By Wajid Ali Syed
In almost every briefing pertaining to South Asia, the U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Holbrooke says that he won’t use the ‘K word,’ by which he means Kashmir. This is sensible of him, knowing that any statement could escalate into an exchange of hot words between India and Pakistan (and India has made it clear it has no intention of bowing down before an meddling intermediary). Hence Ambassador Holbrooke understands the seriousness of the situation and thus avoids the “K” issue.
There is another increasingly controversial “K” that U.S. officials should refrain from using, especially in a derogatory manner. And that “K” stands for Karzai. Until recently the United States has treated the Afghan President as a puppet without realizing that his power base has grown in Afghanistan. It’s true that when Karzai was installed by the Bush administration he had little to no support in the country. But just the Bush era has passed and America has voted in a new President, time has not stood still for Karzai. The sooner the US realizes this the better for the Afghanistan, the NATO, the British and the US army. Over the years Karzai made himself matter in the country while rumors of his impending political death continued to circulate. The first sign of Karzai’s power was evident last year when the West discredited him during Afghanistan’s presidential elections. His opponent Abdullah Abdullah was openly supported by the Obama administration. The conflicting reports coming out of Afghanistan made the geniuses in Washington conclude that an ethnic Pashtun shouldn’t represent Afghanistan. Karzai didn’t take the news well. On the ground the situation was quite different. An intelligence expert based in Afghanistan said that if Abdullah Abdullah runs again he will still lose to Karzai. The reason? Abdullah Abdullah is of Tajik ethnicity.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) – President Obama sent his congratulations to Pakistan on Monday, as it celebrates its national day.
“Seventy years ago, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and those of the independence generation declared their dreams of self-determination and democracy. Today, the people of Pakistan are carrying on the great work of Quaid-e Azam.”
“Here in the United States, our country is enriched by the many Pakistani Americans who excel as doctors, small business owners, students, members of our armed forces and in many other fields. On this National Day, we give thanks for the contributions of these fellow Americans, and the United States pledges to remain a partner of all Pakistanis who seek to build a future of peace and prosperity.”
Pakistan celebrates the passing of the Lahore Resolution, which is commonly known as the Pakistan Resolution that called for greater Muslim autonomy in British India.
Pakistan military is at it again. The news that Army Chief is driving Pakistani policy agenda in Washington is another sign shown by the Pakistan Army that bloody civilians are not to be trusted, yet again. After making a mess of Pakistan by running proxy policies in its Eastern and Western borders, why is the Army taking a lead in developing the new policy for the next decade. Has Army not learnt from the past? In a democratic state, it is the government that sets the policies and leads all policy discussions with the foreign nations. All of us who wish to see democratic rule thrive must condemn this manoeuvre by the Pakistan Army. “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it” (AZW)
Cross Post from The New York Times
By JANE PERLEZ
Published: March 21, 2010
KARACHI, Pakistan — In a sign of the mounting power of the army over the civilian government in Pakistan, the head of the military, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, will be the dominant Pakistani participant in important meetings in Washington this week.
At home, much has been made of how General Kayani has driven the agenda for the talks. They have been billed as cabinet-level meetings, with the foreign minister as the nominal head of the Pakistani delegation. But it has been the general who has been calling the civilian heads of major government departments, including finance and foreign affairs, to his army headquarters to discuss final details, an unusual move in a democratic system.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has been taking a public role in trying to set the tone, insisting that the United States needs to do more for Pakistan, as “we have already done too much.” And it was at his request that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed this fall to reopen talks between the countries at the ministerial level.
Filed under Afghanistan, Army, Democracy, FATA, India, Islam, Islamabad, Jinnah's Pakistan, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Media, Obama, Pakistan, state, strategy, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, war, Yusuf Raza Gillani, Zardari
The Economist Print Edition, March 18, 2010
A HIGH-LEVEL delegation of Pakistanis is due to sweep into Washington for the restart on March 24th of a “strategic dialogue” with America. The Pakistanis have muscled their way to the table for what looks like a planning session for the endgame in Afghanistan. The recent arrest of the Taliban’s deputy leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and a clutch of his high-ranking comrades, has won them a seat.
The Pakistani team, led by the foreign minister, will include both the army chief and the head of the army’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). America has upgraded its own representation at the talks, last held in mid-2008, from deputy-secretary to secretary-of-state level. The dialogue is supposed to cover the gamut of bilateral issues, including help for Pakistan’s fragile economy, and even, on its ambitious wish-list, civil nuclear technology.
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, Democracy, FATA, Great game, India, Islamabad, North-West Frontier Province, Obama, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, War On Terror
We are reproducing an important paper on the drone attacks in Pakistan. This report analyzes the numbers behind the drone attack casualties. This paper further discusses the drone policy implications for the US, Pakistan as well as for the Taliban. I encourage you to visit the New America website for full report with various graphs, further statistics and footnotes that give important details behind the information given in this paper (AZW)
Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative Policy Paper
The Year of the Drone
An Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2010
Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann
February 24, 2010
For full report please go to http://www.newamerica.net/publications/policy/the_year_of_the_drone
Our study shows that the 114 reported drone strikes in northwest Pakistan from 2004 to the present have killed between 830 and 1,210 individuals, of whom around 550 to 850 were described as militants in reliable press accounts, about two-thirds of the total on average. Thus, the true civilian fatality rate since 2004 according to our analysis is approximately 32 percent.
The bomber, a Jordanian doctor linked to al Qaeda, detonated his explosives on December 30, 2009, at an American base in Khost in eastern Afghanistan, killing himself and seven CIA officers and contractors who were operating at the heart of the covert program overseeing U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s volatile north-western tribal regions. The suicide attack was a double cross: Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, the bomber, had earlier provided information to the CIA that was used in targeting some of those drone attacks.
Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the current number three in al Qaeda, praised the suicide attack, saying it was “to avenge our good martyrs” and listing several militant leaders felled by drone strikes.
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, baluchistan, FATA, Islamabad, North-West Frontier Province, Obama, Pakistan, strategy, Taliban, Terrorism, USA
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, FATA, Great game, Islamabad, Obama, Pakistan, Peshawar, state, strategy, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, war, War On Terror
Cross Post from The New Yorker
The Taliban’s jihad, like rock and roll, has passed from youthful vigour into a maturity marked by the appearance of nostalgic memoirs. Back in the day, Abdul Salam Zaeef belonged to the search committee that recruited Mullah Omar as the movement’s commander; after the rebels took power in Kabul, he served as ambassador to Pakistan. “My Life with the Taliban,” published this winter, announces Zaeef’s début in militant letters. The volume contains many sources of fascination, but none are more timely than the author’s account of his high-level relations with Pakistani intelligence.
While in office, Zaeef found that he “couldn’t entirely avoid” the influence of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence. Its officers volunteered money and political support. Late in 2001, as the United States prepared to attack Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, the I.S.I.’s then commanding general, Mahmud Ahmad, visited Zaeef’s home in Islamabad, wept in solidarity, and promised, “We want to assure you that you will not be alone in this jihad against America. We will be with you.” And yet Zaeef never trusted his I.S.I. patrons. He sought to protect the Taliban’s independence: “I tried to be not so sweet that I would be eaten whole, and not so bitter that I would be spat out.”
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, India, Islamabad, Obama, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, violence, war, War On Terror