US-NATO parting kicks to people of Afghanistan

May 10, 2010

By Asif Haroon Raja

Soon after coming to power, Obama approved sending additional 21000 troops to Afghanistan in March 2009. Idea was to use maximum combat power to reverse the rising power of Taliban who had gained influence over nearly 80% of Afghan territory.

Failing to make any progress against resistance forces in Helmand and suffering heaviest casualties as well as reverses such as in Nuristan province, another troop surge of 30000 was approved by Obama by the close of the year in response to personal request from Gen McChrystal. At the same time withdrawal date was also announced.

Purpose behind the second troop surge is to deliver parting kicks to people of Afghanistan before departure. The US wants to win important battles of Helmand and Kandahar which in their assessment would break the back of resistance forces. Kandahar in their view is the heartland of Taliban and its fall will render them weak. It will then become easier for the US to negotiate with the Taliban from a position of strength and force a political solution of its choice.

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Superficial efforts of USA to defuse Indo-Pakistan antagonism

February 4, 2010

By Asif Haroon Raja

Indo-Pakistan relations have remained strained since the inception of two states in August 1947. Some of the reasons of undying animosity are the Hindu-British nexus during the British rule in India which persecuted the Indian Muslims and played a perverse role while dividing India. Pakistan was loaded with innumerable complex problems so as to extinguish its life during infancy.

Kashmir was annexed forcibly by Indian forces in 1948 and the dispute has not been resolved to this date. Throughout 62 years of its history, Pakistan has remained the victim of Indian machinations. Even after truncating it in 1971, it continued with its expansionist and hegemonic policies to subdue Pakistan and to extract peace on unequal terms. Indian political leaders have been winning elections by castigating Pakistan and beating war drums. Pakistan being small in size and militarily weak has all along endeavored to normalize relations with India but its efforts were either rudely spurned or subjected to deceit.

Fixated by its ardent desire to be accepted as a regional power, it has been incessantly building up its military muscles and has employed covert means to keep Pakistan politically destabilized and economically weak. Pakistan’s refusal to accept its hegemony has kept Indian leaders on a war path. It considers Pakistan to be the sole stumbling block in its path to attain regional ascendancy and big power status. Nuclearisation of Pakistan has frustrated its evil designs since it can no more bully or blackmail Pakistan by threatening to wage a war. It has therefore once again resorted to covert operations coupled with propaganda warfare at a massive scale to achieve its objectives. This time it has aligned itself with USA, Britain, Israel and Afghanistan and is using Afghan soil to launch clandestine operations in Balochistan, FATA and NWFP including Swat. Since India has already made deep inroads in Sindh, it is therefore concentrating on other regions.

In pursuant of their common objectives, foreign powers have been extending a helping hand to India for the last eight years despite the fact that Pakistan has been nominated as front line state to fight US war on terror and has rendered maximum sacrifices. During this testing period in which Pakistan suffered immensely at the hands of so-called friends, the two antagonists came close to war twice.

Having inflamed greater part of Pakistan through sabotage and subversion, India has the brashness to cry out that it is victim of Pakistan sponsored terrorism. Hypocrisy of India can be judged from its habit of blaming Pakistan for the crimes it commits against Pakistan. Any act of terror, real or fabricated, taking place in India is promptly pasted on Pakistan without even carrying out preliminary investigations. It bellows and bawls loudly to gain sympathies of the world and to portray Pakistan as the culprit. It had done so when it cooked up a terrorist attack on Indian Parliament in December 2001 and termed it as another 9/11. Media hype was created and every Indian bayed for blood of Pakistan. Biggest ever troop mobilization was carried out and its forces stood in eye ball to eye ball contact for ten months. Its subsequent in house inquiry could not find any clue to substantiate its allegations blurted out at the spur of the moment but by then the damage had been done.

India behaved in similar audacious and babyish fashion when Mumbai incident occurred. Indian leaders removed the mask of friendship, called off composite dialogue in a huff and reverted to their obdurate and cantankerous posture. They are duplicitous, unprincipled and shameless. While falsely blaming Pakistan of terrorism without evidence, they haven’t felt even pinch of embarrassment after Pakistan unearthed heavy involvement of RAW in all its troubled regions. Likewise, India and its partners remain mum on wide scale terrorism going on within India.

Indo-Pakistan antagonism did not cause any anxiety to USA as long as US-Nato forces were keeping Afghan security situation within manageable limits and India was conducting subversion against Pakistan right under its nose. Once security conditions in Afghanistan deteriorated and Afghan Taliban gained an upper edge over occupation forces from 2008 onwards, US leaders started preaching peace between India and Pakistan. They are vainly trying to convince Pakistan that extremist forces and not India pose an existential threat. Pakistan is being continually pressed to shift bulk of its forces from eastern border towards western border to defeat terrorists and to forget about Indian threat. While giving verbal assurances, the US has not taken any practical steps to allay fears of Pakistanis nor has India brought any change in its attitude. US efforts are at best superficial and lack sincerity of purpose.

India at the cost of 70% poverty stricken people is spending large chunk of its budget on its military to enlarge and modernize its forces. Indian Army has 34 combat divisions, three armored divisions, seven independent armored brigades, five RAPID divisions, two airborne brigades, two artillery divisions, independent artillery brigades, over 200 nuclear bombs and wide variety of ballistic missiles. Besides, India has formidable air force and navy. Out of thirteen Corps, seven Indian Corps are poised against Pakistan. India refuses to shift its bias of military force away from its western border on the silly plea that it is vulnerable to terrorist threat from Pakistan. It has now deceptively expressed its readiness to shift some forces from occupied Kashmir under fond hope that it would impel Pakistan Army to shift its centre of attention towards FATA. Gen Deepak Kapoor is eagerly awaiting such a move so that his forces could exploit the imbalance at an opportune time.

India has become largest nest of terrorism where Hindu terrorists and insurgents are on a rampage. In all terrorist acts taking place from 2006 to 2008, in which 40-60% victims were Indian Muslims, Pakistan was blamed but it transpired later that Hindu terrorist groups duly patronized by RAW and Indian Army were responsible. Apart from Hindu terror, dozens of separatist and insurgent movements are raging in various parts of India and shaking the very foundations of Indian Union. All its nuclear and missile sites are located within the Red Corridor in eastern India where uncontrollable Maoist movement is reigning supreme. Indian Army is deeply involved in criminal activities including racism, arms and nuclear fissile material smuggling. These ground realities do not vex US and western leaders. Instead of declaring India as hub centre of terrorism and most dangerous country in the world, biased western leaders have given these titles to Pakistan and are hounding it under the mantra of do more. Pakistan has been taken for granted and made into a sacrificial lamb to cover up Indian subversive activities and to hide failures of US military in Afghanistan.

Successes achieved by Pakistan Army in Waziristan as opposed to dismal performance of US-Nato forces in Afghanistan have flummoxed our detractors. To cloud the spectacular achievements, US leaders have come out with absurd allegations that Osama led Al-Qaeda is based in FATA since 2002 and Mullah Omar led Afghan Shura is in Quetta. To overcome discomfiture of Helmand operation fiasco, frustrated Gordon Brown stated that Pakistan should highlight its military successes modestly. He forgets the exultations and megalomaniac behavior of Bush and Blair after occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. We have also not forgotten their exclamation ‘we’ve got em’ after Saddam was nabbed. Reality is that Pak Army is playing its part commendably without blowing trumpets. It is now the actors on other side of Durand Line who have to do a lot more. If Obama sincerely wants to soothe Indo-Pakistan antagonism and convert Pak-American relations into meaningful friendship, he and his cronies should come out of superficial mode, stop meddling into Pakistan affairs and earnestly work toward finding an amicable solution to Kashmir dispute.

- Asian Tribune -


THE AMERICAN DECEPTION IN AFGHANISTAN

December 14, 2009

PACKED UP AND TOOK THEIR SHOW “ON THE ROAD”

“AL QAEDA HAS LEFT THE BUILDING”

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

Our intelligence estimates that Al Qaeda is no longer a threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are gone. There are no terrorists for the Taliban to protect, no threat to America from the region and no reason for us to be fighting. It is all a lie, we know it is a lie and we admit it is a lie. Tuesday, Secretary of State Clinton told Congress how money the US pays the Taliban to protect our supply lines is one of their major sources of funding:

“You know, when we are so dependent upon long supply lines … where everything has to be imported … much of the corruption is fueled by the money that has poured into that country over the last eight years. You offload a ship in Karachi, muffins for our soldiers’ breakfast or anti-IED equipment — gets to where we’re headed, it goes through a lot of hands….one of the major sources of funding for the Taliban is the protection money.”

The “surge” and the massive supply increase to support it can only make this worse, give more funding to the Taliban, help it grow, recruit and spread. More than that, we were never in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, we were there to stop Al Qaeda and to play “Where’s Waldo” with Osama bin Laden.

Former CIA and Defense analyst, Dr. Philip Giraldi sums up the situation best:

“Monday’s revelation from Defense Secretary Robert Gates that “I think it has been years” since the US government has had any solid information about Osama bin Laden. Many analysts both inside and outside of the government have become convinced that Osama bin Laden is dead and has been so for quite some time.

They base this perception on the same non-evidence that Gates cites, i.e. that there has been no solid information on bin Laden or his whereabouts since late 2001. It is widely believed that videos and recordings featuring his image and voice could well be clever composites.

Even the redoubtable General Stanley McChrystal, relying on the paucity of al-Qaeda sightings and the intelligence void, has estimated that there are likely fewer than 100 al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Pakistani intelligence sources, who are almost certainly better informed than their American counterparts, believe that there is only a tiny al-Qaeda presence inside their own country

If bin Laden is dead and al-Qaeda is shadow of what it once was then the whole justification for maintaining 100,000 soldiers and a nearly equal number of contractors in Afghanistan at ruinous expense becomes a fiction.

Most intelligence analysts who follow terrorism issues seriously would admit that the terrorism issue has been consistently overhyped and that it is also receding due to concerted action by a number of governments since 2001 combined with diminishing appeal among young Muslims.

So Secretary Gates has inadvertently let the cat out of the bag even though the mainstream media apparently has not yet figured it out. He has revealed that the war on terror is dead, or at least it should be. But rather than breathe a sigh of relief, rest assured that the word “terrorism” will be trotted out periodically to scare the public and keep the long war going.”

If this analysis, not only by the CIA and Department of Defense, but Pakistani Intelligence is correct, and the observations by Secretary of State Clinton as reported to Congress are also correct, then every aspect of US policy is not only irrational but destructive and even delusional.

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With the only possible scenario resulting from the “surge” to be strengthening the Taliban and simultaneously creating a 20 year war, as stated by President Karzai, with an 18 month “exit timetable” as stated by President Obama, it is obvious that an agenda neither tied to regional stabilization or defeat of terrorist forces is at the heart of US policymaking.

An analysis of our “nation building” projects under the USAID has proven efforts to have been, not only flawed and self defeating but, in fact, hopeless. An article in the Washington Post states:

In hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Clinton said that there has been a 10-month investigation of what USAID was doing on the ground in Afghanistan, and that “we didn’t particularly come away impressed.” Many of the 300 civilians there were on six-month rotations and did not have well-defined missions, and many spent time out of the country, she said. More important, Clinton added, “most of our civilian aid going into Afghanistan had been contracted out without adequate oversight or accountability.”

With bin Laden long dead, Al Qaeda no longer in the region and the Taliban dependent on the US presence for recruiting and US funding for operations and funds earmarked for “nation building” being misused and falling into the hands of, not only corrupt officials but the Taliban itself, the rationale for, not only our proposed “surge” but our continued presence in the region is in question.

Nearly all terrorism experts agree that any effort to stem the growth of current threats requires a refocus on North Africa, not Afghanistan or Pakistan. Our failure to adequately address real threats based on slavish adherence to failed policy, misinformation and a possible agenda involving a long term plan to support regional destabilization of, not only Iran but Pakistan as well, is believed by many to be more at the root of American interests in the region.

Baluchistan, a separatist region of Pakistan, now heavily involved in the Afghan insurgency along with attacks into Iran lies directly in the path of America’s proposed military operations.

This region, rich in natural gas, coal, copper, uranium and believed to contain massive oil reserves, was originally intended to receive its independence in 1947. Since that time, numerous separatist groups, aided by the CIA, MI-6, the RAW (India’s “CIA”) and, perhaps even the Mossad, have been active there.

Pakistani military analyst, General Asif Haroon Raja believes the US is planning cross border incursions intended to put this region of Pakistan located along the Iranian border under American domination

.

General Raja has indicated that many of the Predator drone attacks launched by US forces operating from airfields in this region are intended to inflame increased insurgency and are not targeted at either Taliban or terrorist groups.

“Areas in Waziristan which are presently quiet and neutral are being provoked through drone attacks to make them restive. The US is pressing Pakistan to shift more troops from its eastern border and to start operations in North and South Waziristan where it alleges most insurgents have fled.

It is trying to create conditions wherein Pakistan Army is compelled to fight the combined force of Maulvi Nazir, Hakimullah Mehsud and Gul Bahadur, thus creating a united front would ease up pressure on Hakimullah led TTP, which is in disarray, a disaster for both Pakistan and the US.

The US also wants the Pakistani Army in Baluchistan to shift its focus from Baluch held areas where RAW-CIA-MI-6 backed separatist movement is raging and to concentrate towards peaceful Pashtun areas including Quetta where it suspects Afghan Shura (Tribal council) is hiding.

The US-NATO forces after their failed operation in Helmand are expected to launch another operation in that province once additional US troops arrive so as to force the militants to flee to neighbouring Pashtun belt of Baluchistan and make it volatile.”

The gist of this is that the US and “friends” are believed to have designs on this area that can only be realized by gutting Pakistan. Credible sources within Pakistan claim that Blackwater, along with other groups have been tied to terrorist operations against military, intelligence and civilian targets inside Pakistan as part of an operation meant to destabilize Pakistan. Major groups within, not only the military and intelligence community but the current civilian government who normally attribute the daily terrorist acts occurring across Pakistan to India are now reassessing their positions.

One thing is clear. The Bush era policies that appear to be continued, to some degree by the Obama administration, not only under the guise of counter-terrorism but purported to support regional stability and promotion of democracy are now exposed for what they are, serving an agenda of no clear advantage to America or her allies. Thus, we await the real players to show their faces.

Veterans Today Senior Editor Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and regular contributor on political and social issues.


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