on the Afghan intelligence chief. Mr Karzai knows full well that the attack could have been planned anywhere in Pakistan or Afghanistan but that does not make it something sponsored by the state of Pakistan. The US, in a recently released Pentagon report, has clearly stated that the problem in Afghanistan is the lack of state capacity in Afghanistan, the high level of corruption there and the sanctuaries in Pakistan’s western border areas (created as a result of the fighting in Afghanistan).

It is also not surprising that with the start of the end game in Afghanistan the US and Pakistan are at pains to point out that their rocky relationship is back on track – at least for the 2014 transition in Afghanistan for which the progress in 2013 is critically important. A 25 member US delegation participated in the US-Pakistan Defense Consultative Group meeting in Pakistan and both sides expressed satisfaction at the positive outcome. There have been other discussions between the two countries on energy and economic issues. The Pakistani Foreign Minister declared the US-Pakistan relationship ‘back on track’ with all issues resolved and accompanied by the Army Chief she was in Brussels for discussions and briefings that seem to have gone well.

Given the track record of the US-Pakistan relationship Pakistanis may be forgiven for asking if all this is for real and sustainable after 2014 or is it to get Pakistan on board till the transition in Afghanistan is completed without a serious mishap?. After all when the US left after the USSR exited from Afghanistan, not only was Pakistan left to face the blow-back but it was also slapped with sanctions unable to effectively support the indigenous uprising in Kashmir against Indian atrocities. Pakistan has responded positively to US overtures and the Taliban it holds are being released – free to travel and participate in the negotiations that might lead to political stability in Afghanistan. There is a realization all around that the reconciliation and dialogue track could eventually lead to the all important phase of direct US-Taliban negotiations with Pakistan’s support.

The danger of failure on the reconciliation front is that there may be reversion to a civil-war environment given the fact that warlords are alive and well. Ismail Khan’s recent gathering in Herat indicated that this could happen. There is also the realization that with continued US presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014 the Taliban could not depend on external support in an all-out bid for power – as they had attempted earlier. The fact that Pakistan wants peace and stability in Afghanistan to deal with the insurgents in its western border areas and that it wants Afghanistan to deny support and sanctuaries to such groups creates convergence in objectives. Trouble may come from a split in the Afghan government ranks – if Karzai decides to play hard ball especially because of the remarkable cohesion being displayed by the Taliban. Much will also depend on how many US troops stay on in Afghanistan with guesses that put the figure anything between 10000 to 25000), what kind of a status of forces agreement is drawn up for these troops and significantly on the capacity of the Afghan security forces.

(Spearhead Analyses are the result of a collaborative effort and not attributable to a single individual)

Obama stands by US support for Pakistan

leave a comment »

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.

Investigators claim US money is funding Afghan Taliban

leave a comment »

Investigators say the US military has been giving tens of millions of dollars to Afghan security firms who are channelling the money to warlords.


The US military report follows a six-month investigation

Trucks carrying supplies to US troops allegedly pay the firms to ensure their safe passage in dangerous areas of Afghanistan.

The convoys are attacked if payments are not made, according to allegations on a US military document.

The congressional report follows a six-month investigation.

The document states that trucks carrying food, water, fuel, and ammunition may be supplying up to $4 million (£2.7m) per week to the firms.

A US congressional committee is expected to hear the evidence on the investigation from senior officials at the US Department of Defense later on Tuesday.

‘Vast protection racket’

The congressional subcommittee that carried out the investigation says that bribes are paid to the Taliban and virtually every governor, police chief and local military commander whose territory the convoys pass through.

One of the security companies in question is alleged to be owned by two cousins of the Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The report released late on Monday says the security agreements violate laws on the use of private contractors, as well as US Department of Defense regulations.

The report states that “although the warlords do provide guards and coordinate security, the contractors have little choice but to use them in what amounts to a vast protection racket”.

The document states that security companies hired under the Afghan Host Nation Trucking are the ones funneling the money.

Watan Risk management is one of the largest security providers in Afghanistan and one of the companies currently under investigation.

The military report states that representatives of the company allegedly negotiate or dictate the price of safe passage in a given area. The company then issues warnings to trucking companies who are late in paying or refuse to pay the sum.

A spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigation Command at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, confirmed to the AP news agency that the inquiry is taking place.

The report comes as the number of US casualties is rising in Afghanistan, and suggests not only that money from the US tax payer is being used to finance the enemy, but also to undermine international efforts towards stability in the country.

Growing differences between the Pakistani civil and military leadership with the US administration

leave a comment »

By Shireen M Mazari

On January 17, the supposedly reputable Sunday Times of Britain, published a story by Christina Lamb from Washington – known for her bashing of the Pakistani state – entitled “Elite US troops ready to combat nuclear hijacks”, which was premised on lies and half-truths, derived from sources already proven incorrect in the distant and not-so distant past. Lamb’s story goes that US troops are ready to snatch Pakistan’s nukes if militants get their hands on either fissile material or a nuke itself. The stale premise is that this could possibly be from within the country’s “security apparatus”. It is too bad the newspaper failed to verify its facts – something we in the Pakistani media are constantly being told to do!

Point by point Lamb has either presented or quoted outright lies or distorted facts.

First: She has cited a retired CIA source, who had worked in the US energy department intelligence unit, as declaring that Pakistan had the “highest density of extremists in the world”! Now how has this statistic been acquired? Was any research done? Where did the 9/11 hijackers come from? What do they mean by the term “extremist?” Are those who elect extreme right parties in Europe not “extremists” also? And so on.

Two: The same source is quoted as claiming that there have been attacks on army bases “which stored nuclear weapons” and a suspect source, Shaun Gregory, has been used to substantiate this baseless claim. Yes, army targets have been there but nowhere close to any nuclear base or site.

Three: Gregory had, a while back, written in a US military journal on counterterrorism, documenting three incidents connecting acts of terror in Pakistan to nuclear targets. None of these match the facts on the ground. The first incident was a November 2007 suicide attack on a PAF bus near the Sargodha air base, on the main road and not inside the base itself. This was cited as an attack on a nuclear site since this was a F-16 base and these planes are of course nuclear capable! What logic for a supposedly sound British academic. The second incident cited by Gregory was a December 2007 incident when a suicide bomber blew up at the Kamra air base – again because the F-16s are there so it was assumed the nukes were the targets! But the base is recessed far away from the main aeronautical complex at Kamra which was targeted and where there are neither F-16s nor nukes! The third incident Gregory had cited was the devastating attack at the gates of the POF complex at Wah. But the ignorance of both Gregory and Lamb is revealed by the fact that neither of them seem to know that the Wah complex focuses on conventional weapons especially tanks and APCs and not on missiles or warheads. One can take comfort in the fact that these writers do not know where the missiles and warheads are produced and assembled!

Four: Lamb then goes on to cite a “fourth” attack supposedly targeting our nukes which took place on the GT Road at the turning for Kamra! According to Lamb, even though the Pakistanis have denied that Kamra is a nuke base, Gregory asserts it is. Now how credible is Mr. Gregory? Well, suffice it to say that he has a personal axe to grind with the Pakistani state and that his so-called Pakistan Security Research Unit at Bradford is more on the net than on the ground and many questioned have been raised about the source of its funding, especially for those in the know who are aware of its origins!

As for Lamb’s assertion that last August a 6-man suicide team was arrested in Sargodha but there is some confusion as to whether this was the same group that included the 5 US citizens of Pakistani origin who were arrested much earlier than when the story of their arrest broke in the Pakistani media. Lamb cites the latter case as an additional one and then refers to the map of Chashma that they had. Now what she fails to mention, although as a journalist on Pakistan she should have known, is the fact that the reason the Pakistani authorities have refused to deport these 5 to the US is because they are suspected of working for the CIA – either to infiltrate the militants or to actually gather information on Chashma which the US has desperately been seeking out in connection with info regarding our nukes – and have still not gained much access on this count.

Five: Lamb then in a show of either feigned or genuine ignorance refers to the suicide attack at the gate of the Naval Housing Complex in E-8 as an attack on the “naval command centre.” The latter is not in sector-E-8 at all, which is only a naval residential colony!

Six: She sees the attack on GHQ also as a targeting specifically of our nukes although this would be like declaring that the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon was specifically to target US nukes! So 9/11 made US nukes and their command and control insecure and unsafe by this logic!

Seven: Then a really old issue is raised again – that of the scientist Bashir Mahmood, who was arrested in October 2001, after he had retired from being a power plant engineer in the nuclear power sector, for having met Osama Bin Laden and because he had set up a Muslim charity. Again what Lamb conveniently refuses to mention is that the man had been interrogated and the case had been closed. Certainly he had met OBL but so many CIA people had also been meeting OBL when they thought he could be set up to work for them, before 9/11 of course.

All in all, clearly this story has been planted and Lamb used, once again to put forward lies and factual distortions to drum up a scare about Pakistan’s nuclear assets. Is it also a mere coincidence that the story has come in the wake of the growing differences between the Pakistani civil and military leadership with the US administration? It is unfortunate that a paper like The Sunday Times failed to verify the contents of the story first.

Written by rohitkumarsviews

January 18, 2010 at 11:17 am

Terrorism Starts in Afghanistan; Ends Up in Pakistan

leave a comment »

IN a briefing to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security on Tuesday, the Director General ISI Ahmad Shuja Pash pointed out that Afghan soil is being used for terrorist activities in Pakistan, adding that peace cannot be established in the country unless infiltration from Afghan border is stopped.

In a related development, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting in Abu Dhabi that the war against Taliban should be fought within Afghanistan and there should be no spill over into Pakistan.

Though it is an open secret that the Afghan soil is being used for terrorist activities in Pakistan yet the statement of General Pasha carries more substance and weight as it comes from a person who has the authority and necessary knowledge to speak on the subject. Ground realities also substantiate his assertions because the way the militants are resisting the full might of the Pakistan armed forces for about a year makes it abundantly clear that they have full foreign backing.

Otherwise, it was next to impossible for a handful of elements to put up organized resistance without financial support, training and supply of arms and ammunition.

Pakistan has been complaining since long that Indians were using Afghan territory for harbouring terrorism in FATA and Balochistan but the occupation forces in Afghanistan are not taking these complaints seriously. Again, Pakistan has also been telling the US and NATO forces that their surge in Afghanistan would inevitably lead to pressure on Pakistan as militants would make their way to this side of the border but this concern too has fallen on deaf ears.

This leads one to believe that all this is happening with the connivance of the occupation forces in Afghanistan and the apparent objective is to soften the country. How is it possible that those who see so-called training camps in Muridke are oblivious of what is happening right under their nose?

Written by rohitkumarsviews

January 15, 2010 at 7:27 am