Pakistan bombshell

By ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE 
Some can’t wait to get out of Afghanistan and some can’t wait to see us leave. NATO allies now want out ASAP. Some have already left (Dutch troops), others are preparing to leave (Canadians) and soon the allied fighting force will be reduced to 100,000 Americans and 9,000 Brits.

And Afghan President Hamid Karzai now wants the United States to reduce its military footprint countrywide — just as U.S. commander Army Gen. David H. Petraeus seeks to widen it — and begin negotiations with Taliban.

When NATO allies volunteered military units to assist the United States in rooting out al-Qaida’s infrastructure in Afghanistan after 9/11, they figured they’d be home in a few months. Had their governments known that their troops would be in Afghanistan for a decade, they would have stayed home.

Most troublesome for U.S. and NATO allies is that al-Qaida, the original reason for dispatching troops “out of area,” fled Afghanistan for Pakistan in mid-December 2001.

The prestigious Council on Foreign Relations’ 25 experts-strong, 71-page task force report on the crisis, says, given “the complex political currents of Pakistan and its border regions … it is not clear U.S. interests warrant” the costly war, “nor is it clear that the effort will succeed.”

And if U.S. President Barack Obama’s December strategic review “shows progress is not being made, the U.S. should move quickly to recalculate its military presence in Afghanistan.” 

The same week CFR published its gloomy assessment of the Afghan war, one of Pakistan’s most influential journalists, the editor of a major newspaper, made the “off the record” — which now means go ahead and use it but keep my name out of it — rounds in Washington to deliver a stunning indictment of all the players.

Samples:

— All four wars between India and Pakistan (1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999) were provoked by Pakistan.

— There is no Indian threat to Pakistan, except for what is manufactured by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency.

— Washington says Pakistan must do more to flesh out insurgent safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. As long as the Taliban were the illegitimate children of ISI that was possible. But Taliban are now the enemies of Pakistan, irrespective of whether they are Pakistani Taliban or Afghan Taliban. Assets have become liabilities. We’ve lost 3,000 Pakistani military KIA. All the jihadis terrorist organizations were created by Pakistan — and they have now turned against us.

— Pakistan has a big stake in Afghanistan. And America’s own exit strategy is entirely dependent on Pakistan. Our army has a chokehold on your supply lines through Pakistan. And Pakistan wants to be the U.S. proxy in Afghanistan. ISI wants to make sure Pakistan doesn’t become a liability in Afghanistan.

— The United States should cut its losses in Afghanistan as rapidly as possible.

— There is no chance whatsoever for the United States and its NATO and other allies to prevail in Afghanistan. No big military successes are possible. All U.S. targets are unrealistic. You cannot prevail on the ground. ISI won’t abandon Taliban. And if Taliban doesn’t have a major stake in negotiations with the United States, these will be sabotaged by Pakistan.

— Time is running out for Petraeus — for the United States and for us (Pakistan). Our system is falling apart. The sooner the United States and Pakistan are on the same page, the better it will be for both of us.

— The Kerry-Lugar aid bill ($1.5 billion a year over five years) is too little too late. Only half of U.S. pledges are actually coming in. A huge slice of this bill goes to administration and local bureaucracy. Some $25 million was earmarked for Sesame Street — for Pakistanis! U.S. aid isn’t achieving any of its objectives. Flood relief also caused havoc. 400 bridges were washed away.

— The attacks against U.S./NATO supply lines through Pakistan, which have included the torching of scores of tanker trucks, weren’t the work of Taliban guerrillas; they were all the work of ISI made to look like Taliban. The objective was to demonstrate the extent to which the United States is dependent on Pakistani security.

— U.S. drone strikes? The Pakistani line about “huge provocations” and more civilians killed than Taliban and their partners is pure army invention. Drones play a limited role and should continue.

— One can’t begin to understand the Pakistani crisis until one absorbs the terrifying fact that Pakistan’s 180 million population includes 80 million children under 18 — almost half the population. And only 40 percent of Pakistani children are in school. (Reminder: Pakistan is also one of the world’s eight nuclear powers, counting North Korea).

— India and Pakistan must bury the Kashmir feud. The reason it continues in an off-and-on mode is because that’s what the Pakistani army wants. The army’s corporate interests are at stake. If the crisis is resolved, the army loses its narrative for dominating the economy.

— Pakistan is a work in progress. The war against extremism is our war, too. The stake holders are changing. Urban Pakistan isn’t interested in al-Qaida’s global caliphate narrative.

— The pictures and stories about the public whipping of a young girl sent a wave of revulsion through our middle classes. Alas, they are still a minority.

— Pakistani President Asif Zardari is pilloried in a corner. He has no room to move.

— Anti-Americanism? (The Pew Foundation poll indicates 64 percent of Pakistanis believe the United States is the enemy.) Yet the one thing they all want most of all is a U.S. visa. The anti-U.S. feelings all trace back to the way Washington left us high and dry after we had fought together against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

— China? The Pakistanis see Obama’s visit to India and the warm relations between the old and the new superpower as further evidence it would behoove Islamabad to further enhance its relations with China, which is busy enlarging its footprint in Pakistan.

An Iran-Pakistan-China pipeline is considered a realistic project. Singapore now has rights on Gwadar, the new Pakistani port on the Arabian Sea, which will soon be transferred to China (with some fancy footwork by Pakistan’s Supreme Court that will say the Singapore contract doesn’t hold legal water, which will clear the way for China).

Between the Council on Foreign Relations’ 25 experts-strong, 71-page report and a prominent Pakistani newspaper editor’s confidential musings about his own country’s betrayals, there was a touch of Yogi Berra’s déjà-vu-all-over again.

(Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor-at-large of The Washington Times and of United Press International).
NOTE:This is a cross post from The Washington Times.
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Comments

  • Ibrahim  On November 16, 2010 at 11:28 am

    I am told the said journalists are the husband & wife pro India team, Najam & Jugnu. Cheap 3 minutes of lime light. And what do they know of the wars & how they started?Speaking English is not a substitute for KNOWLEDGE.
    If Pentagon & Borchgrave want to make an ass of themselves be our guest!

  • Tarah Sarwar  On November 16, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Mr Borchgrave is using stale dough to make his bread.
    Were these stooges not in Amreeka in 2009?

  • Ali  On November 16, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    it is nothing new because pakisatn ha dbeen castigated by american intelligentsia since early years.top of all our hired experts who miss no opportunity to dance on their tunes.It is two edges sword where not only enemy but socalled friend attacks you.
    AAS

  • Saeed Qureshi  On November 16, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Najam Sethi and his wife Jugnu’s credentials as patriot Pakistanis have been under clouds for quite some time. Can some one enlighten me if that is true or fabrication by their detractors?
    Saeed Qureshi
    Editor
    Diplomatic Times

    • IMRAN  On November 18, 2010 at 5:04 am

      True.
      He owns Vanguard Books.Bread & butter comes from buying cheap Indian Books and selling them in local market.Please read DAILY TIMES,newspaper he headed as Editor for many years, read it. If you find ONE word against India or her policies-tell me.

  • Hamid Hasan  On November 17, 2010 at 7:12 am

    I feel sick in my stomach when I read musings of pseudo Pakistani intellectuals/experts blaming everything on earth on Pakistan. Our governments might have been doing many stupid things but only an idiot could say that the 1971 war between India and Pakistan was provoked by us. And the American whizkids offering opinions and advice on Pakistan’s policies should understand that we are not supposed to fight their senseless wars and bomb our own people because some criminals (in American view)/resistance fighters(in Afghan peoples’ view) have taken refuge in their midst.

    • SAMEEH  On November 18, 2010 at 5:09 am

      True Hamid Ji.
      Please go to link:
      http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:5imqrppk1osJ:www.makepakistanbetter.com/why_how_what_forum.asp%3FGroupID%3D1%26Group_title%3DPolitics%26ArticleID%3D5908+Misdeeds+of+Najam+Sethi+the+India+Lover&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=pk

      I reproduce extracts here:
      —–For example Najam Sethi and his wife Jugnu Mohsin, descendents of shoe bearers of British Raj have joined rightist media groups, as their fascist and sectarian organs The Daily Times and Friday Times could not made any space in public and almost failed, either under a new strategy or by finding no other way Najam Sethi could be seen in Urdu press, and Jugnu Mohsin has joined Daily Khabrain, organ of Zia Shahid, most regressive journalist in their eyes. Same as Ayaz Amir who has started to reclaim as liberal fascist, who was backbone of liberal fascists while in daily Dawn, left them being member of Fauji political Party, took refuge under so called regressive Mian Nawaz Shariff and in most of his recent columns published by Jang Group pleaded for crusade. Yesterday in parliament he was seen shouldering with MQM against his party leader. If MQM, Ayaz Amir or Sahibzada Fazal Kareem has any courage so those must resign from parliament.
      ——Since return from Iran Naseem Zehra, Najam Sethi and Haider Abbas Rizvi of MQM could be finding on Dunya TV network. Naseem Zehra, Director of their current affairs program is trying to float bundle of lies like there are 25 Lakh Taliban in Karachi. Which is one quarter of entire population of Karachi, and there are 2500 Muddersahs at Karachi, sectarian gangs have no shame by telling white lies. So nobody trusts them, because no one is ready to accept twisted statistics on sectarian abhorrence.

  • Qamar Iqbal  On November 18, 2010 at 4:55 am

    This is in reference to statements made (quoted) about Indian Paqkistan wars, relationship, regional roles, etc. Some Pakistanis make thrilling statements as if they knew everything like an eyewitness. We all have seen such people make visible progress, getting attention, recognition, support, financial rewards, career breakthrough, etc. What a shame. We do not need an enemy to hurt our national interest, some of our own do that mercilessly.

    M. Qamar Iqbal

  • Nasim Hassan  On November 18, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Ordinary mortals cannot make decisions that make history. Only statesmen rise above racial prejudice, hatred, revenge and greed.

    There does not seem to be any statesman on the World scene today.

    The decision is very simple. American should reduce the military force by 75% over next five years and increase the civilian aid by 50%. The simple arithmetic shows that currently America spends about 100 billion on military and few billion on civilian projects. So a saving of 75 billion dollars and increasing civilian aid to say 10 billion dollars is the right answer.

    I am not advocating pull out of NATO/US forces. The tribal society of Afghanistan will start a new civil war based on the recent past. Each group will fight for control and millions will suffer..

    Nasim Hassan

  • a m malik  On November 18, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Mr Arnaud desired to himself say things for which he found the wide mouthed Najam Sethis and his “intellectual” wife Jugni. It seems that both the writer and the accompalice are trying to walk on waves to christ. In retrospect I feel the dou of husband and wife deserved what MNS did in his stint. My only regret is that MNS did not go far enough and fell short of the natural justice.
    Mr Arnaud also seems to have a limited access to his information sources. Even a click on the internet would have cleansed his scary bottoms if he could not visit any other journalist of “repute”
    But usually the cowardly scoundrels – would like to fire the gun from some one else’s shoulders. Mr Sethi was a convenient shoulder.
    Of the recent Taliban phenomenon, ISI is being maligned to cover the US’s own failures and intrigues of the CIA. Infact it should have been the US to insist on fencing the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Instead the US forces conveniently withdrew from their positions/posts when Pak Army went to strike the Talibans in Waziristan-which ensured a safe haven for them in Afgahanistan during the cleanup.
    In addition Pakistan would be foolish to again ante Talibans if US wants to prop up India in Afghanistan – especially when she has a negligible role. If I am in the Govt I will do the same if – and if at all is being done by Pakistan
    It always takes two to tango. How trustworthy CIA and the US government is before they demand similarly from their allies? Pakistan- because of her foolish leadership is suffering despite all the sacrifices and India is being propped up with an attractive face!

  • frostwire download  On November 29, 2010 at 3:10 am

    one can argue that it can go both ways

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