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Thread: The War

  1. #61
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S-2 View Post
    It would be nice if we could collect all the pertinent posts regarding policy decisions made during this war by the past administration and this one. That, however, would be a monumental task as they're spread through a variety of related threads.

    I offer this-

    Bob Woodward's Book Portrays A Great Divide Over Afghanistan-WAPO Editorial Sept. 29, 2010

    I've been opposed to this war since the fall of 2007 when it became clear to me that this government, in sum, was incapable of reversing conditions in Afghanistan. I'm dismayed to read from Woodward that James Jones, in late May or so of this year, suggested we can't succeed so long as sanctuary exists in Pakistan.

    Really? Only now?

    The permutations of thought driving this administration's rationales for our current policies, despite the extended period of analysis last fall, were unsurprising in their conclusions and unsophisticated in their offerings. Half-measures to appease all sides without firm resolve to fall on one side or the other of the central issue.

    We've offered up our armed forces to dubious ends. I'm frankly very disturbed by the news of sport killings and dope in Afghanistan coupled with charges against the murder of two soldiers in an argument in Iraq. Not the first time we've heard or read of such in our armed forces of late and, perhaps, a trendline of decaying ethical standards and base talent among our troops while used as the instrument of our political indecision...again.

    This war needs to end. We've an enemy in the GoP that are called an ally. Maybe some among them but certainly not its army nor ISI. Their nat'l objectives diametrically opposed at the core to ours in Afghanistan. Their civil administration is even more vascillating and corrupt than ours. So too our Afghan partners. None of this will change.

    For the families of our soldiers killed this year and all the years prior in Afghanistan we must offer our abject apologies. Their deaths were functionally meaningless when measured against our true intent. For this, our past and present leadership should be deeply ashamed.

    There are no greater geo-political realities that aren't understood by the general public. Nothing here is beyond our comprehension. It is, simply, what it appears to be and has been for some interminable time. Our government's sole obligation is to secure the safety of this nation and do so in direct fashion. We've failed to do so while wandering in a forest of indecisiveness and policy confusion for nearly a decade. Last April's abortive attack in Times Square proves our vulnerability is as great as ever. Only good fortune saved the lives of many then.

    We may not prove so lucky the next time. None of that, however, is affected in the least by what we've failed to accomplish in Afghanistan.
    This war in Afghanistan was in retaliation to unprovoked destruction of WTC, killing many innocents.

    Unlike Iraq, the morality of this attack was never questioned by any country. It was justified.

    The US was not incapable of reversing the conditions in Afghanistan. It is just that it was diverted by Iraq and thereby it violated the first Principles of War – Selection and Maintenance of Aim.

    On sanctuary and sustaining guerilla warfare. this is telling:

    Foreign support in the form of soldiers, weapons, sanctuary, or statements of sympathy for the guerrillas is not strictly necessary, but it can greatly increase the chances of an insurgent victory.[12] Foreign diplomatic support may bring the guerrilla cause to international attention, putting pressure on local opponents to make concessions, or garnering sympathetic support and material assistance. Foreign sanctuaries can add heavily to guerrilla chances, furnishing weapons, supplies, materials and training bases. Such shelter can benefit from international law, particularly if the sponsoring government is successful in concealing its support and in claiming "plausible denial" for attacks by operatives based in its territory.

    The VC and NVA made extensive use of such international sanctuaries during their conflict, and the complex of trails, way-stations and bases snaking through Laos and Cambodia, the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail, was the logistical lifeline that sustained their forces in the South. Also, the United States funded a revolution in Colombia in order to take the territory they needed to build the Panama Canal. In the post-Vietnam era, the Al Qaeda organization also made effective use of remote territories, such as Afghanistan under the Taliban regime, to plan and execute its operations.

    Therefore, the issues of foreign support and sanctuaries are paramount for sustenance.

    The AQ and the Taliban gets it support and sanctuary in Pakistan as is well known.

    The importance of foreign assistance and more importantly, sanctuaries to wage a guerilla war is well expounded by the master, Mao Tse Tung.

    If the womb is removed, then procreation is not feasible. Terrorism, thus, can be controlled if the womb is removed, in other words, the sanctuaries are removed as also the organisations and agencies that foster it.

    Militarily, such an action is not a problem. The problem is the political will – and that is not so easy a decision.

    Pakistan gives sanctuary and support to the Taliban. They do so for acquiring ‘strategic depth’. That contention is patently bogus since ‘strategic depth’ refers, broadly speaking, to the distances between the front lines or battle sectors and the combatants industrial core areas, capital cities, heartlands, and other key centres of population or military production. Afghanistan is a foreign country and so, the contention of Pakistan that Afghanistan is Pakistan’s ‘strategic depth’ is ludicrous.

    Pakistan is a complex country. It is not a standard country as one would like to believe. It is wracked by contradictions and with many power centres. Which is supreme? The ISI and the Army. Musharraf’s book In the Line of Fire clearly indicates the power over Pakistan politics of the ISI and the Army.

    Therefore, it is seen often that the US interlocutors confer with the Army and then with the so called democratic govt. And both Pakistan ‘pillar’ work at cross purposes! So, the US naturally is in a quandary.

    The Pakistani governance cannot go against the Muslim fundamentalists since they have gripped Pakistani politics and events by the golis. Upset them and there will be civil war!

    Therefore, while Afghanistan could have been addressed, the Iraq War, the contradictions called Pakistan and the possibility of civil war impedes a solution to Afghanistan.


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

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  2. #62

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    Ray Reply

    "...it is seen often that the US interlocutors confer with the Army and then with the so called democratic govt. And both Pakistan ‘pillar’ work at cross purposes! So, the US naturally is in a quandary."

    America is the most visible but any nation requiring discourse regarding security issues with Pakistan faces the same dilemma.

    The promotion of democracy projects to be a long-run work-in-progress. There's much to accomplish and Pakistan's own well-being is at stake in the ultimate outcome. What transpires may well determine the future viability of the Pakistani state.
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  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by S-2 View Post
    "...it is seen often that the US interlocutors confer with the Army and then with the so called democratic govt. And both Pakistan ‘pillar’ work at cross purposes! So, the US naturally is in a quandary."

    America is the most visible but any nation requiring discourse regarding security issues with Pakistan faces the same dilemma. The promotion of democracy projects to be a long-run work-in-progress. There's much to accomplish and Pakistan's own well-being is at stake in the ultimate outcome. What transpires may well determine the future viability of the Pakistani state.
    India doesn't face that dilemma (both hate India). For the inverse reason China doesn't face the same dilemma either. A growing number of Pakistani youth no longer believe that democracy is tied to their well-being even in the long run; I remember a special report from the Economist which surveyed a number of developing countries' upcoming generation's take on the Shanghai Model (economic development sans democracy) -- Pak college students had the greatest belief in it, even surpassing the home opinion by a significant margin. Methinks it would be quite appropriate in these circumstances for the US to dispense with the dilemma as well, completely back the force that will get the immediate job done (narrowly defined as public death or imprisonment of a list of AQ and Talib command), then get the heck away from there, and watch how it plays out later. Afterall, you cannot solve all possible problems for your children -- what will they do when they grow up, they will be bored out of their minds!

  4. #64

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    Success Breeds Failure?

    There are a lot of anecdotal hints that the surge of U.S. ground forces is achieving a lot of tactical victories throughout Afghanistan-the critical south in particular. I saw something recently reported by U.S.A Today suggesting that Sangin in Helmand province may soon be under USMC control after some hard fighting.

    SECDEF wants to capitalize on it by inserting an additional marine rifle battalion which may on the ground within a week or so-

    U.S. Boosts Afghan Surge-WSJ Jan. 4, 2010

    Further, the article hints that OSD may play with the mix of forces to create a heavier tooth/tail ratio by delaying some withdrawing units and accelerating the deployment of arriving units. So long as the support tail isn't impaired all well and good for the combatant commanders as they gain additional combat resources to secure the ground they've retaken. That's fine.

    In the interim, though, what can we expect from such success? The larger question remains whether the Afghan government, the ANA and the U.N. can take advantage of the opportunity generated by the space created? Who will benefit from these battlefield successes and can those benefits be transferred to the populace such that a loyalty to a government worth defending can be achieved?

    Projects are mis-managed and good starts are left to crumble-

    U.S.-funded Infrastructure Deteriorates Once Left Under Afghan Control, Report Says-WAPO Jan. 4, 2010

    Good managers and politicians are left to fend for themselves amidst a byzantine network of relationships reaching to Kabul which impede progress down in the village-

    Corrupt Leaders Trump Taliban-WAPO Jan. 6, 2010

    These failures are critical as we are LEAVING. When we do, Afghan security forces will be on their own sans the support derived from the local populace. Without that support, the taliban will find themselves back in the driver's seat in short order.

    I've had little faith regarding the surge for just this reason. At no point in this war has there been cause to question American/ISAF dominance of the battlefield. With rare exception, we've not just owned the ground upon which we've trodden, but dominated it.

    That will change with our departure unless Afghans take ownership of their country's future.
    Last edited by S2; 06 Jan 11, at 16:12.
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  5. #65
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    RAY, S-2, et al,

    As I said, very early on in one of these discussion threads, tactical military success on the battlefield, does not neccessarily lead to stability or victory. I've have been places where we won nearly every single battle, yet come out politically on the short end of the stick.

    For this reason, I think you are right to be concerned; and I share it.

    Quote Originally Posted by S-2 View Post
    I've had little faith regarding the surge for just this reason. At no point in this war has there been cause to question American/ISAF dominance of the battlefield. With rare exception, we've not just owned the ground upon which we've trodden, but dominated it.

    That will change with our departure unless Afghans take ownership of their country's future.
    (COMMENT)

    As "RAY" points out, supra, you are in good company with your concerns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Washington Post
    Vice President Biden was "more convinced than ever that Afghanistan was a version of Vietnam." The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl W. Eikenberry, is quoted as saying, "Basically we're screwed." National security adviser James L. Jones's view is "you can't win." Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, who is the senior coordinator for Afghanistan on the National Security Council, says, "This is a house of cards."

    Mr. Woodward's reporting raises a question we have asked in the past: Why does the president continue to employ aides -- including an ambassador in Kabul -- who do not support his policy and are frequently at odds with those trying to implement it?

    SOURCE (RAY): Bob Woodward's book portrays a great divide over Afghanistan

    One could write an entire Trilogy on how we come to be in this fix. But at the end of the day, it is about the tools we use and the cost involved. As every owner of an old car knows, there comes a point when you realize that the car is no longer cost economically effective to repair. With Afghanistan, we are very rapidly approaching that decision point.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAY, 04 Jan 11, 13:12
    The AQ and the Taliban gets it support and sanctuary in Pakistan as is well known.
    (COMMENT)

    One of the decisions we have to make addresses "RAY's" observation that the OPFOR doesn't live in a vacuum. That is requires indigenous support. Deny them that support and we'll starve them into oblivion. There are many different ways to do this, and there is no one way that is more correct than another. But sure as hell, they all require that the OPFOR be denied 100% of the support they derive from inside Afghanistan and deprived all freedom of movement inside Afghanistan. That alone, requires an unprecedented footprint that is going to be costly to maintain and support --- unless you have 100% of the Regional Afghan Defense Forces one-line and helping to form an impenetrableness perimeter. And there is the rub. Have the Afghan's decided to make that commitment?

    I don't believe that the indigenous population are going to be of sufficient strength, making the serious commitment required, or of the honorable caliber necessary, to accomplish the task. And if that is the case, US/ISAF is going to have to do it themselves (with only token and untrustworthy Afghan support) and maintain impenetrable barrier for a substantial period. That is going to be extremely costly; both in gold and domestic political support. People will ask, where do we draw the line? When is this much too much?

    It may be the case that it is more cost effective (in the long run) just to periodically return every decade or two, for a short period, burn it to the ground, induce regime change and immediately leave.

    Most Respectfully,
    R

  6. #66

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    Thomas Hammes offers his views on the war's progress-or lack thereof in this assessment/argument in FOREIGN POLICY-

    AFPAK's Strategic Blinders-Hammes FOREIGN POLICY Jan. 11, 2011

    The points made are the usual-Karzai administrative incompetence, corruption, ANA congenital weakness, Pakistani sanctuary and mission creep-which reared its ugly head again when Biden backtracked on our supposed firm pullout by July 2014. It won't happen and we've instead further empowered/endorsed the Karzai regime. In effect, a blank cheque HAS been written affirming our support for his inaction and incompetence.

    We've tied ourselves to a strategic loser.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  7. #67

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    More Gloom And Doom

    David Wood of Politic Daily offers his summation of views taken from a variety of studies recently done in various Washington think-tanks as well as the latest ISAF assessment-

    Counterinsurgency Strategy Not Working In Afghanistan, Critics Say-Politics Daily David Wood Jan. 12, 2011

    The value of Wood's article lies in the links to the supporting documents. His contentions largely dovetail with mine-our COIN strategy isn't working and that the focus must be more narrowly-conceived along a counter-terror strategy.

    This has long been my contention. The reasons for the failure are myriad and despite thoughtful and earnest efforts by many brilliant thinkers. Nonetheless, what may be most disturbing is the sense of investment and ownership holding primacy inside the Dept. Of The Army, foremost among many.

    In short- a "can do" attitude might be the correct command emphasis inside that particular culture but is it an accurate reflection of the ground conditions and our own domestic political climate? Given the money and blood shed, do we have a too-emotional attachment?

    Basic economic theory evaluates "sunk costs" as past expenditures that are not recoverable. Only "prospective costs" matter going forward unless an entity is excessively "loss averse". If so, proper incentives aren't accorded their deserved weight in future decisions.

    This enterprise is failed as conceived, IMV. The best laid plans of mice and men have come to naught and our American government, foremost, has failed to openly acknowledge that we've no viable host-nation partnership upon which to achieve our current objectives. The objectives, themselves, raised undue expectations among Afghans for which we've failed to deliver-nor shall anytime soon.

    Accepting that failure, I'm told, will do untold damage to American foreign policy. I contend that ignoring that failure shall do more. We are not infallible in our judgement and must display an ability to assess correctly our circumstance, assign failure where necessary, and take PROPER corrective action.

    Continuing on a failed course isn't such.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
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  8. #68

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    IEDs in Sangin

    The use of IEDs has become the primary feature of taliban operations. They're sophisticated, deadly, and difficult to detect. The effect is profound on the ability of ISAF units to manuever effectively. This NYT report from Sangin chronicles the difficulties faced by marine units attempting to patrol a very inhospitable area-

    In Afghanistan, Insurgents Let Bombs Do Fighting-NYT, Jan. 18, 2011

    Meanwhile, the effect on the local population can be disastrous and, therefore, the influence insidious. How this assists the taliban's public relations effort is difficult to comprehend-

    17 Afghan Civilians Killed by Roadside bombs in 24 Hours-L.A. Times Jan. 17, 2011

    Note that nine died in Baghlan province and two in Oruzgan province while six died in the aforementioned Sangin District of Helmand province. These are indiscriminating weapons endangering the lives of all.

    EDIT:

    Jan. 19, 2011 BBC News - Women and children killed in Afghanistan blast

    Thirteen afghan civilians died when their motorized rickshaw was struck by an IED in Paktika province. Most of the dead were women and children being transported to a health clinic. That's no less than thirty civilians killed by IEDS in three days.
    Last edited by S2; 19 Jan 11, at 16:07.
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  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    Pakistan gives sanctuary and support to the Taliban. They do so for acquiring ‘strategic depth’. That contention is patently bogus since ‘strategic depth’ refers, broadly speaking, to the distances between the front lines or battle sectors and the combatants industrial core areas, capital cities, heartlands, and other key centres of population or military production. Afghanistan is a foreign country and so, the contention of Pakistan that Afghanistan is Pakistan’s ‘strategic depth’ is ludicrous.
    Taliban have killed more people in Pakistan than they have in Afghanistan. What on earth are you thinking, why would Pakistan support the same elements that are hell bent on destroying their own country. What sort of logic is this, i don't know on what lines are you thinking but clearly Sir it does not make sense. Pakistan in the initial stages of the WOT was never serious about the war, although i wish it was as the situation would have been quelled right back than. The war was never properly promoted to the people, that is why the public support for sending troops into FATA was extremely low. As the situation imploded and the people were able to see the real face of Taliban in Swat, the public support for the operation sky rocketed and Army was able to evict them from Swat, Buner, Dir, SW, Bajaur etc. PA and ISI are not made up of some foreign aliens, they are made up of Pakistani Officers whom are looking for the well being of their Mother Land. If indeed PA and ISI were supporting the Taliban, why are they being targeted by them. ISI has lost over a 100 agents in FATA, the facts are different than what your suggesting.

    I dont know which Arm Chair General came up with this notion of Strategic Depth. Anyone who knows the PA would know that this whole notion is bogus, PA is not designed to retreat into Afghanistan. Its designed to fight off India in the plains of Punjab and the Deserts of Sindh, all you need to do is to look at how the Cant's are located near our Eastern borders and you would get a good idea.

  10. #70

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    notorious eagle Reply

    Your sentiments regarding the taliban are appreciated but there's considerable anecdotal evidence suggesting those taliban whose efforts are directed against ISAF and the afghan people are receiving considerably more circumspect handling than those of the TTP. While Pakistan's operations against the TTP and associates are both welcome and necessary, there's concern that the Quetta Shura hasn't incurred the same and is even disavowed by many. So too for the Haqqani network and Hekmatyar's Hizb-i-Gulbuddin. Finally, there's the issue of your own citizens such as Maulvi Nazir and Hafez Gul Bahadur who've openly made clear their intentions to wage war on Afghanistan.

    As to the casualties, while Pakistan has suffered grievously at the hand of the TTP, the afghan people have endured immense suffering for years because of the taliban. Although I've no time now, a tally of those attributed to the war, generally, and to the taliban, specifically, might be a considerable number. UNAMA would likely have that data and I'll try to locate it at some point here.

    Finally, beyond what the TTP has wrought upon Pakistan, it would be important to separate the actions of sectarian groups whose primary motivations may or may not be directly affiliated with the taliban.

    Strategic depth is an interesting question. I believe you've even challenged the purpose and right for India to hold consulates in Afghanistan yet it is a sovereign nation with every right to determine who may or may not establish such. The Indians have no more nor in any location other than where the Pakistanis have also established consulates to my understanding. Nonetheless, I've seen some seriously outrageous claims otherwise.
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  11. #71

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    Afghans are estimated to have lost between 14,440-34,240 direct and indirect between 2001 and June 2010. By any measure considerably less than estimates during the afghan civil war (200,000) or the Afghan-Soviet war (900,000-3,000,000). For Pakistan, at least one estimate from the Ahmadiyya Times indicated 2010 as the bloodiest year since 2001-

    Pakistan 2010: Bloodiest Year For The People Since 2001-Ahmadiyya Times Dec. 24, 2010

    "The year 2010 has proven to be the bloodiest for the people of Pakistan since 2001 as the unending spate of lethal suicide bombings in almost every nook and corner of the country has killed 1,224 innocent Pakistanis and injured 2,157 others in 52 gory attacks between January 1 and December 23, 2010..."

    If true then in the preceding eight and one-quarter years no more than 10,000 Pakistanis civilians could have died for a sum total around 11, 224. These figures appear to be based upon Interior Ministry data.
    Last edited by S2; 19 Jan 11, at 16:09.
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  12. #72
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    http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/war-terror-international-security-policing/56617-war

    I suppose I'll need to find links to Semple as well.
    Pakistan and Afghanistan: interdependent, distrustful neighbours | Michael Semple | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

    "During the period covered by these reports, I sat in on one of the first national workshops of the Afghan reconciliation commission, headed by former president, Sebghatullah Mojadedi. Provincial police chiefs and governors and other officials split into small groups to discuss the causes of ongoing conflict. Encouraged by Mojadedi himself, every single working group fed back the conclusion that Pakistani ISI interference was the prime cause of conflict in the country.

    This was more an article of faith than an empirical finding. Assembled Afghan officialdom simply worked on the basis that Pakistan had supported the Taliban, was opposed to the post-Taliban set-up and must be behind any resistance to this new setup.

    In an even more blatant fashion, while visiting one of the Afghan provinces bordering Pakistan I asked the provincial intelligence chief to explain his role. He described his main function as being to inculcate in the people of the province a belief that Pakistan could never tolerate a stable Afghanistan, so that they would always be on their guard to check ISI interference."

    ... Among the 180 reports of ISI interference, most are drawn from informants or briefings from the Afghan intelligence service, who describe in lurid detail direct involvement of ISI officers in trying to wreak havoc inside Afghanistan. The bulk of them can now be dismissed as unreliable either with the benefit of hindsight (they warn of impending disasters which never happened) or on the basis of implausibility (conveying details the source could not have known) and because they fit in with a pattern of disinformation (stories constructed from recurrent themes and familiar characters).

    One set of informants most likely passed on these reports because they found there was a market for them. More politically motivated informants, such as those Afghan officials who supplied briefings which US personnel later wrote up as intelligence, probably wanted to strengthen US backing by turning the US against Pakistan.

    all you really need to teach him is how to properly celebrate your impending victory. Your patience will soon be rewarded with ISAF's departure. What remains won't likely be able to withstand the coming afghan taliban onslaught.
    Despite what you believe, a Taliban onslaught on Afghanistan in the aftermath of a US withdrawal is not a 'Pakistani victory'. It is in fact one of the least preferred options. Back in 2001 Pakistan was far more willing to see the Taliban remain in power to avoid the repercussions from a US invasion, but to see the Taliban in complete control of most of Afghanistan again would require years more of bloodshed, violence and instability in Afghanistan, not to mention the huge amounts of resources necessary to fund a Taliban expansion.

    Pakistan, even during the Taliban's rise, did try to convince Mullah Omar to share power with Massoud and Dostum. It was in Pakistan's interest to have a stable Afghanistan with a government that did not allow India to run anti-Pakistan operations from Afghan soil, or itself contribute to destabilizing Pakistan as Daud and other Afghan rulers had done in the past. It was not in Pakistan's interest to have an Afghanistan in perpetual conflict.

    What would constitute a Pakistani 'victory' currently is a power sharing agreement between the current GoA and the Taliban leadership, and perhaps a merging of Taliban foot soldiers and the ANA and ANP, along with a military withdrawal by ISAF.

    I don't really see signs of the above yet, though moves have been made by the concerned parties to begin negotiations towards some sort of a settlement of the conflict.
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  13. #73

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    A.M. Reply

    "Zraver himself described Pakistani military actions in East Pakistan as 'genocidal'... Since many vilifying Pakistani actions in 1971 choose to bandy about the term 'genocide/genocidal' based on a few accounts, I fail to see why I should do any different when describing the actions of East Pakistani rebels/terrorists."

    Had I seen Zraver's comments and disagreed with his supporting evidence, I'd asked the same of him. It doesn't alleviate your responsibility to exercise care regarding your posts unless you prefer rhetorical mayhem to solid discussion. If so, I can recommend a board where that's commonplace.

    Not you. Not here. Not with me.

    "Despite what you believe, a Taliban onslaught on Afghanistan in the aftermath of a US withdrawal is not a 'Pakistani victory'. It is in fact one of the least preferred options."

    An option, then, and one to be considered it would seem from your words.

    Your preferred option? Read below-

    "What would constitute a Pakistani 'victory' currently is a power sharing agreement between the current GoA and the Taliban leadership, and perhaps a merging of Taliban foot soldiers and the ANA and ANP, along with a military withdrawal by ISAF."

    I'm unsure from where you draw your guidance on the preference of "options" but this is fantasy.

    First, there is no reconciliation between various taliban factions. Omar, Haqqani, and Hekmatyar have anywhere from a demonstrated disdain for one another to open dislike. Hekmatyar, in particular, appears to carry some very hard feelings about the past. So a common voice is one of the difficulties faced when "power sharing".

    Secondly, I'd be curous to understand what you know about the afghan taliban suggesting that they've any interest in "powersharing" with the present GIRoA? These are not practiced politicians (Hekmatyar excepting) with any demonstrated concept of rule by anything other than "diktat".

    Now that's not to say the taliban wouldn't see such, perhaps, as an interim measure to establishing a beach-head on their way to the wholesale dismantling of the present regime.

    Finally, I presume you see viability in such because you see the taliban as the legitimate voice of pashtun aspirations in Afghanistan. Is this true? If so, I'm curious as a side note whether you see the same for the TTP in Pakistan? If not, what indication have you that the afghan taliban represent the afghan pashtun vision for Afghanistan that they should be annointed a role within any future government?

    I can't imagine that you'd foist upon yourselves a similar solution. What's a concern, of course, with your range of options is that nowhere do they call for the elimination of the afghan taliban. This suggests, coupled with your comments about India-

    "...It was in Pakistan's interest to have a stable Afghanistan with a government that did not allow India to run anti-Pakistan operations from Afghan soil..."

    -that even you hold to the notion of strategic depth and all implied. Doesn't that, then, explain why the afghan taliban have enjoyed such immunity from military actions on your lands? If you see the afghan taliban as players in a range of offered options, then I presume that's only because your own government does as well. Thus they remain in play...from your lands.

    I know that many of your fellow citizens and discussion mates presume this is an accomplished reality. I've provided you the quotes already. Unchallenged by their peers.

    What this really entails, of course, is that most Pakistanis-including yourself-wish to shape Afghan politics to your bent as a client state of Pakistan. True Afghan self-determination will take a backseat to politics exercised at the barrel of a taliban gun if necessary.

    Personally, I don't believe that most afghan pashtuns subscribe to Omar's vision of Pakistan nor Omar himself. Despite ISAF's declining popularity, the BBC/ABC/ARD polls consistently show the taliban as polling miserably-even worse than foreign insurgents. Those links have been posted many times by me for your reading pleasure already.

    I fear your government has badly misread the taliban's influence and desirability among any save yourselves.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  14. #74
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notorious_eagle View Post
    Taliban have killed more people in Pakistan than they have in Afghanistan. What on earth are you thinking, why would Pakistan support the same elements that are hell bent on destroying their own country. What sort of logic is this, i don't know on what lines are you thinking but clearly Sir it does not make sense. Pakistan in the initial stages of the WOT was never serious about the war, although i wish it was as the situation would have been quelled right back than. The war was never properly promoted to the people, that is why the public support for sending troops into FATA was extremely low. As the situation imploded and the people were able to see the real face of Taliban in Swat, the public support for the operation sky rocketed and Army was able to evict them from Swat, Buner, Dir, SW, Bajaur etc. PA and ISI are not made up of some foreign aliens, they are made up of Pakistani Officers whom are looking for the well being of their Mother Land. If indeed PA and ISI were supporting the Taliban, why are they being targeted by them. ISI has lost over a 100 agents in FATA, the facts are different than what your suggesting.

    I dont know which Arm Chair General came up with this notion of Strategic Depth. Anyone who knows the PA would know that this whole notion is bogus, PA is not designed to retreat into Afghanistan. Its designed to fight off India in the plains of Punjab and the Deserts of Sindh, all you need to do is to look at how the Cant's are located near our Eastern borders and you would get a good idea.
    I merely gave the definition of ‘strategic depth’ as is understood universally.

    Given the definition, I, too, like you, am puzzled as to the connection of Pakistan in Afghanistan and the latter being Pakistan’s ‘strategic depth’.

    Since you posted on my giving the definition, may I take this opportunity to clear some of my thoughts so that I understand the issues better?

    At the outset, I will clarify my understanding is based on information in the open sources, including this forum.

    I take it that the Tallban are terrorists. I also take it that the Taliban is causing turmoil In Pakistan and in Afghanistan.

    It is said, and you have said it too, that the Taliban is killing Pakistanis. Why is the Taliban killing Pakistanis? Is there any ideological or political compulsions that prompt their (Taliban's) action in Pakistan. Pakistan is a theocratic country. Islam is the national religion and it has the Sharia too and that is also applicable to the non Muslims (correct me if I am wrong, which I could be). So, one wonders if there are grounds for Taliban’s piqué, when all things are common?

    If the Taliban is killing Pakistanis and the PA is hard at it in ‘clearing’ this scourge and yet this scourge repeatedly raises its ugly head, would it not be a better option to have joint operations with the US so that there is synergy, under which the Taliban would wilt and wither away? After all, the might of the PA and the technology of the US, as also their SF, would be very difficult for the Taliban to match. When the Taliban is taken to be a scourge for both Pakistan and the ISAF, is their any rationale for taking such jointmanship as a slight on Pakistan’s sovereignty? Pakistan is, after al,l a close ally of the US and allies work together. I am sure it will be in the interest of Pakistan, if this area is cleared of anti Pakistan forces through jointmanship with the US. Drones alone cannot clear the area is what I feel.

    Another issue that maybe you can clarify is what has the Pakistani Taliban got to do with Afghanistan? Afghanistan is after all a sovereign nation. Or is it, that the Pashtun don’t recognise that they are separate entities? Also, if Afghanistan is a sovereign country, then would it not be wise to let Afghanistan sort out its difference with the ISAF countries? The Pakistani interest in the solution is not quite understood.

    I have also not understood what a ‘good’ Taliban is and what a ‘bad’ Taliban is. If it is taken that the Taliban are creating havoc in Pakistan and are indulging in terrorist acts, then I presume they are terrorists and is there anything good about that?

    On the issue of Pakistani Army (or for that matter the ISI) not having any truck with the Taliban, the media informs otherwise. Given the fact that the PA has undertaken many military coups (possibly for the good of Pakistan maybe), there is this misgiving which apparently is justified that the PA does not always take it that they should be subservient to the democratic govt or the civil administration. This attitude can manifest itself in charting their own course without upsetting the civil govt, and then to the other extreme, where they topple the govt.

    I would once again mention that I have no ground knowledge of the situation, nor have I the feel of the Pakistan internal politics. My observation is solely from inferences that are drawn from open sources.

    Therefore, maybe since you are seized with the ground realities and the interplay of various power centres in Pakistan, you could give me a clearer picture as to what the situation is like and what the future hold for the world.
    Last edited by Ray; 20 Jan 11, at 07:35.


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

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  15. #75

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    There's a need to dispense with the notion that the Pakistani people have suffered more grievously at the hands of the TTP than have Afghans at the hand of the afghan taliban. However heinous the experience has increasingly been for Pakistanis, it still hasn't approached the levels endured daily by the afghan people since 9/11.

    That, of course, wouldn't even measure the misery inflicted upon them by the afghan taliban between their ascendance in 1995 and 2001. Nor the previous civil war and Soviet-Afghan war.

    "What on earth are you thinking, why would Pakistan support the same elements that are hell bent on destroying their own country."

    They aren't. There's a clear distinction drawn by the P.A. between the Afghan taliban, Haqqani Network and Hizb-I-Gulbuddin (Hekmatyar) and the TTP (Terek-i-Taliban Pakistan). It is the TTP upon whom the P.A. wages war while leaving undisturbed in their Pakistani sanctuaries the aforementioned afghan elements.

    "...I dont know which Arm Chair General came up with this notion of Strategic Depth. Anyone who knows the PA would know that this whole notion is bogus, PA is not designed to retreat into Afghanistan. Its designed to fight off India in the plains of Punjab and the Deserts of Sindh..."

    Exactly. To that end, the afghan taliban are guarantors of Pakistani strategic depth in Afghanistan. What does that mean? It means that the afghan taliban shall ensure that Pakistan never fights a defensive war against India on two fronts. This would be accomplished by denying the GoI a friendly afghan government from which it could open a second front against Pakistan should hostilities ensue. Thus, while the P.A. has no major war plans entailing a fallback into Afghanistan, it is bent upon denying that operating space to the Indian government.

    The P.A. has concerns now about the present GIRoA (Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan). It senses a government not fully friendly toward Pakistan and too friendly by Pakistani estimation with the Government of India. That is unacceptable. Hence afghan taliban sanctuary within Pakistan's FATAville and Quetta region. Doing so maintains a "force in being" to contest the GIRoA's control of Afghanistan.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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