Tag Archives: Pakistan

Bomb The Right Guys, Bomb The Wrong Guys

The madness that is Afghanistan and Pakistan consists of ongoing bombings and shootings in which identifying the right or wrong guys who are the object of the attack present difficulties for anyone involved in combat. The Pakistan Chief of Staff, General Kayani, apologized to local residents of the Kokikhel tribe for the accidental bombing which resulted in the deaths of over 60 people. Ironically, this tribe was actively engaged in fighting the Taliban so assaulting them is hardly the best way to defeat the enemy. Even more ironic is that many members of this tribe are currently serving in the Pakistan military.

This area of Pakistan is barely under the control of government forces and there is dependence on tribes to maintain law and order. Perhaps, the first order of the day is don’t shoot the good guys!

India Suggests Aid Of Mediator-Shock In Pakistan!

Sashi Tharoor, minister of state for foreign affairs in India suggested that Saudi Arabia be invited to assist in talks between his nation and Pakistan. Although he never employed the words, “mediator” or “mediation” the Indian official is being blasted for daring to suggest India and Pakistan can not sit down at a table and reach some compromise agreement. Of course, they have not been able to do this in half a century, but, who knows, this year will be different? Actually, what he said was: “We feel that Saudi Arabia has along and close relationship with Pakistan that makes Saudi Arabia even more a valuable interlocutor for, when we tell them about our experience, Saudi Arabia listens as somebody who is not in any way an enemy of Pakistan, but a friend of Pakistan…”

What is the problem with having a neutral nation sit in on peace talks, particularly when it has good relations with both parties? How does that damage any peace process?

Blast Of Fresh Air Between India And Pakistan

All too frequently just when India and Pakistan are ready to enter into negotiations concerning important issues that separate the two nations a terrorist group sets off a bomb and defuses opportunities for peaceful discussions. A few days ago Muslim militants set off a bomb at a restaurant which killed and wounded over a dozen people, but the government of India has decided to ignore the warning and proceed with scheduled talks. Normally, such a decision would not occur without extensive legislature debate, but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided to go ahead and work for peace rather than allow militants to decide the agenda of any negotiation between India and Pakistan.

Perhaps, nothing significant will emerge from these discussions, but a precedent has been established that insurgents don’t decide when the two nations have negotiations. The reality is that these terrorists will attack India regardless of any such talks so why not call the shots rather than allowing them to set the tone of what happens between two great nations.

India Offers Talk, Pakistan Offers Toughness

The government of India has offered to engage in discussions with Pakistan over issues that currently create antagonism between the nations. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said his nation was more than ready to have discussions and his nation would present their own ideas as well as listen to those of India. Undoubtedly, they will discuss the ever present issue of Kashmir, water rights and how both can confront terrorism. But, the Pakistani leader made clear his nation would not bow down to the Indian agenda. There are reports both foreign ministers have agreed on an agenda for meetings as well as dates, but these reports are news to Qureshi.

The bottom line is that over 500,000 Pakistan troops face east toward India while about 50,000 face west toward tribal areas where there are terror groups. Until Pakistan and India resolve their conflicts in such a manner as to free up Pakistan forces to head west and deal with the problem that Pakistan faces today, not tomorrow.

Madness Of Aiding Pakistan Armed Forces!

A little known program in northwest Pakistan which is designed to allow American soldiers to train members of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps backfired when al-Qaeda or Taliban forces mined a road and when a convoy of American and Pakistan military drove on it, the result was an encounter with an IED that killed three Americans and leveled a near by girls school. As a result three Pakistan girls are dead, a dozen wounded, and the new Koto High School for girls which was built with US humanitarian aid, is now reduced to rubble. So, what is the message of this assault? Americans are being blamed by local Pakistanis for coming into their area and causing militants to bomb and destroy.

There will be no “victory” for Americans or Pakistanis until the United States is out of the military picture and local people are in charge of their own defense. “Americans Go Home” is the best advice one can give.

Pakistan Army In Slow Motion

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited Pakistan in order to discuss military operations with Pakistan army leaders. He was informed by General Athar Abbas that his army had to get ready for another offense and it would require at least six months before the soldiers get rolling again into battle. However, he did reassure Gates and the media, “we are not talking years,” just a few months. Unless this writer is mistaken, the theory behind the American surge in Afghanistan was predicated on the assumption that as American and NATO forces pushed in Afghanistan, the Pakistan army would exert pressure in order to prevent Taliban and al-Qaeda forces from fleeing to safety across the border. Gates told the media, “we have to do things in a way that is tolerable to them and at a pace they can accommodate.

Oh well, the best laid plans of men and mice can go astray. Are we to assume American soldiers will initiate a surge even though the border to Pakistan is open to the Taliban?

Another Day, Another Suicide Raid In Kabul

The president of the United States insists more troops in Afghanistan will ensure the decline of terrorism in that country. Unfortunately, Barack Obama has not consulted leaders of the Taliban and secured their cooperation in Operation Let’s End Terrorism in Afghanistan. The capital city of Kabul is filled with hundreds of members of the security force, but on Monday an estimated seven or twenty Taliban penetrated defenses and blew themselves up and threw hand grenades in a shopping complex. Explosions began when a Talliban blew himself up near the presidential palace and shortly after, other gun men began firing at shoppers while snipers atop buildings blasted away at the Serena Hotel at which foreigners live.

Afghan officials claim the attacks were carried out by the Taliban, but “some of the bombers were not Afghans.” This suggests the Pakistan intelligent service, the ISI, may have organized the suicide attacks. But, then again, Pakistan is fighting Taliban militants inside their own country. What is most probably needed at the moment is the issuance of a scoring card that explains who is fighting who and who is on which side and who the hell actually cares about the people of Afghanistan.

President Obama, are you certain the surge is or will work?

Trials And Tribulations With Pakistan “Ally”

A central issue in the so-called “war against terrorism” in southeast Asia is a wide difference of opinion between Pakistan military leaders and the American government. To Americans, the need is to focus on destroying Taliban and al-Qaeda forces which are congregated inside Afghanistan or on border regions with Pakistan. To Pakistan military leaders, the real battle is towards the east and the threat of India. Pakistan military leaders refuse to open new campaigns against the Taliban on ground their forces are stretched too thin and simply can not deal with another offensive. General Syed Azmat told the media the Pakistan army must concentrate the vast majority of its forces on the eastern front to deal with any potential invasion from India.

He comments also reflected irritation on the part of Pakistan officers over what they allege is lack of respect for their efforts at fighting the Taliban. “We’re tired of this mistrust and this questioning of our commitment and our sincerity.” According to terrorism expert, Brian Williams, “the Pakistanis don’t see th Afghan Taliban and allied Haqqani network as a clear and present danger.”

Step one in any war against terrorism in southeast Asia is working with India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir crisis and end mutual fears of invasion.

Which Way Pakistan Youth?

A recent report commissioned by the British Council reveals an alarming possibility in the coming decades as Pakistan witnesses its population increase by about 85 million. The result will be a society in which millions of young people lack the basis of a modern education and have scant knowledge of the economic factors in a modern society. Millions will have been educated in a Madrassa school which emphasizes religion over such basic concepts as science, math, history or a broad knowledge of literature and the world around them. According to David Steven who helped write the report, “Pakistan is at a crossroads. It can harness the energy of that generation, and collect a demographic dividend. But if they fail to get job s and are poorly educated, it faces a demographic disaster.” The report discovered that only one third of young people believe in the concept of a democratic society, one third supports a society based on Sharia law, and nearly 10% believe a dictatorship is OK.

Fasi Aka, a radio DJ who helped to launch the report, put it this way; “They don’t believe in anything firmly. Maybe they want sharia law, maybe they want democracy. It’s all over the place. But despite this there’s a lot of patriotism. So, it’s not a lost cause.” The real danger is creating a huge underclass of jobless young men and women willing to listen to any demagogue who can blame the rest of the world for the nation’s problems or urge violence as a solution.

Taliban Dig In But Can They Be Dislodged?

The Pakistan army is advancing in South Waziristan as the Taliban digs in for a long, tough fight in order to determine who will control the mountainous area. As Pakistan soldiers drive back Taliban forces they are being attacked themselves as their enemy resorts to suicide bombers that indiscriminately blow themselves up in marketplaces, army headquarters, schools and on roads. Over 170 Pakistani civilians and soldiers have died in these bombings. UN sources indicate over 100,000 civilians have fled the region, but the fight goes on. Pakistan forces are under international pressure to dislodge the Taliban in order to demonstrate their ability to win on the ground against this tenacious enemy.

Civilians report they are being offered two choices by the Taliban– join us and fight the army or leave the town and region. They also report Taliban forces are digging deep entrenchments in the mountains even as Pakistan helicopters and bombers blast away.

Reporters are blocked from accompanying the Pakistan army. We will not soon know if this is a successful assault.