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
Published in The News Tuesday, February 09, 2010
It doesn’t really matter whether or not the impending talks with Pakistan at the foreign secretaries’ level will be part of a “composite dialogue” or simply a dinner conversation in Hyderabad House – that is, if the conversation is held in Delhi. Or whether the Americans gently persuaded the Indian and Pakistani establishments to climb down from their soaring, antagonistic rhetoric of the past year or so, and break bread with each other.
Few will care whether the impending dialogue will yield a dramatic breakthrough or give way to a modestly-sized initiative with modest ambitions. Even diehard diplomatists with fine-tooth combs are keenly aware that when people start talking and travelling to each other’s countries, they considerably shrivel up the size of the bureaucratic pancake. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
The article below from Examiner epitomizes bad analysis that some in the US insist on carrying out which is damaging to the much flaunted “common objective”. God forbid if the author is right, it just means that the US is pursuing a perilous path by ignoring advice from Pakistan’s hardened policy hands. The author is absolutely wrong when she says the Pakistan Army “has never been excited” about US aid and intervention. The Pakistani military has always been very close to the Pentagon. What Obama needs is a sustainable strategy which brings on board every key player including Pakistan’s civilian federal government and the Pakistan Army.
This means that the US will have to address Pakistan’s concerns vis a vis Indian involvement in Afghanistan. All of India’s so called interests in Afghanistan are Pakistan specific. Furthermore, the US needs to come out clearly and distance itself from the horrendous and ridiculous Col Peters’ Plan which finds an increasingly audience amongst the new great gamers. How would US do that? Well for one – US has no business dealing directly with the NWFP and ANP. US should make it very clear that its channel of communication is with Pakistan’s Supreme Commander President Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. The US Administration should stop making direct contacts with either Asfandyar Wali Khan, Amir Haider Hoti etc and treating them as the founding father and prime minister of a new state. They should be treated on merit as a provincial party and a provincial government. ( I wonder if there are people in the current administration naive enough to flirt with this idea of an independent Pakhtunistan. If there are indeed such geniuses, they should know that their new found favorites will be swept away in a flood.)
Here is the article I was talking about: Continue reading
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, India, North-West Frontier Province, Obama, Pakistan, Politics, Terrorism, USA, violence, war, War On Terror, World, Yusuf Raza Gillani, Zardari
By Aisha Fayyazi Sarwari
Vulgarity is vulgarity, no matter what mouth it comes out of – Maya Angelou
Well then so is bullshit. Because that is what it would be called if someone asked President Obama in a public forum what his wife, Michalle Obama thought about the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Continue reading
By David Wise (Writing in the LA Times)
Back in 1960, the CIA hatched a plan to kill Patrice Lumumba by infecting his toothbrush with a deadly disease. The Congolese leader would brush his teeth and, presto, in a few days or weeks he would be gone.
Around the same time, the CIA’s Health Alteration Committee — who thought that name up? — sent a monogrammed, poisoned handkerchief to Gen. Abdul Karim Kassem, the leader of Iraq. Continue reading
By Farrukh Khan Pitafi
Israeli citizens were among the victims of the ruthless butchery of the Mumbai attacks. Israel could have very conveniently succumbed to the Indian warmongering against Pakistan. Yet it did not. The Israeli government was really cautious and restrained in blaming any country for this open genocide. A few days after the attacks the Israeli Ambassador to New Delhi Mark Sofar made some very keen observations. Continue reading
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ruled out the possibility of an undemocratic or military government coming into power in Islamabad, saying that a weak government in Pakistan will be harmful for India too, according to a TV Channel in India. Continue reading