Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Checkered History of Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations

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.

The central government in Pakistan responded by assimilating Pakhtoons in civil and military services from 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.

Both the Afghan and the Indian governments continued to back the Pakhtoonistan movement in 1960s 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.

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 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 1990s, 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 the 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 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.


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 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.

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses this subject with Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

What is the Haqqani Network?

Trump's Afghan Strategy: Will Pakistan Yield to US Pressure?

Why is India Sponsoring Terror in Pakistan?

Karan Thapar Debunks Indian Narrative of Kulbhushan Yadav

Coll's Directorate Demonizes Pakistan ISI

Gen Petraeus Debunks Charges of Pakistani Duplicity

Husain Haqqani vs Riaz Haq on India vs Pakistan

Impact of Trump's Top Picks on Pakistan

Husain Haqqani Advising Trump on Pakistan Policy?

Gall-Haqqani-Paul Narrative on Pakistan

India Ex RAW Officer Documents Success Against Pakistan

Robert Gates' Straight Talk on Pakistan


nayyer ali said...

What some British major on the ground in Afghanistan did nor did not hear on the radio is rather meaningless. No one is suggesting that Pakistani ISI operatives are in Afghanistan fighting the coalition or talking on the radio. Pakistan provides support on its side of the border, the Afghan Taliban fighters move back and forth to carry out their attacks on Afghans. Are you seriously claiming that Pakistan has never supported the Taliban and has nothing to do with them? The logic escapes me, who rules Afghanistan is a vital Pakistan interest on the one hand, and on the other the Pakistani Army and its very capable intelligence service is doing absolutely nothing to advance that interest? You never heard of the Quetta Shura, or that many Taliban leaders were killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan? What were they doing there if Pakistan was not supporting them?

Riaz Haq said...

NA: "What some British major on the ground in Afghanistan did nor did not hear on the radio is rather meaningless."

What the British major saw and heard during his three tours of duty in Afghanistan is far more meaningful than your view of what is happening there.


Also much more meaningful than your opinions is what US Gen David Petraeus says about Pakistan's role in Afghanistan.

Why? Because Petraeus held top positions as CIA director, and as US military commander in Afghanistan.

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

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


nayyer ali said...

You didn't actually respond to any of my questions, and recycling two or three quotes while ignoring all other evidence is poor logic.
You also are extremely selective in what you pick out of Petraeus' view. See this from NY Times:
C.I.A. Steps Up Drone Attacks on Taliban in Pakistan
September 27 2010
As evidence of the growing frustration of American officials, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Afghanistan, has recently issued veiled warnings to top Pakistani commanders that the United States could launch unilateral ground operations in the tribal areas should Pakistan refuse to dismantle the militant networks in North Waziristan, according to American officials.

“Petraeus wants to turn up the heat on the safe havens,” said one senior administration official, explaining the sharp increase in drone strikes. “He has pointed out to the Pakistanis that they could do more.”

Special Operations commanders have also been updating plans for cross-border raids, which would require approval from President Obama. For now, officials said, it remains unlikely that the United States would make good on such threats to send American troops over the border, given the potential blowback inside Pakistan, an ally.

But that could change, they said, if Pakistan-based militants were successful in carrying out a terrorist attack on American soil. American and European intelligence officials in recent days have spoken publicly about growing evidence that militants may be planning a large-scale attack in Europe, and have bolstered security at a number of European airports and railway stations.

“We are all seeing increased activity by a more diverse set of groups and a more diverse set of threats,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano before a Senate panel last week.

The senior administration official said the strikes were intended not only to attack Taliban and Haqqani fighters, but also to disrupt any plots directed from or supported by extremists in Pakistan’s tribal areas that were aimed at targets in Europe. “The goal is to suppress or disrupt that activity,” the official said.

The 20 C.I.A. drone attacks in September represent the most intense bombardment by the spy agency since January, when the C.I.A. carried out 11 strikes after a suicide bomber killed seven agency operatives at a remote base in eastern Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

NA: "You also are extremely selective in what you pick out of Petraeus' view. See this from NY Times: C.I.A. Steps Up Drone Attacks on Taliban in Pakistan September 27 2010"

And you're not selective? Picking out a NY Times report to support your opinion? Why not get first hand info directly from the people who know better....people who challenge journalists' 2nd and 3rd hand accounts?

Watch the following videos and listen first hand to the words of Gen David Petraeus and Major Robert Gallimore:



Riaz Haq said...

The Forgotten History of
Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations
by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Tara Vassefi


It was Afghanistan rather than Pakistan that chose to make this border dispute, and the issue of Pashtunistan, so central to the two
states’ relations.

At the outset, Afghanistan was the only country to vote against Pakistan’s admission into the United Nations, justifying this vote with the argument that Pakistan’s northwest frontier “should not be recognized as a part of
Pakistan until the Pashtuns of that area had been given the opportunity to opt out for
independence.”12 Pakistan was admitted despite Afghanistan’s objections. But thereafter
Kabul launched a series of low-level attacks against Pakistan, maintaining some degree
of plausible deniability throughout (as Pakistan would later do when non-state actors
that it sponsored struck at India, Afghanistan, US forces, and others).
George Montagno, who served as a visiting professor of American history at the
University of Karachi, has noted that for years after Pakistan’s creation, Afghan agents
operated within the Pashtun areas, “distributing large amounts of money, ammunition
and even transistor radios in an effort to sway loyalties from Pakistan to Afghanistan.”13
Another of their obvious goals was to build support for an independent Pashtunistan.
At the same time that Afghanistan worked to build support within Pakistan’s Pashtun
areas, it also escalated its attacks into Pakistan proper.
Pakistan claimed that on September 30, 1950, its northern border was attacked by
Afghan tribesmen, as well as regular Afghan troops, who crossed into Pakistan 30
miles northeast of Chaman in Baluchistan.14 It didn’t take long for Pakistan to repel
this low-scale invasion, and its government announced that it had “driven invaders
from Afghanistan back across the border after six days of fighting.”15 For its own
part, Afghanistan claimed that it had no involvement in this attack, which it said was
comprised exclusively of Pashtun tribesmen agitating for an independent Pashtunistan.
But given Afghanistan’s later use of irregular forces dressed as tribesmen, Pakistan’s
claims that the aggression had emanated from Afghanistan’s government seem credible.

Majumdar said...

This nautanki wont end until Pakistan integrates Afghanistan or at least its Pushtoon speaking East and South into the Islamic Republic. The Tajik and Uzbek parts can integrate into Tajikstan/Uzbekstan respectively.

Ahmad F. said...

True. And there are a lot of reasons for the checkered history, several of which you mention. Pakistan is not blameless.

Can anything be done to improve the ties?

Have you written anything similar about the history with Iran?

And how about the long history of separatism in Balochistan?

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "Can anything be done to improve ties (with Afghanistan)?"

Yes. I think it requires the following:

1. Understand and acknowledge the complicated history of the region, particularly the history of the Great Game played between the British and the Russian empires.

2. Accept that this great game is more complicated: It's not just between India and Pakistan; it involves many other players from within and outside the region.

3. Try to hammer out a regional solution that is acceptable to at least India and Pakistan. ...and hopefully other players.

On Iran-Pakistan ties, here a piece I wrote a few months ago:

Iran and Pakistan: Friends or Foes?


On Balochistan: I think it's part of the great game that also includes India, Iran, Afghanistan and other players.

Anonymous said...

Afghan Pak History

When Maharaja Ranjit Singh crossed the Indus and captured Peshawar, the Durrani winter capital, and its surroundings in 1823 from the Afghans, little did he realize that he was to change the course of history of the region forever. Very much like Caesar crossing the Rubicon, there was no turning back once the Sikhs established themselves on the west bank of the Indus. The British inherited Ranjit Singh’s empire that included Peshawar and pushed it further westwards, demarcating their boundary with Afghanistan via the 1893 Durand Line. Pakistan, in turn, inherited the British possessions in 1947 and the stage was set for the events that had, and continue to have, a fundamental impact on Pakistan and the region. Ayub Khan possibly best summed up Pakistan’s disparaging attitude towards Afghanistan. Keen to project Pakistan as the best Muslim bastion against the spread of Soviet communism, in December 1959 he told visiting US president Eisenhower, ‘The Afghans were not Muslims nearly as much as they were opportunists.’
Commenting on this, Haqqani notes that this provided an insight into the emerging mindset in Pakistan. ‘Afghans had been Muslim for longer than several ethnic groups in Pakistan. Pakistan had come into being only twelve years earlier, whereas Pakistan’s military dictator felt he could dismiss his country’s northwestern neighbor as an opportunist and as insufficiently Muslim.
A broad sweep of the history of Pak-Afghan relations since 1947 reveals that at its core, Pakistan’s policy is dictated by its insecurity vis-à-vis the Durand Line. Right from 1947, Pakistan was faced with a western border that was disputed by its neighbour just as, in its perceptions, India in the east too was seeking to undo Partition. Afghanistan was the only country that opposed Pakistan’s membership to the United Nations on 30 September 1947 on the grounds that treaties with Britain lapsed when a new state, Pakistan, was created. As such, for Afghanistan, the Durand Line that demarcated the border between Afghanistan and British India after the Second Afghan War ceased to exist. In any case, the Afghans considered the 1878 Treaty of Gandamak and the Durand Agreement of 1893 as unjust agreements imposed on them by Britain, which they were forced to accept after a military defeat. Every Afghan government has hoped to re-annex the territories east of the border, extending up to the River Indus.

Ref: Olaf Caroe, The Pathans, Karachi: OUP, 1976 reprint, originally published in 1958, p. 325.

‘Memorandum of a Conversation, Karachi, Pakistan, 8 December 1959, FRUS 15 (1958-1960)’, cited in Husain Haqqani, ‘Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, The United States and an Epic History of Misunderstanding, New York: Public Affairs, 2013, p. 93.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: " Ayub Khan possibly best summed up Pakistan’s disparaging attitude towards Afghanistan."

Ayub Khan was a Pashtun. He saw himself as a Pakistani, not an Afghan.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Khaled Hosseini on Kabul, Peshawar and Islamabad in his book "The Kite Runner":

"If Peshawar was the city that reminded me of what Kabul used to be, then Islamabad was the city Kabul could have become someday. The streets were wider than Peshawar's, cleaner and lined with rows of hibiscus and flame trees."


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Afghan engaging in some wishful thinking vis-a-vis Pakistan:

Pashtun Spring: Time to redraw the boundary between Pakistan and Afghanistan


Redrawing the line, to merge FATA, Pakhtunkhwa and parts of Balochistan into Afghanistan could help to end the blood spilled in this region. This would eliminate the safe-haven status of the region for terrorists by bringing the lawless territory under the control of Afghanistan, where U.S. forces are operating. Eliminating the arbitrary, artificial border would be a great legacy for the United States and international community — winning over the hearts and minds of the region’s inhabitants by bringing together people who were forcefully divided more than a century ago.

In addition, redrawing the boundary would be a quick solution to reaching the collective objectives of the United States, NATO and Afghanistan. This would:

Make it difficult for terrorists to use the area to plan and train for their operations, and will deny them a place to which they can escape the U.S., NATO or Afghan forces;
Help in monitoring Al-Qaeda activities, since the terrorist group continues to seek opportunities to strike Western countries;
Help to contain ISIS, whose members often hide in the mountains of the area;
Help the United States with its stabilization efforts in Central and South Asia;
Bolster the reputation of and regard for the United States, by promoting unity among people of the region.
Ultimately, bringing stability to this region, and getting rid of Pakistani-backed insurgency, could become a model of freedom. Redrawing the Durand Line and merging the territory into Afghanistan would give the country access to international waters, providing a win from a logistical and economic perspective for the United States, NATO and Afghanistan. This would pave the way for a direct connection between Central Asia and the Middle East.

Rizwan A. said...

I read the article "Pashtun Spring: Time to redraw the boundary between Pakistan and Afghanistan" by Ahmed Shah Katawazai o Th Hill. As a Pakistani, I found the comments section very entertaining. I recommend it for everyone for a good laugh.

Anonymous said...

Afghans are our brothers.. We should be tolerant towards them...One day they will come around to see we are sincere.

Riaz Haq said...

My trip to Pakistan’s ‘Jihadi Disneyland’
A fact-finding tour of Waziristan, formerly the most dangerous place in the world
Freddy Gray


Not so long ago, Barack Obama called Waziristan ‘the most dangerous place in the world’. It was the losing front in the war on terror, a lawless region in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan infested with Taleban and terrorism. Today, thanks to the Pakistan army, even a risk-averse hack like me can go there with scarcely a tremor. On Wednesday, as part of a British media delegation, I flew by military helicopter to Miranshah, the administrative HQ of north Waziristan. The soldiers took us to a newly built ‘markaz (hideout) re-enactment’ centre, which we quickly renamed Jihadi Disneyland. It is a true-to-life terrorist den, constructed by Pakistani soldiers with extraordinary attention to detail. The idea, I think, is to educate future generations about the terrorists’ way of life. But it feels more like a show home for wannabe bin Ladens, featuring everything an aspiring holy warrior might want in his property. There’s an American Humvee parked in the courtyard, a massive weapons stash and a couple of goats tethered to a tree. There’s also a brightly decorated room for brainwashing child suicide bombers, with framed pictures of some of the 72 virgins awaiting the lad when he has done his duty. Plus some fruit. The pièce de résistance is a torture chamber in the underground tunnel network. ‘This is where they do the beheadings,’ said the proud colonel showing us round.

We then went on a bus tour of Miranshah, which is being reconstructed as a model Tribal Area town. The security forces talked about establishing ‘new normalcy’, but the atmosphere was strange, something like an enormous public school not quite ready for the new term. Miranshah has a sports ground, outdoor communal areas, educational facilities, a hospital, even a ‘tuck shop’. It was eerily empty. I couldn’t tell if that was because not many people really lived there or because the army, worried that we might be attacked, had shut the town down. ‘Why are all the signs in English?’ asked one of our group. ‘Oh that’s for the visitors,’ replied the colonel. ‘The locals, they know their way around.’

It’s vile to be cynical, especially in a country that has suffered so much. That same day, just six kilometres from where we were, two soldiers were killed in a rocket attack. Some 70,000 Pakistanis have now died — ‘embraced martyrdom’ is the official idiom — in the US-led war on terror. You can see why Pakistan’s government gets upset when Donald Trump accuses them on Twitter of harbouring terrorists and offering nothing but ‘lies and deceit’.

Our press trip, organised by the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, was meant to correct such misperceptions. We knew we were being spun, but it was impossible not to fall in love with the Pakistanis’ eccentric PR-style. In the Prime Minister’s office in Islamabad, Nasser Khan Janjua, the national security adviser, told us that Pakistan was ‘a scapegoat’. ‘Those who fight us blame us, those who side with us blame us,’ he said. He didn’t want to be gloomy, however, so for the last part of our interview he transmogrified into a representative of the tourism board and spent ten minutes showing us slides of his favourite parts of Pakistan.

Taj S. said...

Very good article. Short, to the point and informative. Free from charts and statistics.
It feels incomplete. Please continue to Part-2 of this History Lesson.

Riaz Haq said...

Taj: " Please continue to Part-2 of this History Lesson"

I will write more as events unfold. It's an ongoing saga.

Riaz Haq said...

History of #Pakistan -#Afghanistan Ties; Afghan War End-Game; #AsmaJehangir Tribute. #India #GreatGame #UnitedStates #Taliban #AlQaeda #terrorism #ISI #DirectorateS #SteveColl #Pashtun http://www.riazhaq.com/2018/02/history-of-pak-afghan-ties-afghan-war.html …

Munich [Germany], Feb 18 (ANI): Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has claimed that Pakistan does not have any organised terror outfits on its soil.

Addressing the Munich Security Conference (MSC) 2018 in Germany on Saturday, General Bajwa said, "Today, I can say with pride and conviction that there are no organised camps on our side of the border. However, presence of terrorists of various hues and colors cannot be ruled out. We still have their active and sleeper cells and they are hiding in mountains, border towns and 54 refugee camps, besides some major town and cities."

The army chief also stated that Pakistan still hosts approximately 2.7 million refugees from Afghanistan "whose concentration is regularly used by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Haqqani network to recruit, morph and melt".

Bajwa refused to blame the Kabul administration, and claimed that of the last 130 terrorist attacks in Pakistan's border areas last year, 123 were conceived, planned and executed from Afghanistan.

"We understand their [Kabul's] predicament and therefore we do not blame them, but instability in Afghanistan is also hurting us badly. And it is happening despite the presence of the most powerful alliance in Kabul," he said.

The Army Chief also urged the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to conduct, audit and introspect to find out the causes of the standoff.

"We defeated Al Qaeda, the TTP and Jammtul Ahrar while their safe havens still exist in Afghanistan at a mere fraction of resources employed at the other side of the border. Instead of blame game it is time for the NATO to conduct and audit and introspection to find out the causes of this stalemate," he added.

The three-day MSC, which commenced on Friday, is scheduled to end today.(ANI)

Riaz Haq said...

#Tajik, #Uzbek say #IamnotAfghan. #Afghanistan #eTazkira


It is a single word that outsiders commonly use to refer to nationals of Afghanistan. Its formal placement on the country's long-planned electronic identity card, however, has inspired a hashtag and arguments that reflect a national divide: #IAmNotAfghan.

President Ashraf Ghani and First Lady Rula Ghani became the first citizens to apply for the new card last week. But the proposed use of the word Afghan on its face may scupper the entire multi-million dollar project.

"I am from Afghanistan, but I am not Afghan," Aslam Niazy, a young citizen from Jowzjan province, wrote in a Facebook post, in three different national languages, on Monday. His post ignited a debate about ethnicity and identity among his friends on the social network, which has since spread across the country, reflecting a schism that continues to threaten Afghanistan’s unity.

Despite its initially apparent accuracy, members of minority ethnic groups equate "Afghan" as a synonymous and historic reference of Pashtun ethnicity, a group that makes up more than a third of the population.

"Those who oppose consider that the word Afghan is a reference to one community of Afghanistan and so cannot represent the identity of all citizens," said Ghulam Ali Danishgar, a sociologist in the capital Kabul. "However, geographically we are Afghans."

Across the world, citizens of Afghanistan are also largely and commonly referred to as Afghans. The nation's full name - The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan - also appears along the top of the card.

Although the country is riven by suicide attacks from the Taliban and ISIL insurgents the cards were primarily devised to help provide better access to public services rather than as a means to improve security.

Known locally as eTazkira, a reference to the existing paper identity document - needed to get water, electricity, education or housing - the electronic card's introduction has been delayed for years because of ethnic sensitivities.

"It's not just about the word, but about the appeasement of the Pashtun nationalists' groups," says Tahir Qadiry, head of Mitra TV and a senior adviser to Atta Noor, the recently ousted governor of Balkh province, who is an ethnic Tajik and opponent of the identity card scheme.

"Even though Ghani is a Pashtun himself, he has always showed himself to be democratic and not a nationalist. But now when he finds himself losing the Pashtun support, he is using the politics of identity to regain the Pashtun majority," added Mr Qadiry.

Other opponents include the infamous warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, who despite reputedly being in exile in Turkey retains the title of vice president, and Mohammad Mohaqeq, another anti-Soviet era fighter turned politician. Both them and Noor are planning to boycott the identity card scheme in their constituencies.

And Afghanistan's chief executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah, while not outright critical of the new cards, had called on the government to postpone the launch, pending further consultation.

There is also a broader political interest as the cards should help reduce voter fraud which is rampant in elections. The election commission lacks accurate data and fair voting and ballot counting is a subject of regular dispute, with "ghost votes" a major problem. The electronic cards would also help create a census; the last full one was in 1979 and several attempts since have fallen short.

In an attempt to avoid discord it was proposed near the end of 2017 that the ethnicity of the cardholder would be featured alongside the nationality reference. However, that amendment was also opposed and rejected by several parliamentarians.

Riaz Haq said...

#Balochistan Separatist Leader Jumma Marri Says in #Moscow He Now Supports #Pakistan and Blames #India for Hijacking Struggle: #CPEC #China #Russia #Afghanistan https://sputniknews.com/interviews/201802231061939477-balochistan-korybko-jumma-marri-baloch/ … via @SputnikInt

Dr. Jumma Marri Baloch, a prominent leader of the Baloch independence movement and designer of the separatist flag, recently renounced his decades-long campaign against Pakistan while attending a Pakistani Unity Day event last weekend in Moscow, where Sputnik’s Andrew Korybko had the chance to conduct a brief interview with him.

Sputnik: Tell us little about yourself: how and why did you come to Russia, how long have you been here and what do you do presently?

Jumma Marri Baloch: I think everybody who was interested about the Baloch affairs might know my struggle to free Balochistan, which is not hidden from anyone. I will not be wrong if I say that I am from those people who were always on the forefront of the Baloch freedom struggle — many of the readers might know the fact that the Free Balochistan flag, which is currently very popular and is in use, was designed by me.
For the sake of Free Balochistan I left my home, Pakistan, province, tribe and even my father and brothers. In 1979, due to the Balochistan movement I, along with my family, left for Afghanistan and settled there. Since 2000 I am in self-exile in Moscow.


Sputnik: Who is behind the so-called "Free Balochistan" Campaign, what are they aiming for, and how do they operate?

Jumma Marri Baloch: There are no doubts that India is squarely behind the unrest in Balochistan. I am a witness to it from within: India tries to counter Pakistan's support for Kashmir and India wants to pay Pakistan in the same coin by supporting a few so-called Baloch leaders who are enjoying very luxurious lifestyles in such expensive cities as Geneva and London. These people are sending some money to create unrest in Balochistan like blowing electricity supplies, mining bridges and putting mines in the roadside to keep the money supplies open from Delhi.


Sputnik: What is the reason why some international media have been repeating the claims of Baloch separatists and sometimes even lobbying on their behalf, and how does this relate to global fake news industry?

Jumma Marri Baloch: No international media pays any attention to these Baloch separatists except Indian media that are working closely with the Indian intelligence who are paid to cover their paid agents working as Baloch freedom fighters. These are all Indian attempts to silence the voices of the Kashmir struggle for freedom. I guarantee if Pakistan gives even the slightest hint to the Indians that they will stop supporting the Kashmiri, the Hindus will dump the Baloch next day down in a sewage canal.

Sputnik: What is the most effective way to debunk these falsehoods and show people the truth about Balochistan and its native people's relationship to the rest of Pakistan?

Jumma Marri Baloch: Develop the awareness of people about the negative propaganda, through education and empowering the local people to run their affairs without intervention. The Baloch must be respected, first of all, on their own soil, then such negative propaganda will have no effects. The majority of the Baloch people have no problem with Pakistan, but they have questions to the government as every normal citizen of any country around the world.

Riaz Haq said...

RAW: India’s External Intelligence Agency
India’s primary espionage agency and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have long been at odds in a long-standing battle for influence.

Backgrounder by Jayshree Bajoria


Since its inception in 1968, RAW has had a close liaison relationship with KHAD, the Afghan intelligence agency, due to the intelligence it has provided RAW on Pakistan. This relationship was further strengthened in the early 1980s when the foundation was laid for a trilateral cooperation involving RAW, KHAD, and the Soviet KGB. Raman says RAW valued KHAD’s cooperation for monitoring the activities of Sikh militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Sikhs in the Indian state of Punjab were demanding an independent state of Khalistan. According to Raman, Pakistan’s ISI set up clandestine camps for training and arming Khalistani recruits in Pakistan’s Punjab Province and North West Frontier Province. During this time, the ISI received large sums from Saudi Arabia and the CIA for arming the Afghan mujahadeen against Soviet troops in Afghanistan. “The ISI diverted part of these funds and arms and ammunition to the Khalistani terrorists,” alleges Raman.


As a result, India established a dedicated external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing. Founded mainly to focus on China and Pakistan, over the last forty years the organization has expanded its mandate and is credited with greatly increasing India’s influence abroad. Experts say RAW’s powers and its role in India’s foreign policy have varied under different prime ministers. RAW claims that it contributed to several foreign policy successes:

the creation of Bangladesh in 1971;
India’s growing influence in Afghanistan;
the northeast state of Sikkim’s accession to India in 1975;
the security of India’s nuclear program;
the success of African liberation movements during the Cold War.
Over the last forty years the organization has expanded its mandate and is credited with increasing India’s influence.

RAW’s first leader, Rameshwar Nath Kao, led the agency until he retired in 1977. Many experts, including officers who worked with him, credit Kao with RAW’s initial successes: India’s triumph in the 1971 war with Pakistan, and India’s covert assistance to the African National Congress’s anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. “To a large extent, it was Kao who raised RAW to the level of India’s premier intelligence agency, with agents in virtually every major embassy and high commission,” writes Singh. But the organization has been criticized for its lack of coordination with domestic intelligence and security agencies, weak analytical capabilities, and complete lack of transparency.

Riaz Haq said...

Is #Trump handing over #Afghanistan to #Pakistan by #US #Troops withdrawal?. The #Taliban, the strongest force in the country, have not been defeated yet. On the contrary, their control over #Afghan territories has increased manifold in past few years.

The Trump administration is reportedly planning to withdraw nearly 7,000 US troops – roughly half of the American military presence in the country – from Afghanistan.

US media claims that these soldiers could be heading back home within months.

These reports emerged after President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the "Islamic State" militant group had been defeated in Syria and thus the Middle Eastern country no longer required US troops there.

But the Taliban – the strongest militant force in Afghanistan – have not been defeated yet. On the contrary, their control over Afghan territories has increased manifold in the past few years. If this is the case, why must Washington reduce its presence in the war-torn country?

The US has intensified efforts to find a political solution with the Taliban in the past few months, with Zalmay Khalilzad, the US' special representative for Afghanistan, holding several high-profile talks with Taliban leaders in Qatar.

A victory for Pakistan?

These talks are being facilitated by Pakistan, whose prime minister, Imran Khan, maintains that the Islamist group can't be defeated through war.

However, both Kabul and Washington have been skeptical of Islamabad's long-term motives in Afghanistan. Afghan and US officials have repeatedly said that Pakistan backs some factions of the Taliban that destabilize the Afghan government. By doing that, the powerful Pakistani military hopes to minimize Indian influence in Afghanistan and a return of the Taliban in Afghan politics, they say.

Pakistan's military and civil establishment, analysts say, still consider the Taliban an important strategic ally, who they think should be part of the Afghan government after the NATO pullout.

Observers say that the Pakistani military hopes to regain the influence in Kabul it once enjoyed before the United States and its allies toppled the pro-Pakistan Taliban government in 2001.

Pakistan's Afghanistan policy hasn't changed since the US toppled the Taliban regime in 2001, but the Trump administration's stance toward Islamabad has wavered in the past few weeks, experts point out.

The potential US troop reduction would likely to give an upper hand to Islamabad in dictating the future political setup in Afghanistan.

Siegfried O. Wolf from the Brussels-based South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) told DW that he was convinced that several elements within the Pakistani security apparatus still believe that the Taliban could be used as a strategic tool to counter Indian presence in Afghanistan.

'Weakening your own position'

It remains to be seen whether President Trump would actually withdraw 7,000 troops from Afghanistan, but the fact that the US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis – one of the main supporters of a strong US military presence in Afghanistan – is leaving his post in February, 2019, has definitely created more uncertainty around the West's Afghan mission.

"If the US actually goes ahead with the troop reduction plan, it would be a manifestation of Trump's 'America First' policy," Thomas Ruttig, an expert from the Afghan Analysts Network, told DW.

"But at a time with Khalilzad is trying to negotiate with the Taliban, the troop reduction does not make any sense," he added.

"This would weaken the positions of both Washington and Kabul in the middle of peace talks," Ruttig emphasized.

But some experts are of the view that a potential troop withdrawal could be a calculated decision by Trump.