Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pakistan-bashing is not without a reason....

The current wave of Pakistan-bashing is not without a reason. There are plans to discredit Pakistan and create enabling environments for India to take over Afghanistan after the US departure. Pakistan has been used beyond its capacity and its services are no more required by the US. 

The infamous September 13 attack on the Ring of Steel in Kabul is no different from the previous attacks but, understandably, it has brought tremors in international relations. As anticipated by some cynics, the alliance of 10 years forged to fight terrorism is falling apart, with allies talking tough to each other, pointing fingers and frothing at the mouth.  They are practically at each other’s throats. This attack and its after-shocks in the form of bad-mouthing by the allies, has brought home a very clear message to the world; many thousand lives were lost for nothing and precious years feeding whole one generation on terror-fear have been wasted. And one trillion dollars of US taxpayers’ hard-income have gone down the drain. Today the Taliban, which the world wanted destroyed, are more formidable than 2011. They will gain further strength from the present stand-off between the US and Pakistan. Al Qaeda sitting on the fence is jubilant as it never expected to realize the desired results so easily. The US obliged al Qaeda by blindly walking into mouse trap called Afghanistan.

The attack which was carried out with operational excellence paralyzing US security apparatus in Afghanistan for 20 hours carries two distinct stamps; it was a Taliban job executed by a few fighters and it could not have been carried out so brilliantly without inside help from the US Embassy. Instead of admitting security and intelligence failure, the US has needlessly started looking for a scapegoat. A senior U.S. official -- Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- has publicly fingered the Haqqani network as a tool of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency. What's surprising is that this is particularly newsworthy: ISI's contacts with the Haqqanis, like so many other intelligence outfits, have been an open secret for years. What's different, of course, is that the latest Haqqani attack was not on American forces deployed in Afghanistan but on the U.S. embassy in Kabul -- and that the U.S. government possesses unambiguous evidence of official Pakistani complicity in last week's assault.

But the ISI has always been in the limelight or was being seen in bad light by the media. For every act of secession or violence in remote Indian States called Seven Sisters or the Red Corridor or Jammu & Kashmir, finger was invariably pointed in ISI direction. There was a time of sustained campaign against ISI that it was felt that ISI could even be behind earthquakes, epidemics, poverty, caste system injustices and even broken marriages in India. If ISI is helping Afghans fight USSR, it was an excellent force, if it was working to protect Pakistan and its security interests; it is branded as a rogue agency.

The current campaign against ISI has nothing to do with its alleged role in Taliban attack on Kabul and even the US knows that. It is basically a war between ISI and RAW of India for their respective country’s post-US influence in Afghanistan in which the US is siding with RAW when it no longer needs ISI in its WoT. Such wars between the two agencies are not a new phenomenon.

According to Council on Foreign Relations, RAW set up two covert groups of its own in mid-80s, Counter Intelligence Team-X (CIT-X) and Counter Intelligence Team-J (CIT-J), the first targeting Pakistan in general and the second directed at Khalistani groups. The two groups were responsible for carrying out terrorist operations inside Pakistan . Indian journalist and associate editor of Frontline magazine, Praveen Swami, writes that a "low-grade but steady campaign of bombings in major Pakistani cities, notably Karachi and Lahore" was carried out.

According to Council on Foreign Relations, RAW is also accused of supporting Sindhi nationalists demanding a separate state, as well as Siraikis calling for a partition of Pakistan's Punjab to create a separate Siraiki state. India denies these charges. However, experts point out that India has supported insurgents in Pakistan's Balochistan, as well as anti-Pakistan forces in Afghanistan. But some experts say India no longer does this. Pakistan is suspicious of India's influence in Afghanistan, which it views as a threat to its own interests in the region. Experts say although it is very likely that India has active intelligence gathering in Afghanistan, it is difficult to say whether it is also involved in covert operations.

As against allegations that ISI has contacts with Haqqani Network fighting NATO forces in Afghanistan, RAW has contacts with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fighting Pakistani state in Swat, South Waziristan and elsewhere in the tribal region. RAW is many steps ahead of ISI in this respect. It is fanning and fuelling insurgency in Balochistan and FATA and is funding and actually equipping TTP and Baloch insurgents. Some target-killers arrested in recent Karachi unrest confessed to have received training from RAW. No wonder, some call Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan as Tehreek-e-RAWliban Pakistan.

Some pundits are worried that Haqqani network, based in North Waziristan, has never attacked an official target in Pakistan - further evidence of its collusive relationship with that country's security services. When their struggle is focused on fighting foreign occupation forces and their collaborators including India, why should these pundits insist the network attack Pakistan which has no role in Kabul? By this flawed logic, TTP fighting Pakistan and having killed 35000 civilians and 3000 security personnel provide evidence of its collusive relationship with RAW and CIA. And mind you, this fight is taking place right inside Pakistan. By all definitions, TTP and Baloch insurgency is proxy war being fought by RAW inside Pakistan. Major objectives of this proxy war are keeping Pakistan away from Afghanistan to give India decisive role in Kabul, keeping China away from Gwadar-China energy corridor and depriving Pakistan from natural resources of Afghanistan.

After the decision of drawdown from Afghanistan, the U.S. calculus has changed. It will now no longer need Pakistan. It will certainly need India to inherit Afghanistan from the NATO forces to keep India-supported ethnic minority in power. This explains why a sustained campaign was launched some months ago to defame and discredit Pakistan’s security establishment which, in their eyes, is major hurdle against India’s foothold in Kabul.  

According to Foreign Policy, Pakistan is no ally when it comes to the endgame in Afghanistan -- and that plays the role of spoiler in America's relationship with the most potentially important rising power of the 21st: century: India. These developments raise the ugly but necessary question of what a completely different - and adversarial -- U.S. approach to Pakistan would look like, one that dispenses of the underlying logic that the countries are allies at all.

The approach bares the US designs of delivering Kabul to India. The divorce papers are ready, which apparently were written quite a long ago. According to the aforementioned article published by Foreign Policy, such an approach would
  1.  Require the United States not to leave Afghanistan to Pakistan's designs but to keep a significant deployment of U.S. troops in place to deter and defeat Islamabad's efforts to renew the sphere of influence it enjoyed there when its Taliban allies were in power.
  2. Call for the CIA to cease cooperating with ISI, which it continues to rely on for access to the region, on the grounds that our fundamental goals are incompatible.
  3. Suggest doubling down on US relationship with India, including supporting a greater Indian strategic, political, and economic presence in Afghanistan which Americans think, would be welcomed by most Afghans as a stabilizing force in a troubled country.
  4. Require the US to convince Beijing not to fill the vacuum left by the withdrawal of American patronage towards Pakistan; China would need to pursue approaches that complement American’s rather than continuing to provide unqualified support to its “revisionist, increasingly radicalized ally”.
This approach would also require American leaders to take a hard look at their own history in the region. The United States walked away from Afghanistan following the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 and spent the 1990s sanctioning Pakistan, helping to spawn the anti-Americanism that pervades the officer corps and broader public today.

The article wonders if the Americans are prepared to walk away and sanction Pakistan again, and if they do, are they prepared to deal with the consequences? Or have the current terms of the relationship so manifestly failed that they have no choice?


  1. Another Head in the sand article.

    Why would India want to destabilize Pakistan? It has everything to gain from a stable, peaceful Pakistan, with its military put in its barracks, and Islamists in the mosque.

    This mullah's attempt is typical Pakistani establishment paranoia!

  2. There is nothing new in this article. The US has been looking for a minimal way to exit this mess. It does not seem to have worked. The cost has come with US lives. Playing "helpful" has not worked. Providing F16s and non-NATO ally status has not worked.

    The US is now tired of this charade. Frankly, even China would be very worried about a stable Pakistan spreading Islam in Xinkiang.

    India is watching with concern. Pakistan is likely to breakup. What next for India? A destabilized set of Jihadi states? If it does not breakup - a crazy, extremist country spreading terrorism? There does not seem to be any good endgame for Pakistan at this point. I expect to see the violence increasing over the next 5 years - things have spun out of control.

    From an American perspective, we have nothing to recommend engagement with Pakistan. We would like it to stay out of Afghanistan and stop providing safe harbor to the terrorists. Eventually if this does not happen and American lives keep getting lost, America and the West will take steps.

  3. http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7383599n

  4. And according to you,the ISI is just a organization working towards Green peace and towards the promotion of health and education in the down trodden parts of Africa. Everyone one else is evil.. now if India, Afghanistan, US, Local insurgents, not to mention the minorities are NOT happy and do not trust Pakistan.. surely something is wrong with Pakistan, its Army, its leaders. Awaam is constantly fed misinformation about Pakistans innocence and the rest of the worlds injustice.. so now its payback time.