Saturday, September 18, 2021

AUKUS: An Anglo Alliance Against China?

In the recently announced AUKUS alliance, the US has joined the United Kingdom to arm Australia with nuclear-powered submarines to check China's rise. This announcement has not only upset the Chinese but it has also enraged France. The French are angry because AUKUS has scuttled Australia's earlier agreement to purchase diesel-powered submarines from France. 

President Biden Announcing Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) Alliance

India, a member of the anti-China QUAD alliance, has welcomed AUKUS. Although AUKUS appears to be de-emphasizing QUAD that includes India and Japan, the Indians see it as a green-light from the United States for them to pursue expansion of their nuclear submarine fleet.  China could respond to this growing threat by arming its ally Pakistan with nuclear-powered submarines

“This looks like a new geopolitical order without binding alliances,” said Nicole Bacharan, a researcher at Sciences Po in Paris. France's foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, called the decision a “knife in the back.” Benjamin Haddad, from the Atlantic Council, in Washington, said it had set relations between the US and France back to their lowest point since the Iraq War.  Bruno Tertrais, an analyst at France’s Foundation for Strategic Research think tank, went even further, calling it a “Trafalgar strike”,  a reference to the 1805 naval battle between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies that was won by the British. “To confront China, the United States appears to have chosen a different alliance, with the Anglo-Saxon world separate from France.” She predicted a “very hard” period in the old friendship between Paris and Washington, according to a report in the New York Times. 

Nicole Bacharan's reference to the "Anglo-Saxon world" is not just an angry outburst. A real life example of the Anglo-Saxon alliance is "Five Eyes", an intelligence alliance among Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Ex NSA contractor Edward Snowden has called "Five Eyes" as a "supra-national intelligence organization that does not answer to the known laws of its own countries".  

Part of the motivation for the Anglo-Saxon AUKUS alliance is that France and the rest of the European Union do not want a direct confrontation with China. This was underscored in a recent policy paper titled the “E.U. Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific". French President Emanuel Macron has been talking about "European strategic autonomy".  He has spoken about an autonomous Europe operating “beside America and China.”  

Although the AUKUS announcement does not explicitly mention China, it has drawn a strong response from Beijing. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian has said,"The international community, including neighboring countries, have risen to question [Australia’s] commitment to nuclear non-proliferation." “China will closely monitor the situation", he added. 


A piece titled "China--a lonely superpower" by Henry Storey in Lowy Institute's "The Interpreter" has speculated about a “new Quad” led by China and featuring Iran, Pakistan and Russia, all members of Shanghai Cooperation Council (SCO). Here is an excerpt of it:

"As the United States, United Kingdom and Australia move to form a new AUKUS grouping, various reports have emerged of a “new Quad” led by China and featuring Iran, Pakistan and Russia......Despite bombastic talk of an “iron brother” bond, Islamabad is deeply reluctant to become – or be perceived to be – a Chinese vassal state. These concerns explicitly motivated Pakistan to seek a moderate rapprochement with India and explain Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to rebuild ties with the United States".

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Karachi-Born US Senator Van Hollen Stands Up For Pakistan During Afghanistan Hearing

Maryland Democrat Chis Van Hollen, a key US senator who was born in Karachi, said it was the Trump administration that asked Pakistan to release the top three Taliban leaders for US-Taliban peace talks in Doha Qatar. He was speaking at a recent US Senate hearing on the fall of Kabul to the Taliban and the chaotic US withdrawal that followed the Afghan Army collapse

Senator Chris Van Hollen


Senator Chris Van Hollen was born in 1959 in Karachi where his father was serving as a foreign service officer at the US Embassy in Karachi, Pakistan. His father later served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (1969–1972) and US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives (1972–1976). His mother worked for the CIA as chief of the intelligence bureau for South Asia.

“Is it not the fact that the Trump administration asked the Pakistani government to release three top Taliban commanders as part of that (peace) process?” Senator Van Hollen asked. Targeting the Trump administration, Van Hollen continued, “And so, we pick a date. We say to the Taliban you can attack Afghan forces and then we say, now let’s negotiate the future of Afghanistan. Isn’t the way it was set up when you walked in?” “That’s essentially, yes," Blinken replied.   

Referring to allegations of Pakistan's complicity in promoting chaos in Afghanistan, Senator Van Hollen said, “I think a number of those countries, at least Pakistan — like India, like the others — have an interest in preventing chaos and civil war in Afghanistan".

Here's the exchange between Van Hollen and Blinken at the Afghanistan hearing on Capitol Hill:

 Van Hollen: “Is it not the fact that the Trump administration asked the Pakistani government to release three top Taliban commanders as part of that process?” 

Blinken: “That’s correct".

Van Hollen: “And one of them is now number two in the Taliban government, Baradar, right?”

Blinken: “That’s correct.” 

Van Hollen: “He is the person everybody saw in those photos in Kabul, right?” 

Mr Blinken: “That’s correct.” 

Van Hollen: “And there was another senior commander, and they began the discussions in Doha.” 

Blinken: “That’s right.” 

Van Hollen: “They (US negotiators) did not include the Afghan government, did they?” 

Blinken: “That’s right, correct.” 

Van Hollen: “And they in fact essentially ordered, pressured, the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, right?” 

Blinken: “That’s correct.” 

Van Hollen: “Many of those fighters are involved in the attack on Kabul today, right?” 

Blinken: “Yes.” 

Van Hollen: “Now, let’s see what the negotiation was: the US will leave by a certain date in May this year, right?” 

Blinken: “Correct.” 

Van Hollen: “You can’t attack American forces, but you can attack the Afghan forces with impunity, right?” 

Blinken: “That’s correct.” 

Van Hollen: “And so, we pick a date. We say to the Taliban you can attack Taliban forces and then we say, now let’s negotiate the future of Afghanistan. Isn’t the way it was set up when you walked in?”

Blinken: “That’s essentially, yes.” . 


British Defense Forces Chief General Sir Nick Carter is another western leader who has defended Pakistan recently. Responding to the familiar charge of "safe havens" for Taliban in Pakistan, General Nick Carter told BBC's Yalda Hakim that Pakistanis have hosted millions of Afghan refugees for many years and "they end up with all sorts of people". "We would be very worried if they heartlessly kicked out" the Afghans from Pakistan. He said that Pakistan's Army Chief General Bajwa genuinely wants to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. 

Carter Malkasian, former advisor to US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Dunford, has also recently talked about how Afghan governments have scapegoated Pakistan for their own failures. He said: "Let’s take Pakistan, for example. Pakistan is a powerful factor here. But on the battlefield, if 200 Afghan police and army are confronted with 50 Taliban or less than that, and those government forces retreat, that doesn’t have a lot to do with Pakistan. That has to do with something else". 

In another discussion,  Malkasian explained the rapid advance of the Taliban and the collapse of the Afghan government led by President Ashraf Ghani. Here's what he said:

Over time, aware of the government’s vulnerable position, Afghan leaders turned to an outside source to galvanize the population: Pakistan. Razziq, President Hamid Karzai and later President Ashraf Ghani used Pakistan as an outside threat to unite Afghans behind them. They refused to characterize the Taliban as anything but a creation of Islamabad. Razziq relentlessly claimed to be fighting a foreign Pakistani invasion. Yet Pakistan could never fully out-inspire occupation.  

Many westerners, including politicians, generals, analysts and journalists, are angry with Pakistan for the stinging US defeat in Afghanistan. They are trying to scapegoat Pakistan for the West's failed policies. Some want to punish Pakistan. However, many of them also recognize the importance of Pakistan in dealing with the aftermath of the Afghan fiasco. American analyst Michael Kugelman recently tweeted about America's use of Pakistani airspace (ALOCS) for "over-the-horizon" counter-terrorism ops in Afghanistan, underlining Pakistan's importance to the United States.  

US Analyst Michael Kugelman on American Reliance on Pakistan

A recent piece in Politico summed up US reliance on Pakistan as follows :

"The Biden administration has been unusually circumspect about revealing its contacts and discussions with Pakistan. While Pakistan’s actions often appear at odds with the United States, it nonetheless is a nation with links to the Afghan Taliban whose cooperation on fighting terrorism can be helpful. It’s also a nuclear-armed country American officials would prefer not to lose entirely to Chinese influence".  

Monday, September 13, 2021

Can Afghanistan Satisfy Tech Industries' Insatiable Appetite For Rare Earths?

Afghanistan is rich! The world's "poorest country" is known to have trillions of dollars worth of rare earths and other minerals buried underground. Rare earths are essential for the global supply chain of the technology industry. They are considered a "critical resource" for US national security.  A US Defense Department report has described Afghanistan as "Saudi Arabia of Lithium". Pakistan, too, is believed to be rich in rare earths. Peace and security are key to unlocking the potential mineral riches in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is where both nations need to focus for a brighter future for their peoples.

Uses of Rare Earth Elements. Source: Natural Resources of Canada

Rare earth elements (REEs) are a group of 15 elements referred to as the lanthanide series in the periodic table of elements. Scandium and yttrium, while not true REEs, are also included in this categorization because they exhibit similar properties to the lanthanides and are found in the same ore bodies. REEs are key components in many electronic devices that we use in our daily lives, as well as in a variety of industrial applications, according to the Natural Resources of Canada website

   

Rare Elements in the Periodic Table

Rare earth elements go into a variety of industrial applications, including electronics, clean energy, aerospace, automotive and defense. Permanent magnets alone account for 38% of total forecasted demand for rare earths. Rapid growth in Lithium-Ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) represents another major opportunity for Afghanistan. The Chinese appear ready to invest billions of US dollars in Afghanistan to extract this wealth. The extension of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure into Afghanistan can facilitate the export of these minerals through Pakistani ports in Gwadar and Karachi. 

The Afghan mineral wealth was first discovered and mapped by Russian geologists during the Soviet occupation of the country in the 1980s. These maps were used by American geologists from the US Geological Survey in 2010 to conduct aerial surveys using P-3 Orion naval patrol aircrafts equipped with sensors. A US Defense Department report written soon after this discovery called Afghanistan "Saudi Arabia of Lithium".  

With the Taliban request to join China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),  China appears to be the leading candidate to win mining rights for rare earths in Afghanistan. Already, China has acquired rights to develop copper mining at Aynak Copper Field in Afghanistan. Back in 2007, China Metallurgical Group agreed to invest billions of dollars in the project and related infrastructure development -- including the construction of a coal-fired electrical power plant and what would be Afghanistan's first freight railway, according to a Radio Free Europe report.  Geologists estimate that Aynak is the world's largest undeveloped copper field.    

Pakistan's Balochistan province, too, is believed to be rich in rare earth elements. Here is how an expert who asked not to be named explained the mining potential in Balochistan: 

"The Pegmatite rock that covers much of Balochistan (and other parts of Pakistan as well) has several different gems, in it which have been mined for a long time. These are easy to visualize as they differ in color from the rest of the rock, and can be removed with a small geologist's hammer. Pegmatite, though, also contains uranium which can be separated using a Geiger Counter, and rare metals and rare earths. Some of these like Lithium can be separated relatively easily. Others like Samarium and Dysprosium are vastly more difficult to separate because you need X-Ray equipment to help identify them. Also, their presence is very small - that is why they are classed as "rare." The presence of many of these metals was not known to science until recently and until the Japanese began to use them in electronics, hardly any effort was made to mine them. Now, of course, they are all the rage because they have been found especially useful in the latest "green" generation equipment as well as in defense and other applications. Indeed, until China banned their sale to Japan, no one really even bothered about them - it suited the Japanese to remain quiet as they were getting very good prices for these resources from an unaware Chinese, and the same thing is now happening in other parts of the world, in Pakistan in this case. Much of the testing that is involved here is difficult and requires very advanced technical equipment, and even methods like gas spectrometry etc may not help identify materials that exist in extremely small percentages in soil or rock. In India for example, some of these metal reserves were not known until the USGS first and then the Russians helped analyze soil and rocks across the country. If nothing else, the Indians formed a government owned company called Indian Rare earths Limited which comes under the Atomic Energy Commission and is directly under the Prime Minister of India. They do seem to have handled the conservation and exploitation of these reserves far better than is being done in Pakistan." 

Peace and security are key to unlocking the potential mineral riches in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is where both nations need to focus on for a brighter future for their peoples. 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Rare Earths in Pakistan?

Finding Pakistan's Mineral Wealth From the Sky

Brief History of Pakistan Economy 

Can Pakistan Avoid Recurring IMF Bailouts?

History of Pakistan Business and Industry

CPEC Financing: Is China Ripping Off Pakistan?

Pakistan's Lagging Industrial Output

Pakistan is 5th Largest Motorcycle Market

"Failed State" Pakistan Saw 22% Growth in Per Capita Income in Last 5 Years

CPEC Transforming Pakistan

Pakistan's $20 Billion Tourism Industry Boom

Home Appliance Ownership in Pakistani Households

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Islamophobia in America Has Doubled in 20 Years After 911 Terrorist Attacks

Muslims in America and the rest of the world have suffered the most since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. Washington responded to the attacks by launching its "global war on terror" that has been seen by many Muslims as "global war on Muslims". People in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Libya and many other parts of the world have seen their lives upended. American Muslims, too, have been the victims of hate crimes. Countries like India and Israel have taken advantage of the "global war on terror" to try to crush genuine independence movements in Kashmir and Palestine.  

Anti-Muslim Sentiments Survey. Source: Pew Research


Pew Survey Results: 

Pew Research has recently reported that anti-Muslim sentiments in the United States have doubled since 2001 from 25% to 50% of the respondents associating Muslims and Islam with violence. Islamophobia among Republicans is up from 32% to 72% in last two decades. Among Democrats, Islamophobia has risen from 23% to 32% in this period.     

The FBI data shows that anti-Islamic hate crimes rose from 28 incidents in the year 2000 to 481 in 2001. That's a 1,617% increase in just one year. 20 years later, those numbers are still high. In 2019, anti-Islamic hate crimes made up 13.3% of all religion-based attacks in the U.S. Muslims make up about 1% of the US population. 


Islamophobia Goes Mainstream: 
 
Islamophobia is no longer extreme; the year 2017 saw it go mainstream in Europe, India, the United States and several other parts of the world.

Openly Islamophobic Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as president of the United States in 2017. India's largest state of Uttar Pradesh elected rabidly anti-Muslim chief minister Yogi Adiyanath who was hand-picked by Muslim-hating Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017.  Neo-Nazis made significant electoral gains with their anti-Islam rhetoric in several European nations while Burma and Israel continued to get away with the murder of  innocent Muslim civilians in 2017.

These alarming trends are reminiscent of the rise of Nazi Party led by Germany's Adolf Hitler who brought disaster to Europe and the rest of the world less than a century ago.

Trump's Muslim Ban:

The year of Islamophobia began in earnest on January 20, 2017 with the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump who called for "total and complete shutdown" of  Muslims entering the United States during his successful electoral campaign. Among the first executive orders he signed was a "Muslim Ban" from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Then came an avalanche of a large number of Islamophobic tweets and retweets from Trump's twitter account. Some recent Trump retweets were of tweets from Britain First's Jayda Fransen. These tweets and retweets were swiftly denounced by top British and Dutch officials. Trump did not apologize.

Trump developed a pattern of using terror attacks to tweet against Muslims while ignoring similar or worse terror attacks by others.

Trump closed the year with recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a recognition that prior US administrations had withheld pending negotiations and final settlement of the issues between Israelis and Palestinians.

Hindu Nazis in India:

Yogi Adiyanath, known for his highly inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric, was hand-picked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to head India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.

Yogi wants to "install statues of Goddess Gauri, Ganesh and Nandi in every mosque”.  Before his election, he said, “If one Hindu is killed, we won’t go to the police, we’ll kill 10 Muslims”.  He endorsed the beef lynching of Indian Muslim Mohammad Akhlaque and demanded that the victim's family be charged with cow slaughter.

In an op ed titled "Hitler's Hindus: The Rise and Rise of India's Nazi-Loving Nationalists" published by leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz, author Shrenik Rao has raised alarm bells about "large and growing community of Indian Hindu Nazis, who are digitally connected to neo-Nazi counterparts across the world".


Rao talks about Nagpur, a town he describes as the "epicenter of Hindu Nationalism", where he found  ‘Hitler’s Den’ pool parlor "that shocked me on a round-India trip 10 years ago was no outlier. Admiration for Nazism – often reframed with a genocidal hatred for Muslims – is rampant in the Hindu nationalist camp, which has never been as mainstream as it is now".

Hindu nationalists in India have a long history of admiration for the Nazi leader, including his "Final Solution". In his book "We" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) wrote, "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

Golwalkar, considered the founder of the Hindu Nationalist movement in India, saw Islam and Muslims as enemies. He said: “Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindusthan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting to shake off the despoilers".

Islamophobia in Europe:

Dutch expert Cas Mudde, an associate professor at the University of Georgia summed up the rise of Islamophobes in Europe well when he said: "The far right in Europe is more popular today than it was at any time in postwar history".

Alternative für Deutschland (AFD), a modern re-incarnation of Hitler's Nazi Party, stunned the world by becoming the third largest party in German Bundestag in 2017.

Last year, AFD's anti-Islam policies replaced its anti-EU focus with the slogan “Islam is not a part of Germany” emerging from the party’s spring 2017 conference.

In Austria, far-right Freedom Party candidate Sebastian Kurz was recently elected chancellor on the party's anti-Islam platform.

Earlier in 2017, the Dutch anti-Islam Freedom Party of Geert Wilders became the second largest force in parliament.

The French National Front (FN) of Marine Le Pen received nearly 34 percent of votes in the May 2017 presidential run-off that was won by Emmanuel Macron.

Neo-Nazis and Hindu Nazis on Social Media:

The advent and growth of online social media have enabled a large and growing community of Indian Hindu Nazis connected to neo-Nazi counterparts in Europe and America.  This came to light a few years ago when the Norwegian white supremacist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik's manifesto against the "Islamization of Western Europe" was heavily influenced by the kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric which is typical of the Nazi-loving Hindu Nationalists like late Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906-1973), and his present-day Sangh Parivar followers and sympathizers in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who currently rule several Indian states. This Hindutva rhetoric which infected Breivik has been spreading like a virus on the Internet, particularly on many of the well-known Islamophobic hate sites that have sprouted up in Europe and America in recent years. In fact, much of the Breivik manifesto is cut-and-pastes of anti-Muslim blog posts and columns that validated his worldview.

"It is essential that the European and Indian resistance movements learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible. Our goals are more or less identical," Breivick wrote in his manifesto. The Christian Science Monitor has reported that "in the case of India, there is significant overlap between Breivik’s rhetoric and strains of Hindu nationalism – or Hindutva – on the question of coexistence with Muslims. Human rights monitors have long decried such rhetoric in India for creating a milieu for communal violence, and the Norway incidents are prompting calls here to confront the issue."

Indian Textbooks Praise Nazis:

Adulation for Hitler has found its way into Indian textbooks to influence young impressionable minds. Here's how Rao describes it:

In 2004, when now-Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, school textbooks published by the Gujarat State Board portrayed Hitler as a hero, and glorified fascism.

The tenth-grade social studies textbook had chapters entitled "Hitler, the Supremo," and "Internal Achievements of Nazism." The section on the "Ideology of Nazism" reads: "Hitler lent dignity and prestige to the German government. He adopted the policy of opposition towards the Jewish people and advocated the supremacy of the German race." The tenth-grade social studies textbook, published by the state of Tamil Nadu in 2011 (with multiple revised editions until 2017) includes chapters glorifying Hitler, praising his "inspiring leadership," "achievements" and how the Nazis "glorified the German state" so, "to maintain a German race with Nordic elements, [Hitler] ordered the Jews to be persecuted."

Mein Kampf has also gone mainstream, becoming a "must-read" management strategy book for India’s business school students. Professors teaching strategy lecture about how a short, depressed man in prison made a goal of taking over the world and built a strategy to achieve it.

Modi and Trump:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has built his entire political career on the intense hatred of  Muslims. US President Donald Trump built his successful presidential campaign on Islamophobia and xenophobia. That's what the two men have in common.

Just as white racists form the core of Trump's support base in America, the Modi phenomenon in India has been fueled by Hindu Nationalists whose leaders have praised Adolph Hitler for his hatred of Jews.

M.S. Golwalkar, a Hindu Nationalist who Mr. Modi has described as "worthy of worship" wrote the following about Muslims in his book "We":

 "Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening.”

"To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

Summary:

Pew Research has recently reported that anti-Muslim sentiments in the United States have doubled since 2001 from 25% to 50% of the respondents associating Muslims and Islam with violence. Countries like India and Israel have taken advantage of the "global war on terror" to try to crush genuine independence movements in Kashmir and Palestine. The simultaneous rise of Neo Nazis in the West and the Hindu Nazis in India represents a very serious and growing threat to world peace. Their combined menace can lead to a devastating third world war with nuclear weapons if these trends are not halted and reversed soon. I hope good sense prevails among the voters in these countries to pull the world back from the brink of human catastrophe.

Friday, September 3, 2021

British Defense Minister Questions America's Superpower Status

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace appears to be questioning whether the United States is still a superpower after its recent hasty retreat from Afghanistan. Wallace served in the British military prior to entering politics. 

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace


In an interview with Katy Balls recently published in The Spectator, Wallace said: "It is obvious that Britain is not a superpower. But a superpower that is also not prepared to stick at something isn’t probably a superpower either. It is certainly not a global force, it’s just a big power". "Britain hasn’t been able to field a mass army for 50 years — if not longer". "It was always part of a massive international effort — so I think our defense paper is in exactly the right space". Britain, he says, still has "a huge range of tools at our disposal: from soft to hard power, economic power, scientific power and cultural power".    

Wallace appears to be developing a reputation as a straight-talker who has angered some among the western elite. He recently defended British Defense Forces Chief General Sir Nick Carter's remarks supporting Pakistan. Responding to the familiar charge of "safe havens" for Taliban in Pakistan, General Nick Carter told BBC's Yalda Hakim that Pakistanis have hosted millions of Afghan refugees for many years and "they end up with all sorts of people". "We would be very worried if they heartlessly kicked out" the Afghans from Pakistan. He said that Pakistan's Army Chief General Bajwa genuinely wants to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. 

General Sir Nick Carter also called the Taliban "a group of country boys who live by a code of honor" and said that they wanted an "inclusive" country. When asked about these comments, Wallace said in Carter's defense: "He also said that he will see if they change. We are where we are, the Taliban are running the country." Asked whether he was defending Sir Nick, Mr Wallace said: "Of course I am defending him. Nick Carter knows more than I will ever know about Afghanistan and the Taliban and more than most people. He is a deeply experienced general. He also told the BBC it "may well be a Taliban that is more reasonable, less repressive and, if you look at the way it is governing Kabul at the moment, there are some indications that it is more reasonable".  

While Wallace is the first among top western leaders to question the United States status as a superpower, there have been others such as Singaporean diplomat Kishore Mahbubani who has been talking about it for sometime. 

Mahbubani, a prolific writer and speaker, believes that the western domination of the world over the last 200 years is "aberrant" when seen in the context of the last several thousand years of human history.  In his book "Has China Won", he writes that "we are also moving away from a black-and-white world". "Societies in different parts of the world, including in China and Islamic societies, are going to work toward a different balance between liberty and order, between freedom and control, between discord and harmony". 

Kishore Mahbubabi


In a recent interview, Mahbubani made the following points about US-China competition: 

1. The United States with about 240-year history likes to pass judgement on China which has over 2,400 year history. What makes the US think China would listen to the American advice? 


2. The West is in the habit of judging everyone, including the Chinese. The Chinese have just had the best 30 years of their history. Would the Chinese listen to the American advice on "democracy" and political freedoms after they have seen what happened to Russia when the Russians decided to adopt democracy in the1990s and their economy collapsed? 

3. More than 120 million Chinese tourists go to other countries freely and willingly return to China every year. Would they return freely if China was an oppressive stalinist regime? The fact is that while political freedoms have not increased there has been an explosion of personal freedoms in China over the last 30 years.

Global Power Shift Since Industrial Revolution



A recent post-COVID survey conducted by the Washington Post shows that Chinese citizens’ trust in their national government has jumped to 98%. Their trust in local government also increased compared to 2018 levels — 91% of Chinese citizens surveyed now said they trust or trust completely the township-level government. Trust levels rose to 93% at the county level, 94% at the city level and 95% at the provincial level. 

An earlier 2018 World Values Survey reported that 95% of Chinese citizens said that they have a great deal or quite a lot of trust in the national government. Comparatively, about 69% felt the same way about their local government. 

Here's a video of Mahbubani's interview:

https://youtu.be/KaPFmYxWMzI




Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Unprecedented Boom in Pakistan's Technology Sector

Pakistan's technology sector is in the midst of an unprecedented boom. It is being fueled by the country's growing human capital and rising investments in technology startups. A recent tweet by Swedish fund manager Mattias Martinsson captured it well when he wrote, "Have followed Pakistan for 15 years. Can't recall any time time when VC activity was anywhere near we've seen in the last few months. Impact of reforms kicking in?".  New laws have made it easier to create startups and offered greater protection to investors.  Digital infrastructure has expanded with over 100 million smartphones and an equal number of broadband subscriptions. 

Source: Twitter


Pakistan is churning out more than 30,000 information technology graduates every year. Over three-quarters of Pakistanis in the top three metros of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad are regularly using the internet. Technology startups are on track to attract more than $230 million in venture capital investments this year, almost 5 times greater than vc investments last year. Technology exports are increasing by double digits every year, reaching $2.1 billion in the fiscal year that ended in June 2021.  Pakistani freelancers' revenue grew 47% last year, the highest growth in Asia and the fourth highest in the world. 

Over Half of All Pakistanis Are Connected to the Internet. Source: Google-Kantar

Pakistan has seen a phenomenal growth of 3500% in broadband subscriptions over the last 8 years . Pakistanis now own more than 103 million smartphones with mobile broadband subscriptions. In a Youtube presentation of the report, Faraz Azhar, Industry Head, Performance, South Asia Frontier Markets, Google said: “With half of its population on the internet - Pakistan is now online!"  

Pakistan's Middle Class Growth Among World's Fastest

Google Search and YouTube are the most popular Internet applications in Pakistan, according to the study. YouTube is used by nearly 90% of all internet users in Pakistan for streaming music and watching video/TV, and 38% of Pakistan's internet users go to YouTube in the research phase of their shopping journey. 

Pakistan has also experienced an e-commerce boom in the midst of the COVID pandemic. 71% of Pakistani shoppers find purchasing products or services online easy, while 66% find it convenient. Another 54%  find that online shopping websites or apps give personalized product recommendations, which answer common questions. Two-thirds of consumers believe that online shopping is the way forward. They say they will continue to buy products or services online after the COVID-19 pandemic.    

Faraz Azhar, Industry Head, Performance, South Asia Frontier Markets, Google said: “With half of its population on the internet - Pakistan is now online! This is the first time Google and Kantar released a study to understand more about Pakistan’s internet population. But it’s not only about people getting online, this research has uncovered new insights and behaviors that show how COVID is impacting online behaviour and the digital opportunities waiting to be unlocked.” 

Global Investors of Pakistani Startups. Source: Google-Kantar


"More people are coming online in Pakistan, creating a great opportunity for eCommerce businesses - if they are ready to seize it. As we see more exploration of the internet beyond social, e-retailers can capture natural cross-category purchasing on its rise, but only if they have first established themselves and their product offering in an online marketplace," he said.

Pakistan Startup Funding. Source: Google-Kantar


With expanding Internet infrastructure and rapidly growing user base, Pakistan is now seeing robust growth in venture money pouring into technology startups. Pakistani startups are on track to attract more than $230 million in funding in 2021, more funds than all the money raised by Pakistani startups in their entire history. A recent example is Kleiner Perkins, a top Silicon Valley venture capital investment firm, that led a series A round of $17 million investment into Pakistani start-up Tajir. The startup operates an online marketplace for small store merchants in Pakistan. The announcement came via a tweet by Mamoon Hamid, a Pakistani-American Managing Partner at Kleiner Perkins who led the investment. Last year, Tajir raised a $1.8 million seed round.  The company's revenue has increased by 10x since its seed round. 

Pakistan Technology Exports Trend 2007-2021. Source: Arif Habib


Pakistan's technology exports are experiencing rapid growth in double digits over the last decade. Total technology exports jumped 47% to $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2020-21. 

Pakistan University Enrollment Growth. Source: Encyclopedia of Higher Education

The foundation for Pakistan's digital transformation was laid with the higher education reform starting in the year 2001 on President Musharraf's watch. With a huge increase in higher education funding, Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr. Ata ur Rehman succeeded in establishing 51 new universities during 2002-2008. As a result, university enrollment (which had reached only 275,000  from 1947 to 2003) soared to about 800,000 in 2008. This helped build a significant human capital that drove the IT revolution in Pakistan.      

Please watch the following video presentation for more details on Pakistan's technology startup ecosystem:

https://youtu.be/ePApXOM3vkQ

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Pakistani Security Officials Had Warned of Afghan Army's Collapse

Pakistani security officials had warned Americans and Indians that the Afghan Army would collapse when faced with the Taliban onslaught, according to multiple people including American journalist Steve Coll and Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Former US Ambassador Ryan Crocker who has served in both Afghanistan and Pakistan has recently written that Pakistanis' skepticism has been validated. 

Afghan National Army

In response to a question posed by New Yorker staff writer Isaac Chotiner, Steve Coll, author of "Directorate S" about Pakistan ISI, said, "I remember talking to the Pakistani generals about this (US building Afghan Army) circa 2012. And they all said, “You just can’t do that. It won’t work.” They turned out to be right". Here's the relevant excerpt of the New Yorker interview published on August 15, 2021: 

Isaac Chotiner: Why, ultimately, was it so hard to stand up the Afghan military to a greater extent than America did? Was it some lack of political legitimacy? Some problem with the actual training? 

Steve Coll: I don’t know what proportion of the factors, including the ones you listed, to credit. But I think that the one additional reason it didn’t work was the sheer scale of the ambition. And this was visible in Iraq as well. Building a standing army of three hundred thousand in a country that has been shattered by more than forty consecutive years of war and whose economy is almost entirely dependent on external aid—that just doesn’t work. What did work was what at various stages people thought might be possible, which was to build a stronger, more coherent, better-trained force, which has effectively been the only real fighting force on behalf of the Kabul government over the past few years. This force is referred to as commandos or Special Forces, but it is basically twenty or thirty thousand people. That you can build with a lot of investment and hands-on training. But you can’t just create an army of three hundred thousand. I remember talking to the Pakistani generals about this circa 2012. And they all said, “You just can’t do that. It won’t work.” They turned out to be right.

2013 video clip of Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has recently surfaced in which he essentially confirms what Steve Coll told The New Yorker.  Doval can be heard saying that the 325,000 strong Afghan Army and police will deliver. He said the Afghan Army is well trained and sufficiently motivated. Doval believed the Afghan National Army will defend the Afghan state and Afghanistan's constitution and democracy irrespective of what happens at the political level, he added. Doval said he didn't believe 15-20 Pakistani security officials who have told him otherwise. He said he never believes anything the Pakistanis say.  

Former US Ambassador Ryan Crocker who has served in both Afghanistan and Pakistan has written in a New York Times Op Ed that "We (Americans) have again validated their (Pakistanis') skepticism".  Here's an excerpt of Crocket's Op Ed:

I pushed Pakistani officials repeatedly on the need to deny the Taliban safe havens. The answer I got back over time went like this: “We know you. We know you don’t have patience for the long fight. We know the day will come when you just get tired and go home — it’s what you do. But we aren’t going anywhere — this is where we live. So if you think we are going to turn the Taliban into a mortal enemy, you are completely crazy.” We have again validated their skepticism.

In a recent interview with BBC's Yalda Hakim, General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the British Armed Forces, has said that the Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa is an upright man. Carter said that General Bajwa wanted to see a peaceful and moderate Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan had to face various challenges. Pakistan sheltered 3.5 million Afghan refugees on its soil. The British military chief said Pakistan had set up barricades on the Afghan border and was keeping a close eye on border traffic.  

Carter Malkasian, former advisor to US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Dunford, has recently talked about how Afghan governments have scapegoated Pakistan for their failures. He said: "Let’s take Pakistan, for example. Pakistan is a powerful factor here. But on the battlefield, if 200 Afghan police and army are confronted with 50 Taliban or less than that, and those government forces retreat, that doesn’t have a lot to do with Pakistan. That has to do with something else". 

In another discussion,  Malkasian explained the rapid advance of the Taliban and the collapse of the Afghan government led by President Ashraf Ghani. Here's what he said:

Over time, aware of the government’s vulnerable position, Afghan leaders turned to an outside source to galvanize the population: Pakistan. Razziq, President Hamid Karzai and later President Ashraf Ghani used Pakistan as an outside threat to unite Afghans behind them. They refused to characterize the Taliban as anything but a creation of Islamabad. Razziq relentlessly claimed to be fighting a foreign Pakistani invasion. Yet Pakistan could never fully out-inspire occupation.  


Saturday, August 21, 2021

Has Pakistan Achieved Herd Immunity Against COVID19?

How widespread are coronavirus infections and vaccinations in Pakistan? Has Pakistan achieved herd immunity or close to achieving it?  The latest IHME (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation) report on Pakistan (dated August 19, 2021) claims that "about 81% of the population have been infected, and about 65% are immune to the Delta variant". It says that the "cases and deaths are declining in Pakistan, but the situation remains fragile".      

The report defines two types of coronavirus variants: escape and non-escape. The escape variants include Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1) and Delta (India) variants while non-escape variants are the original ancestral virus and Alpha (UK) variant.  The report projects Pakistan reaching 75% to 90% immunity to various COVID19 variants through a combination of infections and vaccinations by the end of 2021. 

Immunity to COVID Variants in Pakistan. Source: IHME

The IHME August 19 COVID19 results briefing on Pakistan also warns: "If mobility increases and mask wearing declines as cases are declining (people let down their guard), cases could surge again".  Here is the summary of the IHME report:

"Cases and deaths are declining in Pakistan, but the situation remains fragile. We estimate that about 81% of the population have been infected, and about 65% are immune to the Delta variant (accounting for cross-variant protection). If mobility increases and mask wearing declines as cases are declining (people let down their guard), cases could surge again."

If the IHME modeling of COVID19 in Pakistan is correct, it raises hope that Pakistan is nearing an end to the current pandemic that has badly hurt its people and its economy. Achieving this goal will require that Pakistanis continue to implement the following 5 strategies recommended by IHME. 

1) Increase vaccination through outreach and perhaps vaccine mandates from employers and making it easy to get vaccinated; 

2) Reduce the risk of major transmission if schools are to open through appropriate use of mitigation measures including universal masking, sufficient distancing of students, and periodic testing of all students; 

3) Support hospital systems that will be under severe stress in the next 4–6 weeks; 

4) Implement mask mandates in states or communities with major surges in hospitalization; and 

5) Maintain surveillance on breakthrough infection by type of vaccine and time since vaccination – as well as adequate testing for vaccinated and unvaccinated – in order to accurately track the evolution of the epidemic".

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

COVID19 in Pakistan: Test Positivity Rate and Deaths Declining

Fareed Zakaria Never Misses Any Opportunity to Bash Pakistan

Pakistan COVID19 Normalcy Index

Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World

73 Year After Independence, Caste-Ridden India Dominated By Brahmins

Pakistan's Pharma Industry Among World's Fastest Growing

Is Pakistan's Response to COVID19 Flawed?

Pakistan's Computer Services Exports Jump 26% Amid COVID19 Lockdown

Coronavirus, Lives and Livelihoods in Pakistan

Vast Majority of Pakistanis Support Imran Khan's Handling of Covid19 Crisis

Pakistani-American Woman Featured in Netflix Documentary "Pandemic"

Coronavirus Antibodies Testing in Pakistan

Can Pakistan Effectively Respond to Coronavirus Outbreak? 

How Grim is Pakistan's Social Sector Progress?

Pakistan Fares Marginally Better Than India On Disease Burdens

Trump Picks Muslim-American to Lead Vaccine Effort

Democracy vs Dictatorship in Pakistan

Pakistan Child Health Indicators

Pakistan's Balance of Payments Crisis

Panama Leaks in Pakistan

Conspiracy Theories About Pakistan Elections"

PTI Triumphs Over Corrupt Dynastic Political Parties

Strikingly Similar Narratives of Donald Trump and Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif's Report Card

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel



Saturday, August 14, 2021

Pakistan Independence Day: Can Religion Be A Basis Of Nationhood?

It is quite fashionable among liberal Indian and Pakistani elite to question religion as a basis of nationhood. Pakistani intellectual Javed Jabbar responded to some of these "liberal" critics at a conference in New Delhi, India. He said as follows: "India was a region, not a country until 1947....Pakistan was NOT carved out of India.... Both India and Pakistan became independent countries in 1947.. Religion can be a basis for nationhood".

Happy Independence Day Pakistan

In his detailed remarks, Jabbar made a reference to British political scientist Hugh Seton-Watson who said there is no scientific definition of nationhood. 

Jabbar also talked about "Imagined Communities" by Professor Benedict Anderson who taught political science at Cornell University in New York. Anderson explored how these "imagined communities" are created by the territorialization of religious faiths and the decline of antique kingship

Talking about pluralism, Jabbar said Pakistan is a diverse pluralistic country with multiple regions, languages, religions, etc. Jabbar added that the creation of Bangladesh reinforced the Two Nation Theory. How? Bangladesh chose to remain independent rather than merge with India. 

A recent Pew survey has revealed that two-thirds of Hindus in India believe only Hindus are truly Indian. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu Nationalist BJP party's appeal is the greatest among Hindus who closely associate their religious identity and the Hindi language with being “truly Indian.” The Pew survey found that less than half of Indians (46%) favored democracy as best suited to solve the country’s problems. Two percent more (48%) preferred a strong leader. 

Most Hindus Link Hindu Religion and Hindi Language With Indian National Identity. Source: Pew

The majority of Hindus see themselves as very different from Muslims (66%), and most Muslims return the sentiment, saying they are very different from Hindus (64%). Most Muslims across the country (65%), along with an identical share of Hindus (65%), see communal violence in India as a very big national problem. Like Hindus, Muslims prefer to live religiously segregated lives – not just when it comes to marriage and friendships, but also in some elements of public life. In particular, three-quarters of Muslims in India (74%) support having access to the existing system of Islamic courts, which handle family disputes (such as inheritance or divorce cases), in addition to the secular court system.     

Most Hindus (59%) also link Indian identity with being able to speak Hindi – one of dozens of languages that are widely spoken in India. And these two dimensions of national identity – being able to speak Hindi and being a Hindu – are closely connected. Among Hindus who say it is very important to be Hindu to be truly Indian, fully 80% also say it is very important to speak Hindi to be truly Indian.    

Here's a video clip of Javed Jabbar's remarks:

https://youtu.be/0VF_07yT580



Friday, August 13, 2021

Afghanistan: Pakistan's Friend or Foe?

The open hostility of successive Afghan governments toward Pakistan begs the following questions: Why do Afghan leaders scapegoat Pakistan for their own failures?  Is Afghanistan a friend or an enemy of Pakistan? 

Scapegoating Pakistan:

Carter Malkasian, former advisor to US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Dunford, has recently talked about how Afghan governments have scapegoated Pakistan for their failures. He said: "Let’s take Pakistan, for example. Pakistan is a powerful factor here. But on the battlefield, if 200 Afghan police and army are confronted with 50 Taliban or less than that, and those government forces retreat, that doesn’t have a lot to do with Pakistan. That has to do with something else". 

In another discussion,  Malkasian explained the rapid advance of the Taliban and the imminent collapse of the Afghan government led by President Ashraf Ghani. Here's what he said:

"Over time, aware of the government’s vulnerable position, Afghan leaders turned to an outside source to galvanize the population: Pakistan. Razziq, President Hamid Karzai and later President Ashraf Ghani used Pakistan as an outside threat to unite Afghans behind them. They refused to characterize the Taliban as anything but a creation of Islamabad. Razziq relentlessly claimed to be fighting a foreign Pakistani invasion. Yet Pakistan could never fully out-inspire occupation". 

Afghanistan has been governed by secular Pashtun Nationalists and their Tajik and Uzbek allies for much of the 20th century. These Afghan rulers and their secular Pashtun allies on the eastern side of the border have been hostile toward Pakistan since 1947 when it became independent. Afghanistan's was the lone vote against the admission of the newly independent state of Pakistan to the United Nations. Since then, the anti-Pakistan campaign by Pashtun Nationalists on both sides of the Durand Line has received support from New Delhi.

India's Partition:

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as the Frontier Gandhi, led the secular Pashtun Nationalists' opposition to the creation of Pakistan before 1947. Their efforts  to stay with India failed when they lost a referendum and the majority of the voters of then Frontier Province chose to join Pakistan.

After the humiliating loss in the referendum, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, his son Abdul Wali Khan and their supporters decided to seek an independent nation of Pakhtoonistan.  When Ghaffar Khan died, he was not buried in Pakistan. Instead, he was buried in the Afghan city of Jalalabad according to his will. His son Wali Khan then carried the movement forward.

Pakhtoonistan Movement:

After the creation of Pakistan, Ghaffar Khan and Wali Khan launched Pakhtoonistan movement that sought to create an independent state of Pakhtoonistan with the eventual goal of erasing the Durand Line to unify it with Afghanistan. Slogans such as  "Lar o Bar Yaw Afghan" (Afghans are one on both sides of the Durand Line)  and "Loya Afghanistan" (Grand Afghanistan) signify the aims of this movement. 

The central government in Pakistan has responded by assimilating Pakhtoons in civil and military services from the early 1950’s. By the end of 1960’s, the Pakhtoons were holding many top positions in the civil and military bureaucracy. At the time Pakistan was ruled by Ayub Khan, himself a non-Pashtu speaking Pakhtoon. Pakistan's current Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan is also a Pashtun. 

Both the Afghan and the Indian governments continued to back the Pakhtoonistan movement in the1960s and 70s.

In 1960, then Afghan Prime Minister Daoud Khan sent his troops across the Durand Line into the Bajaur Agency of Pakistan to press the Pashtunistan issue, but the Afghan forces were routed by Pakistani Tribals. During this period, the propaganda war from Afghanistan, carried on by radio, was relentless.

Daoud hosted Pakistani Pakhtoon Khan Abdul Wali Khan, Ajmal Khattak, Juma Khan Sufi. Daoud started training Pakhtun Zalmay and young Balochs and sent them across the border into Pakistan to start a militancy.

In 1961, Pakistan retaliated against Daoud's support to militias in areas along the Durand Line by closing its borders with Afghanistan, causing an economic crisis in Afghanistan.


On July 7, 1973, Daoud Khan toppled his cousin King Zahir Shah in a coup. This triggered a series of bloody coups ending in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. 

A former RAW officer RK Yadav has, in his book "Mission RAW", confirmed that Indian intelligence officers met Khan Wali Abdul Wali Khan in Europe on several occasions to provide support and funding for the Pakhtoonistan movement.

In 1975, then Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto ordered Pakistan's intelligence agency to respond to Afghan provocations. Pakistan ISI trained Jalaluddin Haqqani, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as their Afghan proxies.

Soviet Invasion:

The Soviet troops rolled into Afghanistan in December, 1979 to assert control after several coups and counter-coups in the country. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States responded to it by recruiting, training and arming a resistance force referred to as "Mujahideen". India supported the Soviet invasion and occupation in a United Nations vote in January, 1980.

 Soviet troops were defeated and forced by the Mujahideen to withdraw after 9 years of occupation. The Americans also decided to leave the region with Afghanistan in complete chaos as various Mujahideen factions split along ethnic lines fought for control of Kabul.

Pakistan was the most affected as a result of the Afghan war and instability. Millions of Afghan refugees poured across the border in Pakistan. Many were radicalized, trained and armed to fight. The "Kalashnikov Culture" spread across Pakistan causing instability.

The Taliban:

In the1990s, Pakistan supported the Taliban led by Mullah Omar to try to stabilize the situation. The Taliban defeated all other factions and warlords and took control of most of Afghanistan. The only part of Afghanistan that remained beyond their control was the Panjshir valley in northern Afghanistan that was controlled by Tajik warlord Ahmad Shah Massoud.

The Taliban hosted Al Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. The United States accused Al Qaeda of carrying out the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001.  When the Taliban refused to hand over Bin Laden to Washington, President George W. Bush ordered the US military to invade Afghanistan to force the Taliban out of power.

US Invasion:

The US invasion of Afghanistan forced the Taliban out of power and drove them and Al Qaeda fighters across the border into Pakistan. Pakistani military arrested most of the Al Qaeda leadership and many of the Al Qaeda fighters and handed them over to the United States. Bin Laden was found and killed by the Americans in a raid in Abbotabad, Pakistan in 2011.

Indian intelligence agency RAW has established its presence in Afghanistan along the border with Pakistan since the US invasion and the installation of a Kabul government that includes pro-India members of the Tajik dominated Northern Alliance.

India's Covert War Against Pakistan:

Fomer US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said back in 2011 that "India has always used Afghanistan as a second front against Pakistan.  India has over the years been financing problems in Pakistan". Secretary Hagel was speaking at Cameron University in Oklahoma. Direct and circumstantial evidence of India using Afghanistan to attack Pakistan has grown to the point that even Indian analysts and media are beginning to acknowledge it:

1. Bharat Karnad, a professor of national security studies at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, recently acknowledged India's use of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorist group against Pakistan in an Op Ed he wrote for Hindustan Times.

2. Indian journalist Praveen Swami said in a piece published in "Frontline": "Since 2013, India has secretly built up a covert action program against Pakistan."

3. India's former RAW officers, including one ex chief, have blamed Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested by Pakistan in 2016, for getting caught in Pakistan as a "result of unprofessionalism", according to a report in India's "The Quint" owned and operated by a joint venture of Bloomberg News and Quintillion Media. The report that appeared briefly on The Quint website has since been removed, apparently under pressure from the Indian government.

4. A story by Indian journalist Karan Thapar pointed out several flaws in the Indian narrative claiming that Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested in Pakistan while engaging in India's covert war in Balochistan, was an innocent Indian businessman kidnapped from Chabahar by Pakistani agents. Writing for the Indian Express, Thapar debunked the entire official story from New Delhi.

ISI Bogeyman:

British Afghan war veteran Major Robert Gallimore says he saw no presence of Pakistan's intelligence service ISI in Afghanistan. The Afghan Army saw the " imagined nefarious hand" and "bogeyman" of Pakistan everywhere but he never saw it. He "saw not one piece of evidence" of it. It was all in their minds.

During his three tours of duty in Afghanistan, he could hear all the radio conversations going on but never heard any Pakistani accent. He did, however, see "buckets and buckets of money" and rising Indian influence in Afghan Army that blamed Pakistan for all their problems. Pakistan is their bogeyman.

The Afghan Army says they'll feel good when they can "invade Pakistan". They do not blame the British but the Pakistanis for the Durand Line that they do not recognize.

Major Gallimore sees the emergence of an India-Pakistan 21st century "Great Game" similar to its British-Russian predecessor. Many Afghans support creation of Pashtunistan by annexing northern part of Pakistan into Afghanistan. They blame Pakistan for the Durand Line, not the British or their own leaders who agreed to it. As a result, Maj Gallimore warns that Afghanistan has become much more volatile and dangerous than ever before.

Summary:

Recent scapegoating of Pakistan by the Ashraf Ghani government in Kabul has been criticized by Carter Malkasian, former advisor of US General Dunford.  Malkasian has said, "...on the battlefield, if 200 Afghan police and army are confronted with 50 Taliban or less than that, and those government forces retreat, that doesn’t have a lot to do with Pakistan. That has to do with something else".  The animosity of secular Pashtun Nationalists and their Tajik and Uzbek allies against Pakistan is not new. It didn't start with Pakistan's support of the Taliban in the 1990s. Their hostility against Pakistan dates back to the creation of Pakistan.  Afghanistan's was the lone vote against the admission of the newly independent state of Pakistan to the United Nations in 1947. Since then, the anti-Pakistan campaign by Pashtun Nationalists on both sides of the Durand Line has received support from New Delhi. A former RAW officer RK Yadav has, in his book "Mission RAW", confirmed that Indian intelligence officers met Khan Wali Abdul Wali Khan in Europe on several occasions to provide support and funding for the Pakhtoonistan movement.

Here is a video discussion of spillover of Afghan instability into Pakistan:

https://youtu.be/EZuCLz6KzKE

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