Defining “Strategic Depth”

By Kamran Shafi

From Daily Dawn, Published 19th January, 2010



And how does it help us? We are engaged in the Great Game in Afghanistan, we are told, because ‘strategic depth’ is vital for Pakistan due to the fact that our country is very narrow at its middle and could well be cut into half by an Indian attack in force.

Strategic depth, we are further informed, will give respite to our armed forces which could withdraw into Afghanistan to then regroup and mount counter-attacks on Indian forces in Pakistan. I ask you!

I ask you for several reasons. Let us presume that the Indians are foolish enough to get distracted from educating their people, some of whom go to some of the best centres of learning in the world. Let us assume that they are idiotic enough to opt for war instead of industrialising themselves and meeting their economic growth targets which are among the highest in the world.

Let us imagine that they are cretinous enough to go to war with a nuclear-armed Pakistan and effectively put an immediate and complete end to their multi-million dollar tourism industry. Let us suppose that they lose all sense, all reason, and actually attack Pakistan and cut our country into half.

Will our army pack its bags and escape into Afghanistan? How will it disengage itself from the fighting? What route will it use, through which mountain passes? Will the Peshawar Corps gun its tanks and troop carriers and trucks and towed artillery and head into the Khyber Pass, and on to Jalalabad? Will the Karachi and Quetta Corps do likewise through the Bolan and Khojak passes?

And what happens to the Lahore and Sialkot and Multan and Gujranwala and Bahawalpur and other garrisons? What about the air force? Far more than anything else, what about the by now 180 million people of the country? What ‘strategic depth’ do our Rommels and Guderians talk about, please? What poppycock is this?

More importantly, how can Afghanistan be our ‘strategic depth’ when most Afghans hate our guts, not only the northerners, but even those who call themselves Pakhtuns?

Case in point: the absolute and repeated refusal of even the Taliban government when it was misruling Afghanistan, to accept the Durand Line as the international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, despite the fact that it was a surrogate of Pakistan — propped into power; paid for; and helped militarily, diplomatically and politically by the Pakistani government and its ‘agencies’.

Indeed, it even refused the Commando’s interior minister, the loudmouth Gen Moinuddin Haider when he went to Kabul to ask for the extradition of Pakistani criminals being sheltered by the Taliban. We must remember that the Commando, as chief executive of the country, was pressing the Foreign Office till just a few days before 9/11 to use every effort to have the Taliban regime’ recognised by more countries!

This poppycock of ‘strategic depth’ can only be explained by our great military thinkers and strategists and geniuses: it is not for mortals like yours truly to make sense of any of it. Particularly because this nonsense can only happen after the Americans depart from Afghanistan. And what, pray, is the guarantee that they will leave when they say they will?

Why this subject at this time, you might well ask. Well I have just been reading David Sanger’s The Inheritance in which he meticulously lays out the reasons why he believes the Pakistani “dual policy” towards the Taliban exists.

On page 247 he states that when Michael McConnell, the then chief of US National Intelligence went to Pakistan in late May 2008 (three months after the elections that trounced Musharraf and his King’s Party, mark) he heard Pakistani officers make the case for the Pakistani need for having a friendly government in Kabul after the Americans departed.

When he got back to Washington McConnell “ordered up a full assessment” of the situation. ‘It did not take long … Musharraf’s record of duplicity was well known. While Kayani was a favourite of the White House, he had also been overheard — presumably on telephone intercepts — referring to one of the most brutal of the Taliban leaders, Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, as a “strategic asset”. Interesting, for Kayani’s former boss, Musharraf is quoted thus in Der Spiegel:

Spiegel: “Let us talk about the role of the ISI. A short time ago, US newspapers reported that ISI has systematically supported Taliban groups. Is that true?”

Musharraf: “Intelligence always has access to other networks — this is what Americans did with KGB, this is what ISI also does. You should understand that the army is on board to fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda. I have always been against the Taliban. Don’t try to lecture us about how we should handle this tactically. I will give you an example: Siraj Haqqani …”

Spiegel: “… a powerful Taliban commander who is allegedly secretly allied with the ISI.”

Musharraf: “He is the man who has influence over Baitullah Mehsud, a dangerous terrorist, the fiercest commander in South Waziristan and the murderer of Benazir Bhutto as we know today. Mehsud kidnapped our ambassador in Kabul and our intelligence used Haqqani’s influence to get him released. Now, that does not mean that Haqqani is supported by us. The intelligence service is using certain enemies against other enemies. And it is better to tackle them one by one than making them all enemies.”

Well, there they go again!

But back to ‘strategic depth’. Will the likes of Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, help Pakistan gain this ‘depth’ in Afghanistan? Are we that gone that we need these backward yahoos to save our army?

PS By the way what about our nuclear weapons? Are they not enough to stop the Indians in their tracks? What poppycock is this ‘strategic depth’?!


Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, baluchistan, Great game, India, Islamabad, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Punjab, quetta, state, Taliban, War On Terror

27 responses to “Defining “Strategic Depth”

  1. hoss

    I just sent an email to Kamran Shafi. It appears to me that he is not fully conversant with the strategic depth concept.
    I did not know this article would be on PTH.

  2. Anwar

    I kept pealing the onion and after a good bit of eye strain, I found nothing in the middle.. Kamran does write sense sometimes but this article lacks substance…

  3. PM

    Why is that India is spending big money to build civilization ties to Afghanistan. Poppycock!

  4. AZW


    This can be quite an interesting discussion. Please share your critique of Kamran Shafi’s idea of Strategic Depth here as well. Thanks.

  5. Sadia Hussain

    The article has highlighted some pressing issues. The amount of money that both India and Pakistan have spent over half a century at the cost of development of masses is unimaginable. One must remember the decay of Soviet Union was not due to the Afghan war but due the declining economy and widespread discrimination.

  6. Sameet

    I would request Hoss or some one else here better informed to explain the concept of Strategic Depth in more detail, maybe as a separate article at PTH? I seem to have understood the concept in its military and geopolitical sense in the same way as Kamran Shafi indicated in the article, but then Hoss and a few others imply that the writer is not fully conversant with the concept. If someone can take some time out to explain in more detail, will be wonderful. Thanks.

  7. Sameet

    Better informed than me, I wanted to say in the earlier post of mine…

  8. vajra


    No, you didn’t.

    You wanted to say,”…better informed than I”, in the earlier post of yours.

    Grammar Nazi repartee apart, I too feel that an article by Hoss would be interesting and relevant reading.

    We will probably land up tearing it to little bits, like all his ambitious bits, but we could always do with plenty of confetti. ;-D

  9. Sameet

    No kidding….I did write “better informed than I” but thought that was incorrect and went with “me”…how silly of me. So now not only do I need to be educated about geopolitical issues but also plain ol’ English grammar. Well, one of the reason I peruse PTH is to add to my not so considerable body of knowledge, so well appreciated, and thank you Vajra.

  10. PMA

    I can not believe Kamran Shafi has written this article. He simply does not make any sense. He takes the word ‘depth’ as physical depth. How could he be so ill informed. The doctrine of ‘strategic depth’ was not created by Pakistan. It has been there for centuries. All regional powers exercise that ‘right’ all over the world. America and Cuba, China and Taiwan are just two such examples. The doctrine is very simple: You don’t expose your back to your enemy. Pakistan for its own security must never allow a hostile regime in Afghanistan. That is what ‘strategic depth’ means here.

  11. Mustafa Shaban

    @PMA: Agreed with you completely.

  12. hoss

    Well, I got a response from Mr. Shafi he agreed with me & said that his article was “a firm but sarcastic kick in the butt to start a discussion”.

    I have invited him visit PTH.

    Sorry, I will not discuss Strategic depth on this forum. It is still a state secret. It is so sinister and so stupid that it is not worth discussing in a serious forum.

  13. PMA

    During the 1965 India-Pakistan war Ayub Khan flew to Beijing to meet Chou En Lie in person. After hearing the Khan for his plea for help, the Premier advised him to retreat to his ‘strategic depth’ west of Indus, regroup and wage a guerilla war against the enemy. Ayub understood the answer and returned home to call Johnson for a possibility of a ceasefire.

    Against India Pakistan has no strategic depth in a pure military sense. Neither its ‘west bank’ nor Afghanistan could be one during the outbreak of active hostilities. Military leadership of Pakistan has always understood that. So to say that Pakistan Military considers Afghanistan as its ‘strategic depth’ is simply not true. What is true however that in the time of hostilities ‘west bank’ of Pakistan must not be exposed to the enemy. A friendly or to the minimum a non-hostile regime in Afghanistan guarantees that. Already on its Northwestern front Pakistan is exposed to the enemy in way of Indian military bases in Tajikistan. Indian military bases in Afghanistan will further weaken Pakistan’s national defence.

  14. Samson Simon Sharaf

    It seems Kamran wrote in haste.

  15. AZW


    It seems Kamran Shafi either wrote this article in a remarkable state of unawareness about the concept of “Strategic Depth”; or he wrote it as a masterpiece of “firm but sarcastic kick in the butt” for the power corridors in Pakistan. Kamran does quote a lot of rational arguments detailing the pitfalls for India to forego its economic development in order to attack Pakistan, actual quotes from General Musharraf regarding enemy of enemy being friend, Pakistan’s duplicitous and disastrous Taliban Policy, and US Intelligence Chief assessment in this sarcastic jab of an article. I must say that though his ideas in the article seem simplistic, the article does not come across as an example in sarcastic exercise.

    And now the concept of “strategic depth” is supposedly a state secret, and it is so stupid that it needs not be discussed at PTH?

    Therefore it seems that Kamran failed to understand an extremely stupid concept to start with. Reading Kamran Shafi at Dawn for the past few years, I think he is a lot more capable person than that.

    It is all a bit vague right now from your comments.

    There are variations of Strategic Depth doctrine going on, and military aspect of this doctrine was being floated around as well. We just don’t know that what version was/is popular in our power corridors. Please do post your opinion on this doctrine for all of us here at PTH. One way or another, it seems appropriate that a doctrine that has supposedly got so much airtime in our power corridors, and so called strategic thinkers conversations be totally dismissed here as too stupid to be discussed.

  16. hoss

    I had recommended this article from Dawn.
    I think there was more to discuss in that article than this one.

    We are watching the results of the strategic depth doctrine every day in Pakistan and Afghan geography had very little to do with the actual doctrine. At least not what Mr. Shafi wrote.

    I am not sure it had any connection with the Chinese advise but I do know that it was all about creating an outfit along the lines of FSF that Bhutto created. So Bhutto might have given ideas to the Army. Bhutto created FSF so that he could control the public disorder without the army’s help, Army believed that the FSF was created to counter the Army. I think disbanding the FSF was one few actions that Zia took immediately after take over.

    As someone above wrote there is nothing new in the doctrine, it is a recognized military doctrine. The implementation in Pakistan was sinister and thoughtless.

  17. Aseem

    There can be a simpler reason for all this nonsense:

  18. PMA

    hoss (January 21, 2010 at 1:35 am):

    “As someone above wrote there is nothing new in the doctrine, it is a recognized military doctrine. The implementation in Pakistan was sinister and thoughtless.”

    I agree with you there. The implementation was sinister and thoughtless. In my opinion neutral Afghanistan with no foreign presence would be best for Pakistan, Afghanistan and for the world peace. But the way things are in Afghanistan could you point out a suitable model for Af-Pak to follow.

  19. hoss

    PMA for you. This document would really explain the sinister part of this evil doctrine.

    Below is an excerpt from a long document which barely saw exposure in Pakistani Urdu media. English media only carried some bits and pieces of it. This declaration represented pretty much all moderate political parties in NWFP. The declaration made several recommendations, I will post them later.


    On December 12 and 13, a two days workshop/conference was held in Peshawar with the sole agenda “Terrorism – the ways out”.
    The workshop was attended by the provincial leadership of Awami National Party (ANP), Pukhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party PMAP, Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), Pakistan Peoples Party Sherpao PPP(S), National Party (NP) and Awami party Pakistan (APP). Civil society organizations under the banner of Amn Tehrik, (Peace Movement) businessmen, doctors, lawyers, teachers, students, laborers and intellectuals also participated in the workshop. Representatives from all the agencies of FATA, Swat, Malakand and Buner also participated. A significant number of female participants were also present.

    Causes of the Terrorism:

    The current wave of terrorism emanates from two sources i.e. Al-Qaeda and the Strategic Depth policy of Pakistan. Al-Qaeda is a caricature of Arab Expansionism in the disguise of global Islam. Due to the prevalence of Wahabism in the historical hub of Islam, Arabs have dominated the other Muslims. Due to this Wahabism Al-Qaeda is a specialist of this kind of terrorism including all its ingredient, organizational structure, techniques and strategies.

    The second ingredient contributing to this kind of terrorism is the Strategic Depth policy of Pakistan army. The purpose of this policy is to use Jihadi Culture in order to counter India and protect nuclear weapons: to subjugate Afghanistan and making it fifth province or like Azad Kashmir model. The policy was extended advanced further Afghanistan in 1995 to make Central Asian Muslim states would be our state “clients.”

    The Strategic Depth policy of Pakistan army has a complete background. The ideology of nationhood on the basis of religion served its foundation. Cantonments were labeled with the slogans of Jihad Fi Sabel-e-La (Jihad in the name of Allah). Big crossing and turn- abouts in cities were furnished with tanks, fighter planes and replica of the Chaghai hills to make a war-like environment. Instead of a welfare state Pakistan was made a security state. The Objective Resolution (1949) gave birth to Mullah-Military Alliance. The same resolution was included, in letter and spirit, in the constitution by General Zia ul Haq. As a result of religious background, war-like environment, security state and Mullah-Military-Alliance, the first terrorist organizations in the names of Al-Shams and Al-Badar were launched in Bengal. The defeat in Bengal should have been an eye-opener for the establishment and should have signaled end of the military-Jihadist nexus but unfortunately the same policy was practiced in Kashmir, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Terrorist organizations like Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkatul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayeeba and Jash-e-Muhamamd were installed in Kashmir. In Paksitan Sibah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangwi and in FATA Lashkar-e-Islam, Ansar-ul-Islam, Amarbil-Maroof, Tahreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi and Tahreek-e-Taliban have been operational. All these organizations were termed as strategic assets. In Afghanistan terrorism was started in 1972. First of all Gulbadin Hikmatyar was brought to Peshawar and Colonel Imam was sent to Afghanistan. During that period and till 1978 Gulbadin Hikmat Yar, Professor Mujadidi, Burhan ud Din Rabbani, Pir Gilani and Abdul Rasool Siaf were trained to be the leaders of terrorists’ organizations. When these people conquered Afghanistan they tried to stop their patrons from interfering in Afghanistan. Thus strategic assets did not help their patrons. Even then the Army did not learn any lesson here and another asset with the name of Taliban was formed which tuned out to be more aggressive and destructive for Afghanistan. During this time the marriage between Taliban and Al-Qaeda took place and they became the rulers of Afghanistan.
    Due to the policy of strategic assets the country had already plunged deep into the abyss of terrorism even before 9/11. The riots between Shia and Sunni Sects were a common phenomenon. The suicide bombing in the country was started in 1993. The suicide attack that killed Ahmed Shah Masood was carried out just one day before the 9/11. India and Afghanistan had already been suffering from such attacks. But in due time Pakistan religious extremism spread its tentacles in Pakistan and sectarianism grew. Besides Shia, the Barelvi were also targeted.

    This is a historical fact that the US, China, Arab countries and Europe helped Pakistan in its aggression against Afghanistan. To quote just one example 24 billion petro-dollars were spent to establish seminaries (religious schools). Military aggression was named as Jihad. The whole environment was favorable to nurture the already strong triangular Mullah-Military-Militant nexus.

    During the rule of the afore-mentioned religious and military components of terrorism, terrorists from Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Sin kiang and other parts of the world after 9/11 all these peoples came here to FATA and sums Afghanistan became the hub of international terrorism. No doubt these terrorists are now present in FATA and elsewhere in the country. There is no denying the fact that these terrorists have occupied FATA and some parts of Punjab like central Punjab and Muridke are their strong holds.

    Perception in the minds of towards terrorism by the people of those areas who are under direct control of terrorists and those who are less are not affected:
    FATA and Malakand are the most affected areas due to terrorism. Similarly not a single village or city of Pukhtunkhwa province is spared by terrorists. Although the whole country and even the whole world is suffering from terrorism and the fact that central Punjab or Mureedki is also the hub of terrorists, still it remains a bitter fact that the people of FATA and Pukhtunkhwa are virtually hostage to the terrorists. The perception of terrorism and its causes or their opinions about military operations, the involvement of foreign hands in terrorism and drone attacks are poles apart from the rest of the country.

  20. kumar

    To get Strategic depth in Afganistan, pakistan have to do some thing else other than hypocrisy which he regularly show towards his good hearted neighbour. Read this article
    Opinion poll: 71% Afghans favour India, 2% Pakistan.

    Reflecting tremendous goodwill of its soft power in Afghanistan, India has been voted as the most favoured country, getting 71% votes in an opinion poll there while Pakistan was viewed favourably by a meagre 2% of the people.
    The poll, commissioned by BBC, American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and German Broadcasting company ARD, showed India was way ahead of all other countries, including the US which is leading the war against terror there.

    In the poll conducted between December 11 and 23 last year, Germany polled 59% and stood at second spot. The US came third with 51% polls, Iran followed with 50% votes and Britain got 39%.

    Pakistan managed only two per cent votes, according to the survey conduced by Kabul-based Afghan Centre for Socio-Economic Opinion Research (ACSOR).

    The vote in favour of India is seen as a reflection of the goodwill because of the developmental activities undertaken by it on a large scale in the war-ravaged country.

    India has developmental assistance programmes to the tune of US$ 1.3 billion that covers road construction, healthcare, power sector and across-the-board capacity building in Afghanistan.

    The results echoed the findings of a gallup survey of Afghanistan released in November in which 56% of the people voted for India when asked which group or country played the best role in resolving the situation in Afghanistan.

    In fact, India surpassed even the UN and NATO by a per cent in this regard.

  21. PMA

    hoss (January 21, 2010 at 5:12 am):

    Thanks for posting PESHAWAR DECLARATION of December 12 and 13: “Terrorism – the ways out”. I look forward to reading the recommendations of this conference.

    In my opinion a neutral Afghanistan is the solution. A neutral Afghanistan would reduce the security concerns of all of its neighbors. United Nations could provide such umbrella arrangements. But the way things are going right now with USA-India, Pak-China, Gulf Arabs, Iran and even Turkey all jockeying for advantage point I see no hope for the future of Afghanistan. The problem is international in its dimension and it will take much more than Peshawar Declaration which is reflective more of Pakistan’s domestic politics than its international concerns. Af-Pak problem requires an international peace conference. Is the world community ready for that?

    As always, thanks for taking time and trouble to provide your valuable input. Many regards.

  22. AZW


    Thanks for reproducing the text of Peshawar Declaration. The fact that Urdu press did not bother to carry it speaks volumes of the state of blissful ignorance Pakistan is currently in.

    The events of the past two years are more akin to “rubber meeting the road” for Pakistan. The failed and disastrous marriage of religion with state politics has resulted in a decimated Afghanistan, and a teetering Pakistan. For all those who never stopped looking for Hunood-Yahood conspiracies (or “ Hindu Zionists” as Zaid Hamids of the world will call it), if this is not a wakeup call, then nothing would ever be.

    International politics are never a principled game; and we do look at things more simplistically sitting in our cosy homes and writing on liberal blogs. Yet for Pakistan to support bloody murderous thugs like Hikmatyaars and Haqqanis, and hoping to gain so called strategic depth on the ruins of Kabul remains highly shameful. Especially when we look back and see our army leaders gloated over one band of Islamic thugs taking over Afghanistan one after another, and considered Afghanistan a kind of a de-facto Pakistani province as proxy Pakistan Army soldiers and ISI officials worked side by side with the fanatic Mujahedeen.

    That mere 2% of Afghanis view Pakistan favourably, despite Pakistan hosting millions of Afghanis during their civil war, is not an ungrateful behaviour. Afghanis may be illiterate, but are not stupid to realize that their short-sighted neighbour pursued the very policies that resulted in the widespread misery in Afghanistan, and now in Pakistan itself.

    We had an argument in a thread before where we respectfully disagreed on Pakistan’s obsession with having a suitable government in Afghanistan. It is not the end that should justify the means for Afghanistan; it never had and will most probably never will. However when Afghanis see a Pakistan willing to help democracy grow; when Pakistan stops supporting the rabid Islamists who have nothing to offer except a blanket rule of theirIslam, even when it comes at the cost of a less than friendly Kabul government; only then maybe their deep seated distrust of Pakistan will start abating.

  23. hoss

    More from Peshawar Declaration.

    • The issue of Drone attacks is the most important one. If the people of the war-affected areas are satisfied with any counter militancy strategy, it is the Drone attacks which they support the most. According to the people of Waziristan, Drones have never killed any civilian. Even some people in Waziristan compare Drones with Ababels. (The holy swallows send by God to avenge Abraha, the intended conqueror the Khana Kaaba). A component of the Pakistani media, some retired generals, a few journalists/analysts and pro-Taliban political parties never tire in their baseless propaganda against Drone attacks.

    • The same is true of the discourse of foreign hands in militancy. In FATA there is either military or the afore-mentioned militant organizations. Majority of the local people have migrated to other parts of the country. Those who could not flee are helpless and nothing is in their control. The questions arises which one of the militant organization is not created by the Pakistan army and which one is serving a foreign agenda? If such is the case Pakistan should raise the issue on UN forum or name the organization which is serving a foreign agenda by using the diplomatic channel.

    The possibility remains that there is a terrorist with suicide bombers and he exchanges them for a handsome price. But this is not possible on organizational level and if the chaos persisted for a longer period there is also the possibility that some other countries would jumped into the fray or the UN would bring peace forces to these areas.

    All the participants agreed that the failure of military operations and the ongoing terrorism which is spreading its tentacles very fast are not because of the inability of the Pakistan army but rather it is a deliberate attempt on the part of our establishment to secure its military assets at every cost.

    • The issue of Drone attacks is the most important one. If the people of the war-affected areas are satisfied with any counter militancy strategy, it is the Drone attacks which they support the most. According to the people of Waziristan, Drones have never killed any civilian. Even some people in Waziristan compare Drones with Ababels. (The holy swallows send by God to avenge Abraha, the intended conqueror the Khana Kaaba). A component of the Pakistani media, some retired generals, a few journalists/analysts and pro-Taliban political parties never tire in their baseless propaganda against Drone attacks.

    A) Political Recommendations for the Elimination of Terrorism:

    1. The conference agreed upon the decision that the strategic depth policy is not only the cause of terrorism but also it is an end in itself regarding terrorism. The policy caused thousands times greater harm to Pakistan than any NRO or writing off debts could do. Due to this policy hundreds of thousands people killed or injured. The policy has pushed Pakistan into such abysmal depths that its foundations are eroding. The conference agreed upon the idea that the people of Pakistan would still be resolute to oppose terrorist ideology even if the US, NATO or ISAF are defeated in Afghanistan and the terrorist capture the throne of Kabul. If the terrorists succeeded in Afghanistan their next target would be Pakistan. Therefore, this policy is destructive for Pakistan and should be abolished above board.

    2. Those who framed this policy should be tried in courts.

    3. Interference in Afghanistan should be stopped at one and it should be treated as a sovereign neighbor state.

    4. Sanctuaries of terrorism in FATA, Pukhtunkhwa province and other parts of the country like those in Bara, Darra Adam Khel, Mechanai, Mirnashah, Mir Ali, Kurram Agency and central Punjab should be destroyed. A brief and targeted military operation should be launched against the terrorists. A half-hearted military operation is only spreading and helping the terrorists. Therefore, the blunders of the past should not be repeated.

    5. NATO and ISAF are sent to Afghanistan under UN mandate. NATO and ISAF should stay in Afghanistan until terrorism is uprooted, foreign interference in Afghanistan must be stopped and the institutions of army and police are established on solid footings. However they should offer a clear time frame for the withdrawal of troops. The US has supported some of the terrorist and it still holds a double standard. Americans are blamed to supporting Jandullah Group. Similarly they are least interested in dealing with the terrorist from Sang kiang. Therefore, no peace loving person would tolerate them after terrorism is uprooted.

    6. The conference appeals Saudi Arab and other Arab countries to stop financing the terrorists.

    7. Some political forces and a component of the media and establishment are supporting terrorists. These people are enemy of Pushtuns and Pakistan. Such anti-human forces should be defeated and uprooted.
    8. The conference urged to promote AFPAK people to people contacts and demanded both the countries not to pose obstacles in them.

    9. Besides uprooting terrorism in FATA the people of FATA should be compensated for the damage done due to terrorism. A comprehensive developmental package should be planned and the people of FATA should be allowed to choose any administrative system for themselves.

    10. The so-called nonfunctional terrorist organizations are still operative in the country. Merely naming them dysfunctional would not help. These organizations should be practically eliminated.

    11. The conference demands that Pakistan army and intelligence agencies should not interfere in politics. They should do their jobs for which they have been recruited. Army and intelligence agencies should be made subservient to the parliament and their control should be in civilian hands.
    12. The conference believes that every democratic government should complete its term. Any conspiracy to derail democracy will be defeated. The conference condemns the media trial of the politicians and the so-called corruption charges against them. The conference strongly demands that the establishment should stop dividing the political parties.

    13. The IDP’s is result of army operations should be treated as per UN resolution.

    14. The conference agreed that Pushtuns in FATA and Northern Pukhtoonkhwa are made hostage by the terrorists. The terrorists and security personnel are apparently engaged in fighting but their targets are innocent civilians. Four millions Pushtuns are living as IDPs. Our schools are closed and our youth unemployed. Whether there is chance for festivity or an occasion of mourning terrorism is feared. Our Jargas are the target of terrorism. Jargas and Lashkars are banned in tribal areas. In settled areas gatherings and processions are not possible. Local Pushtuns names like Aimal Khan, Darya Khan and Khushal Khan are changed into Abu Zar and Abu Jandal. Pushtun nation is not only hostage to these terrorists but there is also an organized campaign to Arabize them. The whole world is playing its due role against terrorism but the most affected people of this menace are unable to play their effective historical role. The participants in conference agreed that if Pushtuns are given an opportunity to fight terrorism they would definitely deal with the terrorists in their historical courageous way. It is suggested that a grand Pushtun Jarga of the Pushtun of Pakistan should be called upon under the auspices of United Nations. If possible, Afghanistan should also be given representation. The Jarga should deal with the sole agenda “how to eliminate terrorism.” The Jarga should not be arranged on the traditional pattern; rather it should be given a broader touch by inviting all the Khels and tribes so that they can discuss the matter for two or three days the participation of women in this Jirga must be mandatory. It should be conveyed to all non-Pushtuns that these Jargas are actually time-tested indigenous workshops. We believe that this Jarga would supersede all effective counter terrorism efforts. If succeeded, the same experiments should be repeated with the Pushtuns of Afghanistan.

    15. The conference unanimously analyzed that the ground realities suggest terrorism is on the rise and Pushtuns are drifting along the tides of national, social, educational and psychological hopelessness. If terrorism is not uprooted in the upcoming months or if it further increased, Pushtuns would distrust all state institution vis-à-vis eliminating terrorism. In that case Pushtuns will be forced to invite UN peace keeping forces. To avoid the worst scenario the problem of terrorism should be taken seriously. Participants of the conference were unanimous in their thinking that all responsibility would fall on the shoulders of the Pakistani establishment if UN peace-keeping forces landed in the area are the world finally opted to redraw the marking of various countries in the region.

  24. Hayyer

    Thanks for that guide to the state of thinking in Pakistan on strategic depth.

  25. B. Civilian

    kamran shafi ‘mis-defining’ Strategic Depth does not redefine shallowness, stupidity, arrogance, failure and disaster. that shameful reality remains unchanged.

  26. PMA

    Taliban looms over Pakistani-Afghan meeting.

    Presidents of both countries working to repair frayed relationship

    (Reuters, Mon., Jan. 25, 2010)

    ISTANBUL – The leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan will seek closer cooperation in the fight against militants during a summit in Istanbul on Monday, but a plan to reach out to Taliban insurgents will likely dominate the talks.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will meet ahead of a London conference on Thursday where Afghanistan and the international community are set to agree a framework for the Afghan government to take responsibility for its own security.

    The two men were due to speak Monday on the sidelines of a summit with Turkey, which has been working behind the scenes to repair relations between Islamabad and Kabul, notably over negotiations with the Taliban.

    Pakistan has long played an important role in Afghan affairs, having nurtured the Afghan Taliban during the 1990s, but Kabul remains suspicious that Islamabad is pursuing its own agenda in the country to the detriment of Afghanistan.

    ‘Thirsty for peace’

    Masood Khalili, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Turkey, told state news Anatolian the aim of the meeting was to “forge cooperation that might lead to reconciliation in the region. Everybody in the region is thirsty for peace.”

    Karzai, under intense pressure from his Western backers to strengthen Afghanistan’s security forces at a time of worsening violence, is preparing a program to reintegrate some Taliban insurgents in order to encourage them to lay down arms.

    Pakistan is seeking to play a role in that process. Its Foreign Ministry said on Saturday it was reaching out to “all levels” of the Afghan Taliban in a bid to encourage peace in its neighbor.

    Signaling NATO was open to a political solution even as President Barack Obama sends an extra 30,000 U.S. troops, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan said he hopes increased troop levels will weaken the Taliban enough that its leaders will accept a peace deal and bring the war to an end.

    “As a soldier, my personal feeling is that there’s been enough fighting,” Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in an interview in the Financial Times on Monday.

    Karzai met with Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul, whose country has increased its diplomatic role in the Muslim world since the ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party took power in 2002. Gul was to hold separate talks with Zardari later.

    Military and intelligence officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan — which have a history of mutual distrust — were also attending the talks.

    Regional players

    Obama has emphasized that success would not be possible in Afghanistan without the support of Pakistan.

    On Tuesday, Turkey is hosting a meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbors to seek a common approach to the conflict.

    Turkey has said the foreign minister of China and officials from Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan will attend as well as British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke’s deputy, Paul Jones.

    British officials say they want to persuade regional players to work together to help stabilize Afghanistan.

    Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  27. rex minor

    “The strategic depth policy of Pakistan Army”

    . How come the US Govt. have offered Talibans including Mullah Omar full control(Governership) over several provinces including in Kandhar, if the Talibans in return would allow the Americans to establish several US bases including one in Jalalabad and Kandhar.(I thought the Americans were fighting the Talibans?)
    . Has it ever occured to anyone about the place for keeping Pakistan nuclear aresenal, which is safe from the potential enemy and operational within a specified time? They did test the weapon in a mountain!
    . How come the Indian Intelligence is suddenly overactive in Baluchistan and Kabul? The political talk offer by the Indian Faqir is on the card?

    Well, I am going to simply follow the system of thought, a scientific method to shed light on objects of human philosophy, as designed by the 17th-century thinker and theologist Descartes. By the way he also repeated Prophet Mohammad’s statement that the God almighty have given the common sense to all mankind, since no one complains about the common sense deficiency.

    My own conclusions are that Pakistan nuclear arsenal is not in Punjab or Sindh provinces! Therefore, the continued activities of the Pakistan Army in the North West Frontier region and the now much publicised intrusion of the Mcdonald force in the Hemund Province.
    Both partners(Pakistan Army and the US Army) want to have control over Pakistan nuclear arsenal and are currently embarked on a path which is extremely dangerous for Pakistan. The Indian leaders have no strategy other than to be a spoiler whenever possible.
    The neo-conservative zionist strategy is to set up American bases in the region so as to control the nuclear arsenal of Pakistan. This in my view is the strategic depth policy of Pakistan Army!!