Monday, November 28, 2016

Gen Petraeus Debunks Allegations of Duplicity Against Pakistan

General David Petraeus, former CIA director and commander of US troops in Afghanistan, has said there is no evidence of Pakistan playing a double game and supporting terrorists in Afghanistan. Petraeus' remarks are now particularly significant given the fact that he is on a short list of President-Elect Donald Trump's nominees for Secretary of State.  He was answering a question posed to him at a presentation at Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a British security think tank based in London.

Is Pakistan Duplicitous?

The question was asked by a female Afghan Ph.D. student at the end of remarks by the general on "Security Challenges Facing the Next US Administration". Here's the question:

"General you have stated that democracies can not win long wars (General Petraeus interrupted and said he did not say that and added "in fact I take issue with that" as the student continued). Afghanistan is now US's longest war. What stops the US to win the long war..whether Pakistan intelligence is the cause of the long war? Why does the US not take action against the Pakistan ISI which continues killing and supporting terrorists?"

General David H. Petraeus's response:

Here's part of Gen Petraeus' response: "I looked very very hard then (as US commander in Afghanistan) and again as CIA director at the nature of the relationship between the various (militant) groups in FATA and Baluchistan and the Pakistan Army and the ISI and I was never convinced of what certain journalists have alleged (about ISI support of militant groups in FATA).... I have talked to them (journalists) asked them what their sources are and I have not been able to come to grips with that based on what I know from these different positions (as US commander and CIA director)".

Gen Petraeus did acknowledge that "there's communication between the ISI and various militant groups in FATA and Balochistan (Haqqanis, Taliban, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, etc) but some of it you'd do anyway as an intelligence service." He added that "there may be some degree of accommodation that is forced on them (Pakistanis) because of the limits of their (Pakistan's) forces."

US-Pakistan Ties:

On the question of the nature of US-Pakistan relations and Washington's influence in Islamabad, General Petraeus said:

"Some people say Pakistan is a frenemy...it is just very very difficult to pin down (blame on Pakistan) and it's even more difficult to figure out how to exert leverage that in a meaningful way resolves the issue.  There was a period when we cut off all assistance and ties (to Pakistan) and held up F-16s that we were supposed to deliver for a while and that did not help our influence there (in Pakistan). It's a very very tough situation and it may be among the top two or three challenges for the new administration right up there with Syria".

General Petraeus acknowledged Pakistan's cooperation and sacrifices in fighting terror in the following words:

“Pakistan Army suffered casualties and had limited Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities though the US did try to help and there existed enormous amount of cooperation between the two militaries. However, the unfortunate episodes of Raymond Davis and publications of book by Bob Woodward and WikiLeaks did impact negatively on this cooperation”.

Summary:

General David H. Petraeus has thoroughly debunked intense and ongoing media propaganda campaign of allegations of duplicity against Pakistan Army and ISI. He has also ruled out cutting ties with Pakistan as an option. His recommendations have now assumed added significance because he is now on a short list of President-Elect Trump's nominees for secretary of state.

Here's the video of General Petraeus at RUSI. His remarks on Pakistan are in the last 8 minutes of the video:

https://youtu.be/4vxSwUrY1E0




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Husain Haqqani vs Riaz Haq on India vs Pakistan

Impact of Trump's Top Picks on Pakistan

Husain Haqqani Advising Trump on Pakistan Policy?

Gall-Haqqani-Paul Narrative on Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia vs India-US-Japan

Robert Gates' Straight Talk on Pakistan

15 comments:

Ahsan H. said...

I didn't know Gen. Petraeus was on President-Elect Trump's short list for Secretary of State. I thought the short list had only three names on it: Bolton, Giuliani and Romney. The last is looking more and more unlikely, according to what I heard on TV this morning. The first two scare the hell out of me!

Riaz Haq said...

Ahsan: "I didn't know Gen. Petraeus was on President-Elect Trump's short list for Secretary of State. I thought the short list had only three names on it: Bolton, Giuliani and Romney. The last is looking more and more unlikely, according to what I heard on TV this morning. The first two scare the hell out of me!"


Here's the latest from Washington Post: Trump to meet with Petraeus, Romney as secretary of state battle heats up

President-elect Donald Trump will meet Monday with retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, a possible alternative choice for secretary of state amid an escalating feud over the position between supporters of former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who will sit down with Trump on Tuesday.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-to-meet-with-petraeus-romney-as-secretary-of-state-battle-heats-up/2016/11/28/4bdf7538-b584-11e6-a677-b608fbb3aaf6_story.html

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting General Petraeus' comments. Given the nature, significance and impact of this statement, are you surprised that this has not received any coverage on MSM (mainstream media), social media or generated/provoked a response from official Pakistan channels? Welcome your insights as to why you think this may be the case. MBK.

Riaz Haq said...

MBK: "Given the nature, significance and impact of this statement, are you surprised that this has not received any coverage on MSM (mainstream media), social media or generated/provoked a response from official Pakistan channels? Welcome your insights as to why you think this may be the case. MBK. "

It was reported by The News which is part of Pakistan's largest media group Jang.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/166065-No-Pak-role-in-fomenting-trouble-in-Afghanistan-says-Petraeus

But it was not picked up by other media, particularly the western media.

It seems to me that the media doesn't report what it doesn't like. In this case, the media doesn't like Gen Petraeus' remarks because he is highly critical of the journalists' reporting about Afghanistan when he says " "I looked very very hard then (as US commander in Afghanistan) and again as CIA director at the nature of the relationship between the various (militant) groups in FATA and Baluchistan and the Pakistan Army and the ISI and I was never convinced of what certain journalists have alleged (about ISI support of militant groups in FATA).... I have talked to them (journalists) asked them what their sources are and I have not been able to come to grips with that based on what I know from these different positions (as US commander and CIA director)".

The general has essentially undermined the entire premise of the media narrative about the alleged complicity of Pakistani military and ISI in supporting militancy in Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Dangerous Doval Doctrine: #Balochistan vs #Kashmir | Frontline. #India #Pakistan #Modi #BJP http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/balochistan-vs-kashmir/article9373742.ece …

The pursuit of a tit-for-tat diplomacy will not get India anywhere because Balochistan and Kashmir are not on a par, legally and politically. The time has come for India to drop the Baloch card and work for the settlement of Kashmir. By A.G. NOORANI
“PAKISTAN’s vulnerabilities are many times higher than us [sic]. Once they know that India has shifted gear from defensive mode to defensive-offence, they will find that it is unaffordable for them. You may do one Mumbai, you may lose Balochistan,” Ajit Doval, now Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National Security Adviser, said at the 10th Nani Palkhivala Memorial Lecture at Sastra University, Thanjavur, on February 21, 2014. This was three months before he became NSA and the Manmohan Singh government was still in power.

The shock this Doval Doctrine of “defensive-offence” induced precluded any cool analysis of its implications (see the writer’s “The Doval doctrine”, Frontline, November 13, 2015). Doval was advocating a diplomacy of tit for tat with full knowledge of the perils it entailed, not least among them being the risk of matters getting out of hand in the retaliatory ladder of escalation. This becomes apparent when one moves from the doctrine to the specific, Balochistan.

Whoever perpetrated the Mumbai attacks committed a dastardly crime. But at no time did India ever allege that Pakistan’s top leaders were complicit in it. Is it not a wholly disproportionate retaliation to secure the detachment of one of Pakistan’s four provinces? Would its leaders, civil and military, sit back with folded hands when this is being attempted? And the Great Powers in the “Security Council”, especially China, which now has a stake in Balolchistan? And, pray, how does Doval propose to detach Balochistan? By military invasion? Far from it. Our “intelligence commando” has other plans whose elements are no secret. He proposes to do this by fomenting subversion through covert action. He could not possibly have made the claim (“you may lose Balochistan”) unless India had acquired significant “assets” there—as they are called in the idiom of covert operations—over the years. They cannot be acquired instantly. It is these existing assets, acquired, trained and funded over the years, which emboldened Doval to speak as confidently as he did.

Riaz Haq said...

#NawazSharif is a terrific guy, #Pakistan is an amazing country with tremendous opportunities: Donald #Trump https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/headline/pm-nawaz-felicitates-donald-trump-over-his-victory/ ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif telephoned US President-elect Donald Trump and felicitated him on his victory.

During the telephonic conversation, Donald Trump said he is ready to play any role that Pakistan wants him to do to find solutions to the problems. He said it will be an honour and he will personally do it.

Donald Trump said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has a very good reputation, and he is doing amazing work, which is visible in every way. He is looking forward to meet the Prime Minister soon.

He said Pakistan is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people.

On being invited to visit Pakistan by the Prime Minister, the US president-elect said he would love to visit the fantastic country, a fantastic place of fantastic people.

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump to #Pakistan PM: "You're a terrific guy" "#Pakistanis are amazing, most intelligent and exceptional people” http://time.com/4586503/donald-trump-pakistan-prime-minister-readout-nawaz-sharif/

The full readout of the call, according to the Pakistani government, is below. Trump’s transition team has not released a readout.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif called President-elect USA Donald Trump and felicitated him on his victory. President Trump said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif you have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way. I am looking forward to see you soon. As I am talking to you Prime Minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long. Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people. I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems. It will be an honor and I will personally do it. Feel free to call me any time even before 20th January that is before I assume my office.
On being invited to visit Pakistan by the Prime Minister, Mr. Trump said that he would love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people. Please convey to the Pakistani people that they are amazing and all Pakistanis I have known are exceptional people, said Mr. Donald Trump.

Riaz Haq said...

US State Dept Archive 1969-1972:


"Nixon: But these Indians are cowards. Right?


Kissinger: Right. But with Russian backing. You see, the Russians have sent notes to Iran, Turkey, to a lot of countries threatening them. The Russians have played a miserable game."

And

"Nixon: And what do we do? Here they are raping and murdering, and they talk about West Pakistan, these Indians are pretty vicious in there, aren’t they?
Kissinger: Absolutely.


Nixon: Aren’t they killing a lot of these people?

Kissinger: Well, we don’t know the facts yet. But I’m sure [unclear] that they’re not as stupid as the West Pakistanis—they don’t let the press in. The idiot Paks have the press all over their place.

Nixon: Well, the Indians did, oh yes. They brought them in, had pictures of spare tanks and all the rest. Brilliant. Brilliant public relations.

Kissinger: Yeah, but they don’t let them in where the civilians are.

Nixon: Oh, I know. But they let them in to take the good shots. The poor, damn Paks don’t let them in at all.

Kissinger: Or into the wrong places.

Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: The Paks just don’t have the subtlety of the Indians.

Nixon: Well, they don’t lie. The Indians lie. Incidentally, did Irwin carry out my order to call in the Indian Ambassador?

Kissinger: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/nixon/e7/48542.htm

Riaz Haq said...

CNN's Peter Bergen's opinion on whether Pakistani official knew of Bin Laden's presence in Abottabad:


The bin Laden story in the New York Times magazine is an extract from (Caroltta) Gall's forthcoming book, "The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014."
Gall makes two astonishing claims in her Times magazine piece.
The first claim: An unnamed Pakistani official told her, based on what he had in turn heard from an unnamed senior U.S. official that "the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad." ISI is Pakistan's powerful military intelligence agency.
The second claim: "The ISI actually ran a special desk assigned to handle bin Laden. It was operated independently, led by an officer who made his own decisions and did not report to a superior. He handled only one person: bin Laden...the top military bosses knew about it, I was told."
It is, of course, hard to prove negatives, but having spent around a year reporting intensively on the hunt for al Qaeda's leader for my 2012 book "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad," I am convinced that there is no evidence that anyone in the Pakistani government, military or intelligence agencies knowingly sheltered bin Laden.
How did I arrive at this conclusion?


On three reporting trips to Pakistan I spoke to senior officials in Pakistan's military and intelligence service. They all denied that they had secretly harbored bin Laden. OK, you are thinking: "But they would say that, wouldn't they?"
Well, what about the dozens of officials I spoke to in the U.S. intelligence community, Pentagon, State Department and the White House who also told me versions of "the Pakistanis had no idea that bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad"?
During the course of reporting for my book I spoke on the record to, among others, John Brennan, now the CIA director and then President Obama's top counterterrorism adviser; then CIA Director Leon Panetta and his chief of staff, Jeremy Bash; then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen; then Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. James Cartwright; then director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter; then senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council, Nick Rasmussen; then head of policy at the Pentagon, Michele Flournoy; Michael Vickers, who was then the civilian overseer of Special Operations at the Pentagon; Tony Blinken, who is now the deputy national security adviser; and Denis McDonough, who held that position before Blinken.
These officials have collectively spent many decades working to destroy al Qaeda, and many are deeply suspicious of Pakistan for its continuing support for elements of the Taliban. But all of them told me in one form or another that Pakistani officials had no clue that bin Laden was living in Abbottabad.
Indeed, an early debate between senior national security officials at the White House, once CIA intelligence established that bin Laden could be hiding in Abbottabad, was whether to mount a joint U.S.-Pakistani raid on bin Laden's suspected hideout.
This plan was rejected because the officials were concerned that such a joint operation carried the risk that word would leak out about the bin Laden intelligence. This debate would have been moot if the Pakistanis already knew bin Laden was living in Abbottabad.
And, by the way, if the U.S. government had any evidence that the Pakistanis were knowingly sheltering bin Laden, as Gall claims, why cover this up?

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/21/opinion/bergen-bin-laden-new-york-times/

Riaz Haq said...

#US defence bill passed by Congress pledges $900 million economic military aid to #Pakistan in 2017 http://toi.in/ebPBVY via @TOIWorld

The US House of Representatives has passed a defence bill that pledges $900 million in economic and other assistance to Pakistan, a significant portion of which is dependent of a Pentagon certification that the country is taking demonstrable steps against the dreaded Haqqani Network.
The US National Defence Authorisation Act for fiscal year 2017 was passed in the House of Representatives yesterday.
The bill limits the overall amount available for reimbursement to $1.1 billion, of which $900 million is available for reimbursement to Pakistan.
It extends Congressional notification and certification requirements regarding reimbursements to Pakistan. The bill specifies that certain reimbursements to Pakistan are ineligible for a national security waiver unless Department of Defense makes specified certifications regarding the activities of Pakistan with respect to the Haqqani Network.
According to Dawn newspaper, the bill conditions $450 million from this assistance to a certification.
This year the amount was $300 million, which was not released after Defence Secretary Ashton Carter refused to certify in Pakistan's favour.

The bill is schedule for a vote in the Senate next week. Since it is a consensus bill, it is unlikely to face any opposition.
The bill notes that "the United States and Pakistan continue to have many critical shared interests, both economic- and security-related, which could be the foundation for a positive and mutually beneficial partnership."

In a conference report, which combines the House and Senate versions of a legislation, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain had underlined the importance of a continued relationship between the United States and Pakistan.
He noted that the bill "refocuses security assistance to Pakistan on activities that directly support US national security interests".

Riaz Haq said...

US Commander Worries About Aid Taliban Receives From Pakistan, Russia, Iran

http://www.voanews.com/a/us-commander-taliban-pakistan-russia-iran/3621556.html

ISLAMABAD —
The “malign influence” of Pakistan, Russia and Iran with the Taliban-led insurgency, and concerns about future political stability of the Afghan government threaten international efforts aimed at stabilizing the war-raved country, warns a top U.S. commander.

“We’re concerned about the external enablement of the insurgent or terrorist groups inside Afghanistan; in particular where they enjoy sanctuary or support from outside governments,” said General John Nicholson, leader of NATO’s Resolute Support Afghan mission.

He told reporters at the Pentagon Friday, the Haqqani Network of terrorists, which is fighting alongside the Taliban, still poses the greatest threat to Americans, coalition and Afghan partners from its sanctuary in neighboring Pakistan.

“And the Haqqanis hold five American citizens hostage right now,” Nicholson said. “I think this is worth remembering as we think about the Haqqani Network. And they remain a principal concern of ours, and they do enjoy sanctuary inside Pakistan.”

Pakistani officials, however, insist their security forces have uprooted any infrastructure Taliban insurgents and their allies were using for cross-border attacks, and extensive efforts are being undertaken to secure the porous Afghan border.

Russia, Iran

Nicholson raised concern about Taliban insurgents’ links to Russia and Iran, saying they are not advancing the cause of stability in the region.

Moscow is allegedly helping and arming the Taliban in a bid to contain the influence of Islamic State affiliates in Afghanistan and prevent it from threatening neighboring central Asian states.

Speaking at a U.N. General Assembly session late last month in New York, Russian envoy Vladimir Safronkov even called for easing U.N. sanctions on the Taliban for promoting peace talks between warring sides.

“So, Russia has overtly lent legitimacy to the Taliban,” Nicholson said.

But he dismissed assertions about the Taliban’s successes against rival IS fighters. Instead, he said, Afghan forces and the U.S. counterterrorism effort are the ones taking on and “achieving the greatest effect” against loyalists of the Middle Eastern terrorist group in Afghanistan.

“So, this public legitimacy that Russia lends to the Taliban is not based on fact, but it is used as a way to essentially undermine the Afghan government and the NATO effort and bolster the belligerents,” Nicholson added.

Iran and Taliban

The general suggested Shi’ite Iran maintains contacts and influence with the Taliban for similar reasons. He said Afghan officials have engaged both Iranian and Russian governments over the issue.

“We’re hopeful — speaking now as commander Resolute Support — that these outside actors will act in a positive way, so we can work together to help bolster the capability and legitimacy of the Afghan government, not the belligerents,” Nicholson said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia rejects #Indian, #Afghan criticism on #Pakistan. #HeartofAsia #Modi #India https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/169900-Russia-rejects-Indian-Afghan-criticism-on-Pakistan …

Says Heart of Asia Conference shouldn’t be used for point scoring; if Russia doesn’t complain about India-US cooperation, then why complain about Pak-Russia cooperation

AMRITSAR: Russia on Sunday lauded Pakistan's stance at the Heart of Asia conference and said the agenda of the conference has not been hijacked.

Addressing the Heart of Asia Conference in Amritsar on Sunday, Russian envoy Zamir Kabulov rejected the Indian and Afghan criticism on Pakistan and said that Sartaj Aziz's speech at the conference was friendly and constructive. He said it is wrong to criticise Pakistan.

The Russian envoy said that Afghanistan is the pivot of Heart of Asia conference and the agenda of the conference has not been hijacked. He said being friends and supporters, we should avoid the blame game and work together.He said all parties involved in the war-torn country's reconstruction must work together and that the Heart of Asia was not the platform for India and Pakistan to score brownie points.

Downplaying Russia's military exercise with Pakistan held two months ago, Zamir Kabulov, who overseas Russia's engagement in Afghanistan, referred to India's increasing cooperation with the US.

“The HoA should not be used by India and Pakistan for scoring points,” he told reporters. He said bilateral issues should not cloud forums like the Heart of Asia.

Kabulov represented Russia in the Heart of Asia conference where he articulated Moscow's position on Afghanistan's transition. He said all the major players must extend all possible support to Afghanistan in its transition.

“India has close cooperation with the US, does Moscow complain? Then why complain about much lower level of cooperation with Pakistan,” he asked when referred to the Russia-Pakistan military exercise.

India has a strategic partnership with Afghanistan and is implementing projects worth $2 billion to help rebuild the country's infrastructure. The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was launched in 2011 and the participating countries include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Riaz Haq said...

#Kashmir: Can #Trump solve one of the world’s most intractable conflicts? VP-Elect Pence says YES. http://qz.com/852853 via @qzindia

On NBC News’ Meet The Press on Dec. 04, Pence was pressed by journalist Chuck Todd on the incoming Trump administration’s stance on Pakistan. Here’s a transcript of the conversation:
Chuck Todd: So let me jump to Pakistan. The Pakistan prime minister on Thursday, here is the headline in the front page of the international news in Karachi, “Trump says ready to play role in resolution of issues.” So let me ask you, is he offering to mediate border disputes? The pri– I guess Pakistan wanted to imply that, that he was offering to mediate border disputes between Pakistan and India. Is that what he was trying to say?
Mike Pence: Well, clearly there’s been great tension between India and Pakistan in recent days. It’s resulted in violence along the Kashmir region. And I think what the president-elect expressed in conversations with leaders on both countries was a desire for continued US engagement on building the relationship with both of those countries. These are two nuclear powers–
Todd: Right.
Pence: –the president-elect recognises that. And making sure that, that they know that when this administration takes office, that we intend to be fully engaged in the region and fully engaged with both nations to advance peace and security.
Todd: To be a mediator in deciding Kashmir?
Pence: Well, I think, I think, I think in president-elect Donald Trump you’ve got someone who, who is prepared to advance America’s interests here at home, to rebuild this economy, to fight for American jobs. But I think you’re also going to see an energetic leadership in the world, prepared to engage and to look for ways that he can bring those extraordinary deal-making skills to bear on lessening tensions and solving problems in the world.

http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-12-04-16-n691726

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Modi Quietly Okays #Balochistan Specialist's Appointment as Next #RAW Chief to Wage #Terror in #Pakistan http://defencenews.in/article.aspx?id=149455 …

From Indian Defense News dated Dec 5, 2016

Special Director of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) A K Dhasmana is likely to be appointed as the next chief of the country’s external intelligence agency. The 1981-batch Madhya Pradesh cadre IPS officer’s domain of expertise is considered to be Balochistan, counter-terrorism and Islamic affairs. He also has a vast experience on Pakistan and Afghanistan. He has served in key capitals, including London and Frankfurt and has also handled SAARC and Europe desks. The post of the RAW chief is falling vacant on January 31, 2017, with the incumbent retiring after a two-year stint. The RAW chief has a fixed tenure of two years unless the government extends the service length or the appointee. Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Special Director A K Dhasmana is likely to be appointed as the next chief of the country’s external intelligence agency.

------

Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Special Director A K Dhasmana is likely to be appointed as the next chief of the country’s external intelligence agency. He is considered to be an expert in Balochistan affairs.

In his Independence Day speech this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, “I want to express my gratitude to the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and PoK for the way they whole-heartedly thanked me.... People of a distant land I haven’t even seen....When they thank the Indian PM, it’s an honour for the 125 crore people of the country...”

Implicit in the statement was a veiled threat to the Pak political and military leadership that India too can needle them for the state-sponsored atrocities in these areas held by Islamabad and target that country’s unity and integrity. The PM’s statement came in the backdrop of brazen Pak stance to dedicate its Independence Day to freedom of Kashmir and stoking violence in J&K following Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani’s death. This was the first time an Indian PM raised the Balochistan issue.
Dhasmana is also known to enjoy National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s confidence. He will replace present RAW chief Rajinder Khanna.

India has been pussyfooting on human rights violations in Balochistan though Pakistan has been exploiting the ‘K’ word to the hilt at different international fora.
Officials close to Dhasmana said he is a go-getter and has an extensive network in the region. Through his vast experience and elaborate asset base in the region, he was able to stall the construction of Gwadar port by about six years, a senior agency said.

Meanwhile, the race for the top post in another key covert agency Intelligence Bureau (IB) is also gaining pace with the tenure of current Director Dineshwar Sharma ending on December 31. Three contenders—Special Directors SK Sinha and Rajiv Jain and Mumbai Police Commissioner Dattatray Palsalgikar—are in the fray.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2016/dec/03/baloch-specialist-to-helm-raw-1545349.html

Riaz Haq said...

#Saudis Bankroll #Taliban, Even as King Officially Supports #Afghan Government
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/06/world/asia/saudi-arabia-afghanistan.html?_r=1

KABUL, Afghanistan — Fifteen years, half a trillion dollars and 150,000 lives since going to war, the United States is trying to extricate itself from Afghanistan. Afghans are being left to fight their own fight. A surging Taliban insurgency, meanwhile, is flush with a new inflow of money.

With their nation’s future at stake, Afghan leaders have renewed a plea to one power that may hold the key to whether their country can cling to democracy or succumbs to the Taliban. But that power is not the United States.

It is Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is critical because of its unique position in the Afghan conflict: It is on both sides.

A longtime ally of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia has backed Islamabad’s promotion of the Taliban. Over the years, wealthy Saudi sheikhs and rich philanthropists have also stoked the war by privately financing the insurgents.

All the while, Saudi Arabia has officially, if coolly, supported the American mission and the Afghan government and even secretly sued for peace in clandestine negotiations on their behalf.

The contradictions are hardly accidental. Rather, they balance conflicting needs within the kingdom, pursued through both official policy and private initiative.

The dual tracks allow Saudi officials plausibly to deny official support for the Taliban, even as they have turned a blind eye to private funding of the Taliban and other hard-line Sunni groups.

The result is that the Saudis — through private or covert channels — have tacitly supported the Taliban in ways that make the kingdom an indispensable power broker.

In interviews with The New York Times, a former Taliban finance minister described how he traveled to Saudi Arabia for years raising cash while ostensibly on pilgrimage.

The Taliban have also been allowed to raise millions more by extorting “taxes” by pressing hundreds of thousands of Pashtun guest workers in the kingdom and menacing their families back home, said Vali Nasr, a former State Department adviser.

Yet even as private Saudi money backed the Taliban, Saudi intelligence once covertly mediated a peace effort that Taliban officials and others involved described in full to The Times for the first time.

Playing multiple sides of the same geopolitical equation is one way the Saudis further their own strategic interests, analysts and officials say.

But it also threatens to undermine the fragile democratic advances made by the United States in the past 15 years, and perhaps undo efforts to liberalize the country.

The United States now finds itself trying to persuade its putative ally to play a constructive rather than destructive role. Meanwhile, the Afghans have come to view Saudi Arabia as both friend and foe.

The question now, as Afghan officials look for help, is which Saudi Arabia will they get?

Prince Turki al-Faisal, who led the Saudi intelligence agency for over 24 years and later served as ambassador to the United States until his retirement in 2007, rejected any suggestion that Saudi Arabia had ever supported the Taliban.

“When I was in government, not a single penny went to the Taliban,” he wrote in emailed comments.

He added that the “stringent measures taken by the kingdom to prevent any transfer of money to terrorist groups” had been recognized by Daniel L. Glaser, the United States assistant secretary for terrorist financing at the Treasury, in testimony to Congress in June.

Others say the verdict is still out. “We know there has been this financing that has gone on for years,” Hanif Atmar, director of the Afghan National Security Council, said in an interview. “This sustains the terrorist war machine in Afghanistan and in the region, and it will have to be stopped.”