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.


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:



Terry A. said...

Excellent Article Riaz Bhai on the progression of the beginning & continuing saga unfolding in Afghanistan -

Jay said...

If you look at the history of this region, Muslim rulers' biggest enemies were usually other invading Muslims. The Sikhs, Marathas, Rajputs and other native tribes were problematic to the Mughals, Turks, Afghans, Uzbeks and so on 1/3 of the time combined. The other 2/3 of the time, problems always arose due to incoming fellow Muslim invaders. Can you address your thoughts on whether you agree or disagree Mr. Riaz? I sincerely want to know your opinion in this regard even if you think my points are totally wrong.

Riaz Haq said...

Jay: "The other 2/3 of the time, problems always arose due to incoming fellow Muslim invaders"

These historic events were not seen in religious terms until the British colonized India and decided to pursue "divide and rule" policy to maintain control of the vast Indian population with a small number of British officers. Please read the following:

Also read "Somanatha: The Many Voices of a History" by Romila Thapar.

In 1026, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni raided the Hindu temple of Somanatha (Somnath in textbooks of the colonial period). The story of the raid has reverberated in Indian history, but largely during the raj. It was first depicted as a trauma for the Hindu population not in India, but in the House of Commons. The triumphalist accounts of the event in Turko-Persian chronicles became the main source for most eighteenth-century historians. It suited everyone and helped the British to divide and rule a multi-millioned subcontinent.

Jay said...


Ahmed said...

Dear Sir Riaz and the users of this blog

Asalam Aalaikum,

As far as I remember and know Afghanistan was one of the few countries in the world which even didn't accept or recognize the creation of Pakistan.

Durrani said...

After Ahmed Shah Durrani's grandsons were kicked out of power, a new family called the Barakzai/Mohammadzai were in. They ruled Afghanistan from 1820s to 1979.

During these 150 years these leaders included the likes of Abdul Rahman Khan and Amanullah Khan. Abdul Rahman Khan is responsible for the current ethnonationalist mindset of Afghanistan. He also sold land and ratified Durrand Line treaty.

Amanullah was a secularist, but was way too liberal for his own country. Tribes of Loy (Greater) Kandahar and Loy (Greater) Paktia rebelled, but was put down with great effort. Despite also beating the British in 1919 a civil war started in the country in the 1920s and he fled to Italy.

Moh said...

In the greater scheme of things all that matters is that the Taliban will soon resume full power. We will have a friendly Afghan government next door and reap the benefits.

Whatever US/NATO, India and Northern Alliance thinks or feels is truly irrelivant.

Pakistan needs to bring China to the forefront. Our focus should now be to arrange talks and meetings between regional powers and the Taliban. The Ghani government and the Northern Alliance entourage are past tense.

Ahmed said...

Dear Mr.Mohammad

Thanks for your post, yes I agree ,actually the Afghan taliban have soft corner in their heart for Pakistan and they are friendly towards Pakistan. Their hold and presence is very important in Afghanistan if we want to see peace and stability in Pakistan.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir Riaz,

I actually have some questions on this post, this is mashallah a very informative and interesting post about how RAW has been involved in Afghanistan and has caused problems for Pakistan.

This post says:
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.

My comment:
Sir, lets suppose what ever this British Major says, if ISI didn't had any presence in Afghanistan, then don't you think it is the failure of Pakistan government to counter any Indian influence in Afghanistan? PTI government came into power just 2 years ago, but what were the previous governments doing in Pakistan? RAW agents must be their in Afghanistan since many years. So what were PPP and PMLN governments doing ? What kind of foreign policies did they make?

Don't you think Sir that previous governments of Pakistan have unfortunately given lot of room and space to Indian agents and RAW so that they could easily operate in Afghanistan and create problems for Pakistan?

I hope my question is clear Sir.


Riaz Haq said...

Regional powers #Russia, #China, #Iran, #Pakistan Extend Hands to #Taliban Now in Control of #Afghanistan. All 4 neighbors continue to maintain embassies in #Kabul

s the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan shakes the international community's commitment to the country, regional powers Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan continue to maintain their embassies in Kabul while expressing their willingness to work with its new leaders.

Just as the Taliban was getting settled in the capital, Russian ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirnov met with the group on Tuesday to discuss embassy security. Following his talks, he spoke highly of a group he said was conducting itself "in a responsible and civilized manner" since its largely peaceful capture of Kabul.

"They want to be sure there will be no provocations, to avoid shooting," Zhirnov said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 outlet. "Because practically everyone possesses weapons, even teenagers. It looks like they are afraid that should anything happen not through their fault it may cast a shadow on them as masters of the situation. They don't conceal it."

Speaking in Kaliningrad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also saw "a positive signal" from the Taliban, specifically in the infamously hardline group's public commitments to respecting the views of others.

"We are convinced and have known that for quite a long time that only, as they say now, an inclusive dialogue involving all key forces can serve as a step towards normalization of the situation in Afghanistan," Lavrov said, according to the state-run Tass Russian News Agency.

Russia's turn toward accepting the Taliban's legitimacy comes after its own difficult history in Afghanistan. In 1979, the Soviet Union entered into a decade-long war in hopes of saving a Kabul-based communist administration from a mujahideen resistance that was backed the U.S. and regional powers including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. It was forced to withdraw in defeat a decade later, paving the way for the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s.

The group took control of most of the country and effectively held Afghanistan until 2001, when the 9/11 attacks conducted by Taliban ally Al-Qaeda drew a massive U.S.-led intervention. Moscow initially supported the Western effort in Afghanistan, but came to criticize its handling over the course of two decades.

With the Taliban now back in control of Kabul, Lavrov told reporters that Moscow was "not rushing a recognition" of an Afghan government led by the a group that Russia still considers a terrorist organization. The decision mirrors the hesitation of other nations including Russia's strategic partner, China, which borders Afghanistan directly.

"Just yesterday I spoke with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi," Lavrov added. "Our positions are in line."

Beijing is seeking to portray an open mind as the new dynamic unfolds.

"China has all along maintained contact and communication with the Afghan Taliban on the basis of fully respecting Afghanistan's sovereignty and the will of all factions in the country, and played a constructive role in promoting the political settlement of the Afghan issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters on Tuesday.

There was an important caveat, however.

Riaz Haq said...

#Taliban says no one will use #Afghan territory to launch attacks against anybody or any country. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid asserted that #WomensRights will be protected within Islamic law. #China #Pakistan #Iran #Russia #US via @AJEnglish

The Taliban held its first official news conference in Kabul since the shock seizure of the city, declaring on Tuesday it wished for peaceful relations with other countries.

“We don’t want any internal or external enemies,” the movement’s main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, said.

The spokesman asserted that the rights of women will be protected within the framework of Islam.

The group previously declared an “amnesty” across Afghanistan and urged women to join its government, trying to calm nerves across a tense capital city that only the day before saw chaos as thousands mobbed the city’s international airport in a desperate attempt to flee.

Evacuation flights from Afghanistan resumed as a Western security official told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday that the Kabul airport’s tarmac and runway – which troops from the United States control – were now clear of crowds.

The official said military flights evacuating diplomats and civilians from Afghanistan have started taking off.

At least seven people died in Monday’s chaos, including several people who clung to the sides of a jet as it took off.

The Taliban has meanwhile declared the war in Afghanistan over and a senior leader said the group would wait until foreign forces had left before creating a new governance structure.

China said it was ready for “friendly relations” with the Taliban, while Russia and Iran also made diplomatic overtures.

Riaz Haq said...

#Afghan #Taliban visit #Hazara Neighborhood in #Kabul, Attend #Shia Majlis

Riaz Haq said...

#Biden administration freezes ($9.4 billion) #Afghan reserves, depriving #Taliban of cash. “Any Central Bank assets the Afghan government have in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban". #Afghanistan #economy

The Biden administration on Sunday froze Afghan government reserves held in U.S. bank accounts, blocking the Taliban from accessing billions of dollars held in U.S. institutions, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The decision was made by Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen and officials in the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the people said. The State Department was also involved in discussions over the weekend, with officials in the White House monitoring the developments. An administration official said in a statement, “Any Central Bank assets the Afghan government have in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban.” The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss government policy not yet made public.

Cutting off access to U.S.-based reserves represents among the first in what are expected to be several crucial decisions facing the Biden administration about the economic fate of that nation following the Taliban takeover. Afghanistan is already one of the poorest countries in the world and is highly dependent on American aid that is now in jeopardy. The Biden administration is also likely to face hard choices over how to manage existing sanctions on the Taliban, which may make it difficult to deliver international humanitarian assistance to a population facing ruin, experts say.

Asked Tuesday what leverage the United States would have over the Taliban going forward, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that “there are obviously issues related to sanctions” but declined to elaborate. He also said the administration would first communicate directly with the Taliban.

President Biden in his speech Monday appeared to commit to continuing to give aid to Afghanistan, saying: “We will continue to support the Afghan people. We will lead with our diplomacy, our international influence and our humanitarian aid.”

The Afghanistan central bank held $9.4 billion in reserve assets as of April, according to the International Monetary Fund. That amounts to roughly one-third of the country’s annual economic output. The vast majority of those reserves are not currently held in Afghanistan, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Among those, billions of dollars are kept in the United States, although the precise amount is unclear.

Spokespeople for the White House and Treasury Department declined to comment on the process for blocking the funds or the fate of U.S. economic assistance to Afghanistan. A spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where much of the money is presumed to be held, also declined to comment.

Riaz Haq said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Riaz Haq said...

What Pakistan Gains From the Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan | Time

By Anatol Lieven

e need to recognize that the single most important factor in Taliban victory was their own commitment, courage and sheer grit. Nevertheless without Pakistan’s shelter and support they might not be marching through the streets of Kabul right now. How grateful they will be remains to be seen. But Pakistan wasn’t doing it for them. Pakistan’s strategy of helping the Taliban stemmed from long fears concerning Afghanistan, some of which have existed since Pakistan became a state in 1947.

These fears were of Afghan alliance with India and Afghan support for rebellion inside Pakistan, and have therefore been considerably reduced by the Taliban victory. India is bitterly hostile to the Taliban and very unlikely to be able to ally with them; and if the Taliban support Islamist rebellion against Pakistan, they will cut off Afghanistan’s trade routes to the sea; quite apart from the fact that the Pakistan Army has demonstrated in recent years (after some delay) that it can successfully crush any rebellion. The strong Pakistani alliance with a China that is vastly richer than it was 20 years ago also gives Pakistan the hope that Chinese investment in Afghanistan may help to keep the Taliban government aligned with Pakistani interests. Pakistan can therefore afford to be quite confident about the positive consequences of the Taliban’s victory.


Afghanistan, a state founded by Pashtuns in the mid-18th century, has never accepted this border. When the British Raj ended in 1947, the Afghan government initially refused to recognize Pakistani independence unless Pakistan tore up the Durand Line and handed its Pashtun territories to Afghanistan. This not surprisingly Pakistan refused to do.

As a result, a succession of Afghan governments continued to refuse to recognize the Durand Line as a legal frontier, aligned Afghanistan with India against Pakistan, and periodically attempted to stir up Pashtun ethnic separatism in Pakistan. In response, for almost 70 years Pakistan tried either to influence or to weaken Afghanistan through a combination of economic pressure and inducements with support for rebellions within Afghanistan.

This strategy was a key motivation for Pakistani shelter for the Afghan Taliban, just as in the 1980s (in alliance with the U.S.) it partly motivated Pakistani support for the Afghan mujahedin against the Afghan communist state and its Soviet backers. Interestingly though, despite this Pakistani support and shelter, Afghan nationalism has meant that both the Afghan mujahedin leadership and the Afghan Taliban refused categorically to recognize the Durand Line.

With the Taliban victory, Pakistani fear of Afghan alignment with India has vanished for the moment, as India has always been bitterly opposed to the Taliban, due to their support for the Islamist revolt in Kashmir. Since the 1980s, however, another combination of Pakistani fears emerged concerning Afghanistan: that of Afghan refugees causing destabilization among Pakistan’s Pashtuns.

During the Afghan war of the 1980s, some three million mostly Pashtun refugees fled into Pakistan. These refugee camps became fertile recruitment grounds first for the mujahedin, and then for the Taliban. The refugees to a considerable extent merged with the Pashtuns of Pakistan, and the Afghan jihad after 1979 and 2001 received passionate support from many Pakistani Pashtuns, especially in the tribes that straddled the border with Afghanistan.


Pakistan hopes therefore that a regional coalition of itself, China, Russia and Iran (if the Taliban keep their promises to Tehran to respect Shia rights in Afghanistan) will support the Taliban against ISIS, ensure that the Taliban themselves do not back international extremism, including an Islamist revolt in Pakistan, and refrain from backing Tajik, Uzbek and other ethnic forces against the Taliban state.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir Riaz

Thanks for this useful and informative post, Sir I was watching a video on youtube and it showed that Shah Abdali and Mahmood Ghaznavi who were Muslim invaders and rulers have been portrayed by Indians as very cruel and ruthless. In the schools and colleges of India, students who study Indian history as compulsory subject are taught that Shah Abdali and Mahmood Ghaznavi were invaders and after invading Indian sub-continent, they killed many Hindus and even demolished many temples in India.

Sir, can you pls throw some light on this? How true are these claims of Indians?


Ahmed said...

Dear Sir Riaz

My Nani who actually expired in 2008 ,she use to tell me that when British were ruling over India, at that time their was law and order in India, streets were clean and no theif had courage to even steal anything from any shop or from anyone.

Muslims were free to practice their religion in India and were not stopped by British authorities from worshipping in Mosques and neither Hindus were prevented from worshipping in their temples when British ruled India.

Sir according to our senior age people, it was actually Hindus who created problems for Muslims, they use to throw dead bodies of swine in the mosques when Muslims use to pray inside their mosques.

My Nani was not pro-British ,she even supported the revolt of Indians against British but she atleast admited that not everything was bad under British.

Ahmed said...


You said:
If you look at the history of this region, Muslim rulers' biggest enemies were usually other invading Muslims. The Sikhs, Marathas, Rajputs and other native tribes were problematic to the Mughals, Turks, Afghans, Uzbeks and so on 1/3 of the time combined. The other 2/3 of the time, problems always arose due to incoming fellow Muslim invaders. Can you address your thoughts on whether you agree or disagree Mr. Riaz? I sincerely want to know your opinion in this regard even if you think my points are totally wrong.

My comment:
To some extent I think you are right, but you are actually talking about civil war which took place between Muslims outside Indian sub-continent, are you sure that Muslim rulers who ruled over India had to face opposition from other Muslim rulers and invaders?

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "can you pls throw some light on this? How true are these claims of Indians?"

These historic events were not seen in religious terms until the British colonized India and decided to pursue "divide and rule" policy to maintain control of the vast Indian population with a small number of British officers. Please read the following:

Also read "Somanatha: The Many Voices of a History" by Romila Thapar.

In 1026, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni raided the Hindu temple of Somanatha (Somnath in textbooks of the colonial period). The story of the raid has reverberated in Indian history, but largely during the raj. It was first depicted as a trauma for the Hindu population not in India, but in the House of Commons. The triumphalist accounts of the event in Turko-Persian chronicles became the main source for most eighteenth-century historians. It suited everyone and helped the British to divide and rule a multi-millioned subcontinent.

Riaz Haq said...

With #Taliban Dominance, #India's #Chabahar Port Could Become a Dead Investment. #Americans have partnered with #Uzbekistan, #Afghanistan and #Pakistan to make a new north-south connectivity corridor bypassing #Iran. #CPEC #Gwadar via @thewire_in

The spectre of the collapse of the Ashraf Ghani government of Afghanistan and the takeover by the anarchic, ragtag group of Taliban, even while the US has left the country to its miserable fate, is increasingly driving a nail in many bilateral and multilateral arrangements between Kabul and the world.

Undoubtedly, the most hurt would be India and its much vaunted project of the Chabahar Port in Iran’s east, which was meant to allow New Delhi an opportunity to side-step Pakistan and take the land route to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Now Chabahar, from Iran and India’s perspective, seems like a dead investment — a dream gone sour.

“Indians just took too much time to complete the project. Now, changed circumstances and alternative connectivity routes are being conjured up by other countries to make Chabahar irrelevant,” claims an Iranian source.

He may be right.

Much of the blame for the slow pace at which the Chabahar project progressed should rest on India and its over-cautious attitude. The current government in Delhi did not want to do anything to antagonise the US government after it had imposed sanctions on Iran.

Now, the Americans have partnered with Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan to make a new connectivity corridor.

So where does it leave India?

Ironically, India’s Chabahar engagement, though old, gained momentum after former US president Barack Obama ended sanctions against Iran and signed the nuclear deal. His successor, Donald Trump, had other ideas. He, rather unceremoniously, canceled the deal and clamped claustrophobic sanctions on Iran, but gave freedom to India to carry on with the project as it benefited Afghanistan.

The Indian government, through the periodic visits of its external affairs minister, S. Jaishankar, and other officials, has routinely expressed its commitment to complete the project. However, the Iranians have a different story to tell.

And it is not a happy story with a happy ending.


Not only did India baulk at its promise to provide a line of credit in 2018 to build the railway route from Chabahar to Zahedan, the Indian company that is supposed to build and manage port Shahid Behesti, India Port Global, is a leaderless entity that is in a state of drift.

Iranian sources allege that there is a conscious attempt by China, which is furiously building its Gwadar project in the Sea of Oman, and, now, the US, to puncture Chabahar. Or else, what was the reason that the US should announce a ‘connectivity project’ in Tashkent with Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan that does not include Iran or India?

Jennifer Murtazashivilli from the Center of Governance, University of Pittsburg, was quoted by the Voice of America arguing: “Given the difficult relations between the US and Iran, it would be difficult to secure funding for that southward route, so it is more politically feasible to connect Uzbekistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan, than to go through Iran right now.”

Riaz Haq said...

How #America Failed in #Afghanistan
Steve Coll: “You can’t just create an army of 300,000. I remember talking to the Pakistani generals about this…And they all said, ‘You just can’t do that. It won’t work.’ They turned out to be right.” #Pakistan #Kabul

On Sunday, as the Taliban entered Kabul—the last remaining major Afghan city not under the group’s control—the President of the country, Ashraf Ghani, fled to Tajikistan, making clear that the U.S.-backed Afghan government had collapsed. Five months ago, in April, President Joe Biden announced that all U.S. and nato troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Critics have accused the Administration of conducting a rushed, poorly planned, and chaotic withdrawal since then. On Thursday, the U.S. government announced that it would be sending in marines and soldiers to help evacuate embassy personnel. But the speed of the Taliban advance has stunned American officials and left desperate Afghans trying to flee the country. Responding to criticism about his plan, Biden has sought to shift blame to the Afghan government and its people, saying, “They have got to fight for themselves.”

I spoke by phone with my colleague, the New Yorker staff writer Steve Coll, about the situation in Afghanistan. The dean of Columbia Journalism School, Coll is the author of “Ghost Wars” and “Directorate S,” which together chronicle much of the history of the past several decades in Afghanistan and Pakistan.........

Your books on the region suggest that the Taliban may not have initially come to power, nor survived this long, had it not been for the aid and comfort of the Pakistani security apparatus—its military and intelligence services. How is Pakistan feeling about what’s happening now? I sense maybe there’s a tiny bit more anxiety than usual about what this might mean for Pakistan.


It seems likely that it is partially a case of watching what you wish for. I am sure they did not forecast the speed with which events are unfolding this summer, and they may also have expected that the role of negotiations and the timetable by which political change would occur in Afghanistan would allow them to build a platform for greater international legitimacy and credibility for a potential Taliban government. One of the reasons that I would be anxious if I were them is that this is happening in a way that is already inducing governments such as Germany’s—not usually first out of the box on these things—to say that they won’t provide any aid to a government that imposes Sharia against the will of its people.

Zalmay Khalilzad, Biden’s negotiator, is trying to tell the Taliban that they won’t be recognized by anyone if they take power this way. Well, we’ll see. In the nineteen-nineties, there were only three governments in the world that recognized the Taliban: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. And this time around, too, Pakistan will be one of them, I expect. But things are different. The Saudis and the Emiratis have a new geopolitical outlook. But China is not the same country that it was in the nineties. How will China support Pakistan in trying to manage a second Taliban regime, especially one that may attract sanctions or other kinds of pressure from the United States and its allies? It isn’t the nineties, but Pakistan is still in the same awkward place that it was last time around. And to the extent that the Taliban return to a kind of internationalism of their interpretation of Islam and welcome Al Qaeda types or other forms of radicals, allow the Islamic State to incubate on Afghan soil, or don’t have the interest or the capacity to do something about it, you can be sure that, as it did the last time, all of that will blow back on Pakistan in one way or another, be that in the form of international pressure or instability.

Riaz Haq said...

With #Afghan collapse & #Taliban's rise to power in #Afghanistan, #Pakistan, #China and #Russia have gained broad influence in #security matters in #CentralAsia region at the expense of the #US and #India. #BRI #CPEC #Infrastructure #connectivity

In the long post-Soviet jostling for power and influence in Central Asia sometimes called the new Great Game, an ever more dominant player has emerged from the chaos and confusion of Afghanistan: Russia, at least in security affairs.

“I wouldn’t say a wounded animal,” the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said on Tuesday of the withdrawal of NATO and the U.S. forces from Afghanistan. “But this is a group of countries that in a very painful and difficult way is giving up on the positions in the world they were used to for many decades.”

The strengthening of Russia’s position in Central Asian security matters is part of a broader shift brought about by the Taliban’s rise to power. Russia, China and Pakistan all stand to gain influence in regional affairs with the West’s withdrawal, while the United States and India stand to lose.

“I’m thinking of this as a post-Western or post-U.S. space now,” said Alexander Cooley, director of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, and an authority on Central Asia. “It’s a region transforming itself without the United States.”

And largely to Russia’s benefit.

For Moscow, the chaotic American withdrawal, while reminiscent of Russia’s humiliating 1989 retreat from Afghanistan after its disastrous 10-year intervention, was a propaganda victory on a global scale.

From Latin America to Eastern Europe, Russia has fought for influence by insisting that the United States cannot be trusted. Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, warned that America’s friends in Ukraine could soon also be disappointed.

“The country is headed toward collapse, and the White House at a certain moment won’t even remember about its supporters in Kyiv,” Mr. Patrushev said in an interview published on Thursday.

The rapid fall of President Ashraf Ghani’s government was also a vindication of Russia’s yearslong strategy of building a diplomatic relationship with the Taliban. As Western diplomats scrambled to flee Kabul this week, Russian officials stayed put, with the Taliban guaranteeing the security of the Russian Embassy.

“They made a good impression on us,” Russia’s ambassador in Kabul, Dmitri Zhirnov, said of his embassy’s new Taliban guards on Russian state television this week. “They’re decent guys, well armed.”

At Russia’s most recent round of talks with the Taliban in Moscow, in July, the group pledged that its military gains would not be a threat to Russia or its interests. Russia hosted the Taliban for multiple rounds of talks even though the group is officially classified as a banned terrorist organization with Russia, making any association with it a potential crime.

“It’s pragmatism — and cynicism and double-think,” said Arkady Dubnov, a Russian expert on Central Asia, describing the Russian government’s strategy of building ties with the Taliban. “People are locked up in Russia for this kind of cooperation with a terrorist organization.”

Russia’s military exercises on the border represented another side of its strategy, a show of force to demonstrate its willingness to punish the Taliban if they should step out of line. “You can talk to the Taliban but you also need to show them a fist,” said Daniel Kiselyov, editor of Fergana, a Russian-language outlet focused on Central Asia.

Beyond Afghanistan, Russia still faces stiff competition from China’s debt and infrastructure diplomacy in Central Asia, a central thoroughfare of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative. And the American oil companies Chevron and Exxon have been pumping crude in Kazakhstan for years. On Tuesday, China and Tajikistan announced a joint border-patrol exercise.

Riaz Haq said...

The Taliban Have Claimed Afghanistan’s Real Economic Prize (vast informal economy)

The state’s bankruptcy has tempted some Western donors into thinking that financial pressure — in the form of threats to withhold humanitarian and development funding — could be brought to bear on the new rulers of Afghanistan. Germany already warned it would cut off financial support to the country if the Taliban “introduce Shariah law.”


One reason foreign donors inflate their own importance in Afghanistan is that they do not understand the informal economy, and the vast amounts of hidden money in the war zone. Trafficking in opium, hashish, methamphetamines and other narcotics is not the biggest kind of trade that happens off the books: The real money comes from the illegal movement of ordinary goods, like fuel and consumer imports. In size and sum, the informal economy dwarfs international aid.

For example, our study of the border province of Nimruz, published this month by the Overseas Development Institute, estimated that informal taxation — the collection of fees by armed personnel to allow safe passage of goods — raised about $235 million annually for the Taliban and pro-government figures. By contrast, the province received less than $20 million a year in foreign aid.

A southern province in the heartland of Taliban supporters, Nimruz is the sort of place that might serve as a basis for Taliban thinking about how the economy works. This summer, they set about taking it over. In June, they captured Ghorghory, the administrative center of Khashrud District, followed by the town of Delaram, on the main highway, in July. These two towns alone could be worth $18.6 million a year for the Taliban if they maintain the previous systems of informal taxation, including $5.4 million from the fuel trade and $13 million from transit goods.

A bigger prize was the customs house in Zaranj, a city bordering Iran and the first provincial capital to fall during the Taliban’s August offensive. Though the city officially provided the government with $43.2 million in annual duties — with an additional $50 million in direct taxes in 2020 — there was, we found, a significant amount of undeclared trade, particularly of fuel, taking the true total revenues from the border crossing to at least $176 million a year.

The Taliban’s advance forced a dilemma on neighboring countries: They could either continue to trade, giving the Taliban more power and legitimacy, or deny themselves trade revenues and accept the financial pain. Though they have sometimes opted for the latter, it’s unclear — as pressure mounts to officially recognize the Taliban government — how much longer that will last.

Take Iran, for example. We estimated that the Taliban earned $84 million last year by taxing Afghans who trade with Iran — and that was before the insurgents captured all three of Afghanistan’s major border crossings with Iran. Tehran, unwilling to legitimize the Taliban, halted all trade with Afghanistan in early August. But the economic imperative to reopen to commercial traffic is strong. More than $2 billion in trade passed through those crossings last year, according to official figures, and our research suggests that the actual numbers, once informal trade is included, could be twice as high. Early reports suggest the border crossings are open again, though trade remains slow and disrupted.


But the windfalls from cross-border commerce — a single border crossing to Pakistan, captured in July, brings in tens of millions of dollars a year in illegal revenues — are making the Taliban, now ruling the Afghan state, into major players in South Asia’s regional trade. That means, crucially, that the usual methods by which recalcitrant regimes are subjected to international pressure — sanctions, isolation — are less applicable to today’s Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Frosty U.S.-Pakistan Relations Complicate Efforts to Keep Terror At Bay in Taliban’s Afghanistan

Eroded relations with Pakistan threaten U.S. capacity to keep in check terror groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State group that operate in the Taliban’s Afghanistan.

And the need for American access to Afghanistan remains as urgent as ever. Despite 20 years of war, the U.S. faces persistent, if not growing threats from al-Qaida, the Taliban and new terrorist networks, such as the Islamic State group, along with a handful of other smaller organizations.

"Access to Pakistani airspace is the most operational advantageous approach for effective over-the-horizon counter-terrorism operations," says retired Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who has extensive experience operating in and around that airspace.

Votel was among the first Americans to cross through it in the weeks after Sept. 11 when he led the special operations forces that first parachuted onto Taliban strongholds in southern Afghanistan. He rose through a series of commands, including leading the shadowy Joint Special Operations Command (taking over a month after its operators carried out the bin Laden raid) before overseeing all special forces in the U.S. military and ultimately all American operations in the Middle East.

Aside from being most advantageous, Pakistani airspace is now the only reliable way for the U.S. to access Afghanistan. To the east lies Iran and to the north are the former Soviet states that had engaged in some degree of coordination with the U.S. in the early stages of the war in Afghanistan, up until Western relations with Russia collapsed following its occupation of parts of Ukraine in 2014. Russia has since seen to it that its former allies, notably Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, have refused helping America as it tries to maintain pressure on terrorist groups in the area.


American national security officials have offered overt confidence in their ability to mitigate that threat, yet the situation on the ground has grown more complex, all the more magnified by the collapse of the government the U.S. hoped to leave behind.

Despite the challenges posed by Pakistan and its relationship with the Taliban, the military stands by its ability to target terrorists – even without U.S. support on the ground.

"We maintain robust over-the-horizon counter-terrorism capability in the region," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Thursday when asked. "And we will still have the authority and capability to use that counter-terrorism capability should we need it."

But each of those countries enjoys near access to American bases in the region to support those operations.

"Just getting to Afghanistan is an operation – without closer proximity," Votel says.

Pilots who have operated over Afghanistan describe to U.S. News at least a four-hour journey from the nearest bases in Qatar for sophisticated military aircraft to even reach the country, let alone begin the process of refueling to be able to carry out operations and then return.

And operations in Syria, Somalia and Yemen have also been successful due to some form of partner force on the ground, whether American special operations commandos or local troops that have agreed to work with the U.S. Aside from reports of pockets of resistance fighters in one corner of Afghanistan, the shocking collapse of the Afghan army appears to have left the U.S. without that on-the-ground support.

"Even with an effective over-the-horizon approach," Votel says, "we would still want good partners on the ground helping us."

And that, at least for now, does not appear certain, if at all possible.

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump calls ex #Afghan President Ghani "total crook," says "he got away with murder". "I wanted [the Taliban] to get a deal done with the Afghan government," Trump continued. "Now, I never had a lot of confidence, frankly, in Ghani." #US #Taliban

Trump made his comments during a Tuesday night interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity. Hannity asked Trump about his dealings with Taliban leaders and the Afghan government as Trump prepared to withdraw U.S. military troops from the region.

First, Trump said that he negotiated with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, the Taliban's co-founder. Trump said he told the Taliban leader that the U.S. troop withdrawal was a "conditions-based agreement." If the Taliban harmed any Americans or allies, Trump said, the U.S. would retaliate by bombing the leader's home village as well as other parts the country.

"I wanted [the Taliban] to get a deal done with the Afghan government," Trump continued. "Now, I never had a lot of confidence, frankly, in Ghani. I said that openly and plainly I thought he was a total crook."

Trump then said that Ghani "spent all his time wining and dining our senators." He added, "The senators were in his pocket. That was one of the problems that we had. But I never liked him... He got away with murder in many, many different ways."

Trump didn't explain in what ways Ghani "got away with murder."

Trump also said that he suspected that Ghani fled with cash when he secretly left Afghanistan last Sunday. Trump's suspicion was based on Ghani's "lifestyle", "his houses" and "where he lives," Trump said.

Trump's claim about Ghani escaping with money may have originated from Russia's embassy in Kabul. The embassy reported that Ghani and his entourage departed with "four cars were full of money," the Russian news agency RIA reported. The Russian government has since offered its "political support" to the country's new Taliban rulers, the Taliban said.

Ghani is currently hiding in an unknown location. He fled his country as the Taliban's Islamic extremist military forces overtook the capital city of Kabul. Ghani later said that he departed in order to avoid more violence and bloodshed by those who might've defended his rule.

However, Saad Mohseni, the owner of one of Afghanistan's most popular television stations, told The New York Times that Ghani will be remembered as a traitor by his countrymen.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan currently hosts 1.438 million #Afghan refugees, the largest number in the world. #US with all its massive 24X7 cable coverage of the events in #Afghanistan hosts only 2,000 Afghan refugees.

Riaz Haq said...

A tale of two Talibans

A UN report last year assessed that there were more than 6,000 Pakistani foreign fighters in Afghanistan, most belonging to TTP. These fighters not only fight with the Afghan Taliban but also stage cross-border attacks against Pakistan. According to the UN’s latest figures, there were more than 100 such attacks from July to October last year.

The Taliban has in the past denied that it hosts foreign fighters. But, when asked about this matter by TRT World, Mujahid would neither confirm nor deny the presence of TTP members in Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan. The US State Department declined to comment for this story, and Pakistan’s foreign ministry did not reply to emailed questions.

While much of the focus has been on Al Qaeda’s continuing relationship with the Taliban, less attention has been paid to TTP, a brutal terrorist organisation which wreaked havoc in Pakistan from 2007 to 2014 and seems to be undergoing a resurgence after several years of degraded capability.

TTP is a similar, but distinct, movement from the Afghan Taliban. While the latter emerged in the 1990s, TTP originated in the years following the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan, when pro-Taliban Pakistani tribesmen along with Arab, Chechen, and Central Asian militants fled into Pakistan’s tribal areas and coalesced to form a new umbrella group, TTP, in 2007.

Where loyalties lie

TTP has from its inception supported the insurgency in Afghanistan, fighting alongside the Afghan Taliban and helping to shelter its fighters in Pakistan. TTP’s emirs have repeatedly pledged allegiance to the Afghan Taliban’s leader, although the two groups have separate chains of command.

Moreover, the Haqqani Network – part of the Afghan Taliban – has helped to repair divisions in the fissiparous TTP. “Both Jalal and Siraj Haqqani mediated jirgas to resolve organisational issues and factionalism in the TTP,” said Asfandyar Mir, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation.

However, although the two groups’ aims overlap, they do not match. “The Afghan Taliban, while it has ties to international terror groups, is a local insurgency targeting the Afghan state,” said Michael Kugelman, Senior Associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center.

“The Pakistani Taliban targets the Pakistani state, and when it had more strength, it also had overseas targets in its crosshairs, including America,” Kugelman told TRT World. TTP, unlike the Afghan Taliban, has been designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US.

The two also have different sponsors. The Afghan Taliban receives sanctuary from Pakistan, while the TTP has allegedly been backed by the Afghan government. Afghanistan’s foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Islamabad insists that India backs the TTP, too, and produced a largely secret dossier last year that apparently contains evidence of those links. Delhi has firmly rejected such allegations.

“The two groups are cut from the same ideological cloth,” said Michael Kugelman, both followers of the Deobandi school of Sunni Hanafi Islam. But TTP is “much closer” to the global jihadist agenda of “targeting the far enemy”, Kugelman told TRT World. It has attacked Chinese nationals and tried to bomb Times Square in New York City in 2010.

While both the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban work with Al Qaeda, in TTP’s case the relationship is stronger. “Al Qaeda has played an instrumental role in the foundation, rise, and expansion of TTP,” said Abdul Sayed, an independent researcher on jihadism and the politics and security of the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

The TTP’s leadership “sought Al Qaeda counselling or approval” in important decisions, Sayed told TRT World, referring to documents seized from the Bin Laden compound. Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), the group’s regional affiliate, has also participated in cross-border attacks with TTP, Sayed said.

Riaz Haq said...

What the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan means for India and Pakistan | The Economist

Besides losing all its investment in a secular, democratic Afghanistan, India has also lost strategic leverage. There were never Indian troops in Afghanistan, but its aid projects and four consulates certainly spooked the generals running the show in Pakistan. India’s close ties with the Afghan government gave its own security establishment a whiff of “over-the-horizon” influence that felt appropriate to an emerging superpower. When Pakistan-backed Islamists mounted terrorist attacks on India and stirred violence in its restive region of Kashmir, India could threaten to use its Afghan assets to stir trouble in Pakistan’s restive region of Balochistan. Now, with Mr Modi’s Hindu-nationalist government having stirred its own troubles in Kashmir, by stripping the region of autonomy in 2019, it must face the prospect of a new generation of Muslim Kashmiris inspired by the Taliban’s fanaticism.

Perhaps because its spies read the writing on the wall, or perhaps because its teachers and engineers increasingly risked being kidnapped, India had wound down its Afghan presence in recent years. Yet it was only in June that Indian envoys took the first tentative steps to engage with the Taliban. The reckoning with what an abrupt American departure from its backyard means for India has also been slow to settle. The Times of India, the country’s biggest-circulation English daily, voiced one common perception in a sour editorial on August 16th: “At a time when India has strategically hitched its wagon to the us, the Afghan situation should make New Delhi think twice about putting all its eggs in Washington’s basket.”
This is a conclusion that Pakistan, as well as its “all-weather friend” China, will be happy for India to draw. With a stagnant economy and stymied politics, India’s nuclear-armed neighbour has not had much to cheer about of late. So it is that even if urban Pakistanis have little affinity with the Taliban, many are crowing at the Islamists’ success. Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, went so far as to proclaim that Afghans had “broken the chains of slavery” with the West.
Mr Durrani says that Pakistan itself deserves no credit for the Taliban victory, except for having resisted pressure from America and its allies to crack down on the group. He is too modest. The original Taliban, or “students”, of the 1990s, were students in Pakistani madrassas. Certainly, after America’s invasion in 2001, the Taliban would never have survived their years in the wilderness without the haven provided by Pakistan.
That Pakistan has stood by the Taliban is especially striking, considering that an ideological affiliate based in Afghanistan, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (ttp), has terrorised Pakistan itself, for example by slaughtering more than 145 children and adults at an army-run school in 2014. Questioned about reports that the Taliban have released ttp leaders from the Afghan prisons, the Pakistani interior minister says airily that he hopes for an agreement between the two countries not to allow their soil to be used to attack the other. Luckily for Pakistan’s generals they are rarely held accountable for any violent “blowback” from the isi’s nastier associates. Aside from the occasional diversion of a television interview, Mr Durrani can continue to enjoy his retirement in peace.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir Riaz

Pls check the latest reports, their is one Pakistani news journalist by the name "SUMERA KHAN", she is now in Afghanistan and she is giving interview to a Pakistani host "ATHER KAZMI". SUMERA KHAN has said in the end of her interview that MASHALLAH situation is not as bad as the Western and Indian media is trying to portray. Their are Taliban and American forces both at the airport of Kabul and both are working together without any quarrel or conflict. Both Taliban and American forces are having normal communication with each other. American forces are telling Taliban that they should take care of that side of the airport and American forces will take care of the other side of the airport.


Riaz Haq said...

#Afghan #Taliban Commission Looking Into #Pakistan’s Concerns: “TTP leaders are being warned to settle their problems with Pakistan and return to the country along with their families in exchange for a possible amnesty by the Pakistani government” #TTP

A high-powered commission set up by Afghanistan’s Taliban has been working to press anti-Pakistan militants to stop violence against the neighboring country and return to their homes across the border with their families, VOA has learned from highly-placed sources.

Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada set up the three-member commission recently to look into Islamabad’s complaints that the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), commonly known as the Pakistani Taliban, is using Afghan soil to plot cross-border terrorist attacks, the sources said.

“TTP leaders are being warned (by the Afghan Taliban Commission) to settle their problems with Pakistan and return to the country along with their families in exchange for a possible amnesty by the Pakistani government,” said the sources in Islamabad.

The sources privy to the matter revealed the details on condition of anonymity, citing the “sensitive nature” of the matter and for not being authorized to speak to media.

Pakistan and Afghan Taliban officials have not publicly commented on the development.

On Friday, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said Islamabad intends to raise the TTP-related concerns with Kabul.

“We have been taking up the issue of use of Afghan soil by the TTP for terrorist activities in Pakistan with the previous Afghan government and we will continue raising the issue with the future Afghan government as well to ensure that TTP is not provided any space in Afghanistan to operate against Pakistan,” Chaudhri told his weekly news conference.

The sources, while speaking to VOA, ruled out the possibility of Pakistan accepting any TTP demands, insisting the amnesty would be offered in line with the country’s constitution and law of the land, that require the militants to surrender their firearms in order to protect Pakistan’s years of counterterrorism gains.

The United States and the United Nations have also listed the TTP as a global terrorist organization.

The February 2020 deal reached between the Taliban and the United States in Doha, which paved the way for foreign troops to leave Afghanistan, binds the Islamist group to prevent regional as well as transnational terrorist groups from using Afghan soil to threaten global security.

"This concern is legitimate, and our policy is clear that we will not allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against any neighboring country, including Pakistan. So they should not have any concern,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told VOA, without sharing further details.

Shaheen said be it TTP or any other terrorist group they “will have no place in our country and that’s a clear message to all.”

The Taliban are in desperate need of support from regional and international countries now that they are in control of Afghanistan to address governance as well as critical economic challenges facing the country, one of the poorest in the world.

Analysts say it would be extremely difficult for the Taliban to disregard reservations of all the neighboring countries, including Pakistan, on the presence of terrorists which have targets across the Afghan border.

“If they (the Afghan Taliban) fail to deliver on their counterterrorism commitments, not only Pakistan but China, Russia, Iran and Central Asian countries would all be upset because they also complain that fugitive militants sheltering on Afghan soil threaten their national interests,” the Pakistani sources stressed.

“Can they survive if they turn their guns against us and support TTP? This is not possible. Our trade routes are a lifeline for them, for landlocked Afghanistan,” the sources added.

Riaz Haq said...

British Defense Chief General Sir Nick Carter: The world should give the Taliban the space to form a new government in Afghanistan and may discover that the insurgents cast as militants by the West for decades have become more reasonable, the head of the British army said on Wednesday.


General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the British Armed Forces, says that General Bajwa is an upright man.

The head of the British Armed Forces, General Sir Nick Carter, told the BBC that General Bajwa wanted to see a peaceful and moderate Afghanistan.

General Sir Nick Carter 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.

Riaz Haq said...

Afghanistan: Defence Secretary Ben Wallace backs UK armed forces chief General Sir Nick Carter over 'Taliban has changed' remarks

The chief of the defence staff had told Sky News that the Taliban wants an 'inclusive' country and is 'a group of country boys that live by a code of honour',

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has backed the UK's armed forces chief over comments he made to Sky News suggesting the Taliban has "changed" since it was last in power 20 years ago.

General Sir Nick Carter also called the insurgents "a group of country boys who live by a code of honour" and said that they wanted an "inclusive" country.

Sir Nick, chief of the defence staff, said on Wednesday that the world should be patient and "hold its nerve" to see what Afghanistan's future holds under a Taliban-led government.

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".

His remarks have since been criticised as "absurd" and "unpalatable".

But Mr Wallace told Kay Burley on Sky News: "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.

"When he says things, we should listen and we should value it. He is my adviser, he is the prime minister's adviser, and he is absolutely right in some of his observations".

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said the general's remarks were a "very difficult and unpalatable message", particularly for women and girls in Afghanistan.

The comments have also come in for heavy criticism elsewhere.

Sky's chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay told Burley: "To say that we've been able to gauge what the Taliban is actually like nowadays is frankly absurd."

Labour MP Dan Jarvis, who also served in the British armed forces in Afghanistan, said: "I'm with Stuart on this one. This is a critical moment and it's very early days...[the Taliban] will be judged not by their words but by their actions."

Also speaking to Burley, political activist Hassina Syed - who managed to get an RAF flight to the UK to escape the country - said: "Actions speak louder than words...this is not the time [to know what will happen] in the future...we have to wait and see."

But former British army officer Simon Conway, whose involvement with the Halo Trust charity has included working with former Taliban fighters, suggested the Taliban may have changed in some ways.

He told Sky News: "It is possible to deal with honourable people. I can't speak for everyone, but there are elements within the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan that it's possible to reason with.

"They will be judged by their actions."

Riaz Haq said...

An Indian's view of events in Afghanistan

A strategic assessment from India: Kabul’s chaos makes Pakistan look more dangerous
New Atlanticist by Vappala Balachandran

India invested heavily in a peaceful Afghanistan. “No part of Afghanistan today is untouched by the four hundred-plus projects that India has undertaken in all thirty-four of Afghanistan’s provinces,” said Jaishankar.

Over twenty years, India spent more than three billion US dollars on projects—from roads, dams, and electricity-transmission capacity to schools and hospitals—in Afghanistan, the Indian Express reports.

India showed up too. The highway from Zaranj to Delaram was inaugurated by President Hamid Karzai and India’s then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in January 2009. (The only “contribution” the Taliban made was by killing six Indian workers and 129 Afghans in terrorist attacks while they worked on the highway project.) Afghanistan’s new parliament building, built by India, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015.

These links are part of an Indo-Afghan relationship going back to the third century BCE, when Greeks ceded most of what is now Afghanistan to the Mauryan Empire. Students from Central Asia and Afghanistan studied at the university of ancient Taxila. Philologists say that Pashto, the national language of Afghanistan, is derived from Sanskrit and influenced by Persian. Jawaharlal Nehru, in The Discovery of India, noted that twelfth-century Afghan invaders settled down by marrying Hindu women.

Cultural relations continued after the partition of India in 1947, when Pakistan absorbed the Pashto-speaking northwest areas, though big Pashto-speaking enclaves persist in various Indian states.

There were close bonds between Afghans and Indian Congress party leaders, as highlighted in Canadian filmmaker Teri McLuhan’s 2008 documentary, Frontier Gandhi, and in Non-violent Soldier of Islam, the 1984 book by Eknath Easwaran on the life of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. “Badshah Khan,” as he was fondly called by his followers, was a freedom fighter from undivided India, born in Utamzai, Pakistan, but buried in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. He was close to Mahatma Gandhi, chose Gandhian principles of peaceful struggle, and advocated for women’s rights even in a tribal society.

Ghaffar Khan, who is not as widely remembered as Gandhi, had a different interpretation for jihad: “It is the weapon of the Prophet, but you are not aware of it. That weapon is called patience and righteousness.”

As has been the case for millennia, India’s ambitions in Afghanistan are cultural in nature, not military. The same cannot be said for Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Did the War in #Afghanistan Have to Happen? “One mistake was that we turned down the Taliban’s attempt to negotiate (in 2001)” said Carter Malkasian, a former senior adviser to Gen. Joseph Dunford, who was chairman of #US Joint Chiefs of Staff. #Taliban

“We were hugely overconfident in 2001, and we thought the Taliban had gone away and weren’t going to come back,” he said. “We also wanted revenge, and so we made a lot of mistakes that we shouldn’t have made," said Malkasian

Almost 20 years later, the United States did negotiate a deal to end the Afghan war, but the balance of power was entirely different by then — it favored the Taliban.


Taliban fighters brandished Kalashnikovs and shook their fists in the air after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, defying American warnings that if they did not hand over Osama Bin Laden, their country would be bombed to smithereens.

The bravado faded once American bombs began to fall. Within a few weeks, many of the Taliban had fled the Afghan capital, terrified by the low whine of approaching B-52 aircraft. Soon, they were a spent force, on the run across the arid mountain-scape of Afghanistan. As one of the journalists who covered them in the early days of the war, I saw their uncertainty and loss of control firsthand.

It was in the waning days of November 2001 that Taliban leaders began to reach out to Hamid Karzai, who would soon become the interim president of Afghanistan: They wanted to make a deal.

“The Taliban were completely defeated, they had no demands, except amnesty,” recalled Barnett Rubin, who worked with the United Nations’ political team in Afghanistan at the time.

Messengers shuttled back and forth between Mr. Karzai and the headquarters of the Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, in Kandahar. Mr. Karzai envisioned a Taliban surrender that would keep the militants from playing any significant role in the country’s future.

But Washington, confident that the Taliban would be wiped out forever, was in no mood for a deal.

“The United States is not inclined to negotiate surrenders,” Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said in a news conference at the time, adding that the Americans had no interest in leaving Mullah Omar to live out his days anywhere in Afghanistan. The United States wanted him captured or dead.

Almost 20 years later, the United States did negotiate a deal to end the Afghan war, but the balance of power was entirely different by then — it favored the Taliban.

For diplomats who had spent years trying to shore up the U.S. and NATO mission in Afghanistan, the deal that President Donald J. Trump struck with the Taliban in February 2020 to withdraw American troops — an agreement President Biden decided to uphold shortly after taking office this year — felt like a betrayal.

Now, with the Taliban back in power, some of those diplomats are looking back at a missed chance by the United States, all those years ago, to pursue a Taliban surrender that could have halted America’s longest war in its infancy, or shortened it considerably, sparing many lives.

For some veterans of America’s entanglement in Afghanistan, it is hard to imagine that talks with the Taliban in 2001 would have yielded a worse outcome than what the United States ultimately got.

“One mistake was that we turned down the Taliban’s attempt to negotiate,” Carter Malkasian, a former senior adviser to Gen. Joseph Dunford, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during parts of the Obama and Trump administrations, said of the American decision not to discuss a Taliban surrender nearly 20 years ago.

“We were hugely overconfident in 2001, and we thought the Taliban had gone away and weren’t going to come back,” he said. “We also wanted revenge, and so we made a lot of mistakes that we shouldn’t have made.”

Riaz Haq said...

Ambassador Ryan Crocker on #US exit from #Afghanistan:"We have again validated their (#Pakistanis) skepticism". Pakistanis "knew we (US) will go home but they aren’t going anywhere--this is where they live".They'd not "turn the Taliban into a mortal enemy"

I recall the comment attributed to a captured Taliban fighter from a number of years ago: You Americans have the watches, but we have the time. Sadly that view proved accurate — the Taliban outlasted us and our impatience. After the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan at the hands of U.S.-trained and armed mujahedeen in 1989, training that was facilitated by Pakistan, we decided we were done. We could see the Afghan civil war coming — the only thing holding the disparate Afghan groups together was a common enemy. But that was not our problem — we were leaving. On the way out, we stopped helping Pakistan in a key way: We ended security and economic assistance because of its nuclear weapons program, something we’d exempted before. So Pakistan, in its own narrative, went from being the most allied of allies to the most sanctioned of adversaries. That is why Pakistan threw its support to the Taliban when they started gaining ground in the 1990s: It could end a dangerous conflict along Pakistan’s own unstable borders.

And that is why a decade later after 9/11, Pakistan welcomed the return of the United States — and U.S. assistance. It would work with us against Al Qaeda. But we soon learned that the Taliban were a sticky matter. I was ambassador to Pakistan from 2004 to 2007. 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.

The Washington Post notes that “as the Taliban swept across neighboring Afghanistan, some Pakistanis saw it as a reason to celebrate.” Yet I doubt there are many high fives being exchanged in Islamabad today. The American disaster in Afghanistan that Mr. Biden’s impatience brought about is not a disaster just for us. It has also been a huge boost for the Taliban, whose narrative now is that the believers, clad in the armor of the one true faith, have vanquished the infidels. That is resonating around the world, and certainly next door in Pakistan where the T.T.P. — the Pakistani Taliban, which seeks the overthrow of their government — has certainly been emboldened, as have Kashmiri militant groups created by Pakistan but that threaten Pakistan itself as well as India. Mr. Biden’s strategic impatience has given a huge boost to militant Islam everywhere.

We need to be engaged with Pakistan on ways to assess and deal with this enhanced threat. The prospect of violent destabilization of a country with about 210 million people and nuclear weapons is not a pretty one. The same is true in Iran. It’s always good to see the Great Satan take a kick in the face, and it’s worth a little gloating, but the Islamic Republic and the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate almost went to war in 1998. A region is worried, and it is right to be so.

Riaz Haq said...

Current #Afghan exodus is being blamed entirely on #Taliban victory. But lots of people in many #poor countries want to leave for rich nations. For decades, Afghans have been migrating to Europe. In 2015-2016, 300,000 arrived in #Europe from #Afghanistan.

Afghan refugees in Pakistan
The vast majority of Afghan refugees do not settle in the West.

Pakistan, which shares a 1,640-mile land border with Afghanistan, has long absorbed the largest number of Afghan refugees even though it is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention or the 1967 Protocol. Within two years of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, following the conflict ignited by the rise of the Mujahideen, 1.5 million Afghans had become refugees. By 1986, nearly five million Afghans had fled to Pakistan and Iran.

Since March 2002, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, had repatriated nearly 3.2 million Afghans, but in April 2021, the United Nations reported that more than 1.4 million Afghan refugees remained in Pakistan due to ongoing violence, unemployment and political turbulence in Afghanistan.

Iran also remains a significant host for Afghans, with nearly 800,000 registered refugees and at least two million more who are unregistered. Smaller numbers of Afghan refugees and asylum-seekers are in India (15,689), Indonesia (7,692) and Malaysia (2,478).

Turkey – the world’s largest refugee host, with over 3.8 million registered Syrian refugees – has 980 registered Afghan refugees and 116,000 Afghan asylum-seekers.


A muted US role
The U.S. Refugee Act of 1980 standardized the procedures for admitting refugees – people who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution – and put in place a rigorous vetting process. But over the past 40 years, U.S. acceptance rates for refugees worldwide have fallen significantly – from 200,000 admitted in 1980 to less than 50,000 in 2019.

Over the past 20 years, the U.S. admitted more than 20,000 Afghan refugees – an average of roughly 1,000 per year. But during the 2020-2021 fiscal year, just 11,800 refugees from around the world settled in the U.S. – among them were only 495 Afghan Special Immigrant Visa recipients. That number seems tiny compared to the approximately 20,000 Afghans who are currently in the pipeline waiting for a SIV and the additional 70,000 Afghans — including applicants and their immediate family members — who are eligible to apply.

Europe hosts few Afghan refugees
For decades, Afghans have also migrated or fled to Europe. Between 2015-2016, 300,000 of them arrived on the continent. They were the second-largest group of refugees and asylum-seekers after Syrians. Asylum seekers are people seeking refugee status, but whose claim has yet to be evaluated.

The Afghan population across the European continent remains small and unevenly distributed. Up until the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August 2021, many Afghans were facing deportations. Germany is the largest European host, followed by Austria, France and Sweden.

For the first three months of 2021 about 7,000 Afghans were granted permanent or temporary legal status in the European Union. They are distributed between Greece, France, Germany and Italy, with smaller Afghan contingents in other EU states.

Australia – based on its 2016 census – has approximately 47,000 Afghans who are permanent residents, some of whom began arriving as early as 1979. Approximately another 4,200 Afghans have received temporary protected status.

Riaz Haq said...

India's current National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said in 2013 that the the 325,000 strong Afghan Army and police will deliver. They are well trained and sufficiently motivated. They will defend the Afghan state and Afghanistan's constitution irrespective of what happens at the political level. Doval said he didn't believe 15-20 Pakistani security officials who have told him otherwise. He never believes anything the Pakistanis say.

Riaz Haq said...

Why so much poppy grows in Afghanistan?

1. Poppy plant is very hardy. It grows easily in Afghan soil where other crops are much harder to grow.

2. Harvesting poppy is labor intensive and uses a lot of people in a place like Afghanistan where there's very little mechanization.

3. Poppy earns a lot of cash to support the economy.

Via APM Marketplace radio show

Despite the U.S. spending approximately $8.97 billion over the past two decades trying to eradicate Afghanistan’s illegal drug trade, it remains the world’s biggest supplier of illicit opium and the crop remains an important source of funding for the Taliban.

Jeffrey Clemens, an associate professor of economics at the University of California at San Diego, spoke with “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal about the economic fundamentals that helped doom the U.S. effort to suppress opium production in Afghanistan and what it means for the Taliban’s power. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Kai Ryssdal: Can we do a little ground truth here before we dig in? Drug trafficking and the Afghan economy — contextualize that for me.

Jeffrey Clemens: Sure. According to the United Nations, in 2020, Afghan farmers would have received something on the order of $500 million associated with selling the opium that they’ve cultivated, and the estimated value of the heroin and other opiates as they cross the border out of Afghanistan and into other countries is somewhere on the order of $2 billion. So, that amount accounts for something like 10% of its overall [gross domestic product].

Ryssdal: OK, here’s the thing: The American government spent billions of dollars over the past 20 years trying to eradicate the opium trade. Obviously, it has failed. First of all, was that a fool’s errand?

Clemens: Yes. I think it was a fool’s errand, in large part because the cultivation of opium poppy by Afghan farmers and the trafficking of that opium and heroin out of the country is something that, unfortunately, just has made sense in terms of economic fundamentals within Afghanistan. Should I take a minute to unpack that?

Ryssdal: Yeah, that’d be great, actually.

Clemens: Sure. So you know, when we think about why Afghanistan has played such a major role in the global trade in opiates, there are a few, you know, in some ways, very mundane reasons why that’s the case. So for one, the agricultural land in Afghanistan is not that great, and opium poppy turns out to be a pretty hardy crop. The second issue is that the infrastructure in Afghanistan is quite bad, which means that there’s more risk than you might expect for cultivating relatively perishable crops. Opium tends to be relatively nonperishable, and it’s also pretty lightweight for the cash value. And then finally, opium poppy is incredibly labor-intensive to harvest. And so an economy like Afghanistan’s, where there, you know, isn’t a lot of high-tech capital associated with the agricultural sector, ends up being a place where opium poppy tends to thrive. And so the U.S. and international effort to suppress the opium trade is trying to push against all of these, you know, pretty basic economic fundamentals, making it, as you said, a fool’s errand.

Riaz Haq said...

The Islamic State in ‘Khorasan’: How it began and where it stands now in Nangarhar - Afghanistan Analysts Network

by Borhan Osman, Afghan Analysts Network

Gradually, the muhajerin turned out to be more than solely oppressed civilians in pursuit of humanitarian assistance. They carried weapons and displayed allegiance to Pakistani militant groups. Hoping to use them against Pakistan, the Afghan government started to woo some of these fighters, according to influential tribal elders involved in helping relation-building from the districts that sheltered the guest militants. Tribal elders feuding against their rivals over land or power also sought to get the support of one group or another. The most well-known case of these militants finding a welcoming home in Nangarhar is that of the Lashkar-e Islam group led by Mangal Bagh. (1) Local residents put the number of this group from the Khyber Agency differently, but a general estimation puts them at no fewer than 500 in the past three years.


However, efforts by the Afghan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS, the Afghan intelligence), to woo Pakistani militants in Nangarhar have not been confined to Lashkar-e Islam or to militants from Khyber. Tribal elders and ordinary residents of Achin, Nazian and Kot testify that fighters from Orakzai and Mohmand agencies belonging to different factions of the TTP have been allowed free movement across the province, as well as treatment in government hospitals. When moving outside their hub in Nangarhar’s southern districts, they would go unarmed. In off-the-record conversations with AAN, government officials have verified this type of relationship between segments of the Pakistani militants and the NDS, as have pro-government tribal elders and politicians in Jalalabad. They described this state of affairs as a small-scale tit-for-tat

Riaz Haq said...

#British General Nick Carter's response to BBC's Yalda Hakim's charge of #Taliban "safe havens" in #Pakistan: Pakistanis have hosted millions of #Afghan refugees for years & "they end up with all sorts of people"....they can't "heartlessly" kick them out

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.

Riaz Haq said...

Did #Pakistan Help #Taliban Retake #Afghanistan? Ex #US #military advisor Sara Chayes alleges the it was the #Pakistani #ISI that helped the "rag-tag" Taliban militia plan & execute their recent military campaign to swiftly retake Afghanistan via @YouTube

Riaz Haq said...

Thousands of #Afghans refugees streaming into #Pakistan By @AJLabs

Karachi, Pakistan - As the world watched the frantic evacuations from Kabul’s airport, thousands of people were making their way to Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan on foot and in any vehicles they could find, far from the glare of news cameras.

Officially, the border is closed to all except those with valid paperwork for medical reasons, work or to see family on either side.

Yet, thousands of Afghans have streamed through the Spin Boldak border crossing in Afghanistan’s southeastern Kandahar province into the Pakistani town of Chaman.

Local sources say that, for weeks, up to 5,000 Afghans had been crossing daily until August 15, the day the Taliban took control of Kabul; that number has since doubled.

Today, Pakistan is home to more than 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees, many of whom entered the country some 40 years ago, after the Soviet invasion in 1979.

Hundreds of thousands more joined them after the US invasion in 2001.

By 2002, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) counted three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Many returned to Afghanistan and the numbers dropped until the US troop withdrawal began this year.

Pakistan’s government insists it is unprepared for a refugee influx and is considering options for how best to manage the new arrivals.

After negotiating the crossing, most refugees make their way to Pakistan’s main urban centres, seeking shelter, safety and, in some instances, the means for an onward journey.

In a bustling corner of Karachi, a sprawling metropolis of more than 20 million people in southern Pakistan, a sizable Afghan community has lived for decades.

Many of them came as refugees in the 1980s.

Behind the narrow, broken streets near the city’s largest bus terminal, the neighbourhood is covered with low-rise apartment complexes, the roads choked with motorcycles and bicycles.

In the corner of one such apartment compound, there are several homes with their doors wide open.

A group of men sits on the stoop as young boys play in the concrete yard.

Some of them have just made their way from Afghanistan. They had to brave violence and risk being turned away or arrested at security checkpoints as they fled a country in the throes of transition.

It is a journey some have endured before.

This is the second time they become refugees. Some, who have refugee ID cards issued by the Pakistani government, know they will have certain rights and protections guaranteed in their host country.

But others have entered without any paperwork at all. Here are some of their stories.

Riaz Haq said...

#US sees "critical" Afghanistan role for #Pakistan despite #Taliban ties. On Tuesday, #Afghan women and men marched to the Pakistani embassy in #Kabul condemning the offensive in #PanjshirValley. "Support Panjshir, death to Pakistan," they shouted.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has denied that his country is taking sides in Afghanistan.

One week before the Taliban swept into Kabul, Khan told journalists: "Pakistan is just considered only to be useful in the context of somehow settling this mess which has been left behind after 20 years of trying to find a military solution when there was not one."

Khan added: "I think that the Americans have decided that India is their strategic partner now, and I think that's why there's a different way of treating Pakistan now."


"Pakistan has frequently and publicly advocated for an inclusive government with broad support in Afghanistan and we look to Pakistan to play a critical role in enabling that outcome," the (US) spokesperson added.

"The entire international community has a stake in ensuring the Taliban live up to their public commitments and obligations.

"It's critical that the members of the international community with the most influence in Afghanistan use all the means at their disposal to ensure that Afghanistan lives up to its obligations under the UN Charter."

With the fall of the U.S.-backed civilian government in Kabul last month, the Taliban has seized control of most of the country and is now defeating the last resistance groups in the Panjshir Valley as it prepares to announce the makeup of its new government.

National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF) leader Ahmad Massoud claimed this week that Pakistan facilitated his forces' defeat in Panjshir.

Massoud alleged that his forces had been under "bombardment by Pakistan and Taliban," and that "foreign mercenaries supporting the Taliban have always existed, they did so in the past, and will continue to do in the future."

The NRF has been posting propaganda posters online framing the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan as subservient to Pakistan.

Some Afghans were also outraged by a photograph of ISI chief Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed visiting Kabul last week as the Taliban discussed the formation of their new government. His presence was taken as a sign of Pakistani and ISI influence over the incoming government.

There have also been reports that the ISI is fuelling Taliban infighting between those loyal to political leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and members of the powerful Haqqani network.

The U.S. is in the process of recalibrating its Afghanistan strategy, following the humiliating retreat from Kabul and the stunning failure of its costly two-decade nation-building effort.

American officials are still in touch with the Taliban as the U.S. tries to extract all remaining American citizens who wish to leave the country. The diplomatic effort is being run through a team in Doha, Qatar, following the abandonment of the U.S. embassy in Kabul during the withdrawal.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #Army Chief Gen Bajwa: “Our enemies are...using non-traditional means including propaganda and disinformation to achieve their nefarious objectives". We must deal “strictly with some internal elements spreading chaos.” #DefenceDay2021 #Disinfo

“No individual or group will be allowed to blackmail the state on the basis of area, ethnicity, ideology or religion,” he said during an event commemorating Defense Day at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, adding that no individual or group aside from the armed forces and law-enforcement agencies would be allowed to display weapons or use them.

Urging the nation to unite to make Pakistan a “progressive, peaceful and a modern Islamic and welfare state,” he said the country’s strength and longevity lay with a democratic setup. “To make it more stable, we will have to follow the principles of following the Constitution, justice, tolerance and equality,” he said, adding that “negative attitudes like criticism for the sake of criticism, hatred and intolerance” should be discouraged.

“If Pakistan has to progress, we will have to bury our ego and self-interest … According to [former] U.S. president John F. Kennedy, ‘Do not ask what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country’,” he said. In light of the requirements of the 21st century, Gen. Bajwa said the state should strive for people’s progress and happiness, regional cooperation and acquiring modern technology instead of the negative traditional geopolitical thought against each other.” He said education, health, infrastructure development, population control and climate change should be national priorities.

The Pakistan Army chief also reiterated his concerns with the changing nature of warfare, stressing that modern technology and ways of communication had replaced large-scale conflict to weaken a nation’s unity and ideological boundaries, spread chaos in different sectors, and demoralize people. “Our enemies are also using non-traditional means including propaganda and disinformation to achieve their nefarious objectives,” he said, and warned that authorities also had to deal “strictly with some internal elements spreading chaos.”

Referring to hybrid, or fifth-generation, warfare, he said: “It is a moment of reflection for all of us that some people are being used by anti-state elements.” He warned that this was intended to “make Pakistan’s roots hollow and damage the country’s unity.” However, he added, such negative objectives would not be allowed to succeed.